Perch Raises $775 million, Buying Amazon Retailers
Perch landed $775 million of investor funding that will make the 18-month-old startup one of the best-funded players chasing the booming business of rolling up small retailers that are crushing it on Amazon and other online marketplaces.
The funding for the Boston-based business is the largest ever Series A raised by a consumer packaged goods company, according to Crunchbase, and almost four-times larger than the record set by Chinese online used goods trading marketplace Zhuanzhuan in 2017. The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with participation from Spark Capital, and brings the company’s total funding to date to over $900 million.
“We are building the next-generation consumer products company,” said Chris Bell, founder and CEO of Perch, echoing the objectives expressed by the market leader in Amazon rollups, Thrasio, in a Forbes profile last year. The newfound appeal has the former Bain & Company and Wayfair executive relishing in the sudden rush of interest from investors. “The reception I got was a little bit like a Nigerian prince scam,” he says of his early pitch meetings.
The funding will be used to acquire new businesses, add staff and develop its technology platform, which Spark Capital General Partner Alex Finkelstein says is a primary reason for the investor interest. Perch’s proprietary software helps them identify viable targets and grow them once acquired by expanding their advertising efforts, setting more dynamic pricing, and managing their supply chains. According to Bell, 25% of Perch’s 70-plus employees are software engineers.
Perch is one of the growing number of challengers chasing the business of buying up third-party sellers that have a proven track record online, particularly on Amazon, which in the first quarter reported that nearly 55% of the products it sold were from third-party sellers. More than 50 firms looking to buy those sellers have attracted over $4 billion in capital since April of last year, according to Marketplace Pulse.
Bell says the business has been profitable since its founding in November 2019 but would not disclose any financial information. Last year, Thrasio generated over $100 million in profits on $500 million in sales, according to the company. Thrasio had assembled a portfolio of more than 100 brands in 2020 and was purchasing an average of two to three new companies per week in February, when it closed another $750 million of funding.
Perch boasts 70 brands in its stable of third-party sellers, including women’s athleisure brand Satina, teeth whitener Cali White and kitchenware from Flathead. Perch has acquired more than two brands a week on average so far in 2021. While it primarily sells its products through Amazon, Bell says they are expanding into brick-and-mortar channels, as well as other online marketplaces like those operated by Walmart and Target.
“The company is growing incredibly fast, much faster than we could ever imagine,” says Spark’s Finkelstein. “We were fortunate to back companies like Twitter, Wayfair and Slack in the early days. This is the fastest growing company in the history of Spark.”