Click here to download our Q2 2024 eCommerce Brand Valuation Report

Key Takeaways From Our London Ecommerce Acquirors Conference

Key Takeaways From Our London Ecommerce Acquirors Conference

London Ecommerce Acquirors Conference

Blog Summary

This blog post distils the key takeaways from our eCommerce Acquirors Conference in London on September 14th 2023. The conference brought together over 50 c-suite executives from FBA and DTC eCommerce brand acquirors. The focus of the conference was on five areas selected by members of our acquiror WhatsApp group: 1) supply chain optimization; 2) operational efficiency; 3) technology and data; 4) aggregator M&A; and 5 the future of the eCommerce aggregation space. We would like to thank you the following sponsors who actively contributed to the success of the conference: Event sponsor: Airwallex, Carbon6, Conjura, Getida, Kapoq, MBM Commercial, Wayflier Drinks Sponsor: SOLO

Recent Blogs

Key Takeaways From The eCommerce Acquiror Conference – NY 2024

Summary

Our 2024 eCommerce Acquiror Conference took place Jan 16th in New York, hosting eCommerce acquirors and eCommerce operational experts from around the world. The agenda was to discuss key trends driving eCommerce valuations and discuss operational areas within eCommerce acquirors. We thank our title sponsor Airwallex and all our other sponsors for making this great event a success and we look forward to seeing you all and some new faces at our next annual eCommerce Acquiror Conference.

1.eCommerce Environment

Participants: Furhaan Khan at UBS, Bill Pecoriello, CEO at Consumer Edge.

Key Takeaways:

  • UBS and Consumer Edge kicked off discussions reviewing the macro landscape impacting eCommerce valuations.
  • Based on public company comparables, eCommerce valuations have softened. Consumers spend is forecasted to transition from post covid high sectors such as travel however consumer spend in general remains subdued by caution towards inflation and interest rates.
  • Medium view (2025-2027) is that M&A volumes will be expected to increase once again as inflation starts to curb and the cost of capital stabilizes.

2.Acquirors

Participants:

Session 1 Panellists:

    • Philipp Triebel, CEO at SellerX.
    • Mark Goldfinger, VP of Growth at unybrands.
    • Ben Cogan, Co-Founder at Agora.
  • Insight provided separately by Tushar Ahluwalia, CEO of Razor, who have a successful record in consolidation of aggregators [Stryze & Valoreo].

 

Session 2 Panellists:

  • WTB Co-CEOs, Jaschar Hupperth and Nicolai von Enzberg.
  • Olsam Group Co-Founders: Ollie and Sam Horbye.

Key Takeaways:

  • Announcing 2 New Mergers Of Aggregators: The Fortia Group was proud to announce the merger of We The Brands and Mantaro Brands, two German based aggregators, a deal that The Fortia Group had been appointed M&A advisors.Weeks before the conference the eCommerce world learned about the successful merger between Olsam Group [UK based] and Dwarfs [NL based].It was noted that while these are logical strategic moves and something many in the aggregation space will be considering, these deals do take longer due to the complex nature of appeasing a larger group of shareholders. Deal timelines were from 6 to 12 months in duration.

 

  • Consolidation (MoA) and Acquisition Trends: Acquirors in the space are communicating more discussing topics and solutions to issued being created. Consolidation within the market is an important topic.The macro implications of cost of capital in the current environment consolidation are a lot more complex than straight M&A due to the fact they are share deals with limited cash changing hands.The main reason for consolidations are as follows:
    • Strengthening Balance Sheet
    • Scale
    • Cash
    • Leverage
    • Group EBITDA

 

  • Challenges of Market Conditions: Panellists discuss the challenges faced over the past year, including lower consumer spending due to inflation, pressure on margins, the rise in interest rates, and the general move towards a survival mode among companies.
  • Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Focus: The preference for DTC over Amazon (FBA) due to control over customer data, customer support, marketing, and the overall customer experience (CX) is emphasized.Amazon remains a focus, but many are becoming more interested in diversifying into DTC or gain back more control through this channel, particularly as increasing Amazon operational fees are forecasted for 2024.

 

  • Integration of AI and Technology: eCommerce players have a range of tools available to help them achieve success in the markets.AI is delivering solutions for cost savings removing resource requirement on content, customer service benefits by reducing SLA’s pricing and demand planning.

 

3.Acquisitions

Participants: Alex Lukashov, CEO at Fintent, Muddy Mat, Johannes Rossner [on behalf of Alpin Loacker and BBG), Daniel Mc Carthy, Co-Founder at Theta, Paul Hanley, Co-Founder at The Fortia Group and Withum CPAs.

 

  • Our Shark Tank Brands Were A Big Success:
    • Introducing Muddy Mat – Impressive omnichannel pet brand coming to market in Q1 2024. Matthew, Andrew and Ikho gave a fantastic demo and financial performance overview of the brand.
    • Alpin Loacker – EU based tech hiking clothing and equipment omnichannel brand.
    • Berlin Brands Group – US portfolio. BBG wish to refocus efforts and as such are open to offers for their current US portfolio.

To learn more about any of the above deals, please contact The Fortia Group directly.

  • Daniel Mc Carthy, Co-Founder at Theta educated the crowd on valuations with this talk on “Uncovering Hidden Valuation Insight through Predictive Customer Value Analysis”, followed by a poll on current valuations observed in the market.

Poll no.1: What is the typical valuation range you are seeing for profitable Amazon FBA led brands?

  • Average valuation range: The average lower bound of the valuation range is approximately 2.86x, and the average upper bound is approximately 4.13x.
  • Lowest valuation range: The lowest valuation range given was 1x.
  • Highest valuation range: The highest valuation range provided was 8x
  • Please note all valuation ranges are EBITDA multiples.

Poll no.2: What is the typical valuation range you are seeing for DTC led brands?

  • Average valuation range: The average lower bound of the valuation range is approximately 3.78x, and the average upper bound is approximately 6.06x.
  • Lowest valuation range: The lowest valuation range given was 2x.
  • Highest valuation range: The highest valuation range provided was 12x.
  • Please note all valuation ranges are EBITDA multiples.

 

  • Paul Hanley, Co-Founder at The Fortia Group brought the audience through the firms new Buy-side diligence offering. The Fortia Group have been servicing investors and credit funds but are now formalizing their Buy-side diligence offering, a rapid initial target screen, to learn more please contact The Fortia Group directly.

 

 

04.Value Creation

Participants:

Will Holtz, Head of Operations at SourceMedium

Daniel Mc Carthy, Co-Founder at Theta

Robert Sperling, CEO at EastWest Basics

Rupesh Sanghavi, Founder & CEO at Ergode

Jim Stine, VP of sales at ShipPlug

Naseem Saloojee, Co-Founder at Carbon6

Kevin Fischer, President At KAPOQ

Bill Tauscher, CEO at Farallon Brands

Balaji Kolli Co-Founder at Saras Analytics

CFO Josh Holley at Bare Performance Nutrition

Jacob Cook, CEO at Tadpull

Heath Barnett, Head of SMB & Growth, North America at Airwallex

Jim Mann, VP of Europe at Getida

Ben Fletcher, CEO at The Mothership

Joseph Falcao, CFO at Orva

Shawn Dougherty, COO at Society Brands

Alex Urdea, Founder at Deep Ocean Partners

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Title sponsor Airwallex spoke about the important of localised payment options and how this was going to be crucial as part of a hyper-localised targeting strategy for eCommerce today and into the future.
  • Local payment methods accounted for 77% of transactions worldwide.
  • 44% of consumers are likely to trust online shop that offers their preferred payment methods.
  • The supply chain panel agreed that the rise of manufacturers going direct to the customer via marketplaces will continue to cause difficulties for eCommerce acquirors. It will be difficult to compete on price, however, as always obsessing over CX, branding and marketing strategy always have their place in combatting this type of competition.
  • A common theme throughout value creation talks were the importance of visiting and developing relationship with suppliers globally. Often this can open up different credit terms or cost efficiencies over time.
  • Predications for 2024 on supply chain were mixed as we move further from a covid container spike yet current situations in Suez Canal may continue to cause delays and additional cost.
  • KAPOQ and Carbon 6 explained that obsessing over performance metrics and investment benchmarking were crucial for brands and operators to double down on, with new Amazon marketplace fees forecasted to hit 2024, operators should be focusing on where they can make savings and efficiencies within the P&L.
  • CFO Josh Holley brought this to life with insight into how his brand, Bare Performance Nutrition are optimizing with data support and help from Saras Analytics.
  • Scrutinizing costs and ensuring you are setup for future success was a common theme, Bill Tauscher at Farallon Brands explained the importance of agility in retail, the role of eCommerce and marketplaces, and a view on timing when discussing growth plans with big retail.
  • Conference Partners Jake Cook, CEO at Tadpull and Daniel Mc Carthy, Co-Founder at Theta discussed the importance of understanding and using data sets to help with prediction analysis or growth forecasting.

 

Poll no.3: What is your top financial and operational priorities for 2024?

  • Become cashflow positive: 45%
  • Increase corporate EBITDA margins: 23%
  • Revenue growth: 13%
  • Reduce leverage: 12%
  • Improve inventory turns: 7%

Poll no.4: What is your target for corporate EBITDA by end of 2024?

  • Unprofitable: 0%
  • 1-5% margins : 20%
  • 6-10% margins: 10%
  • 11-15% margins: 60%
  • 16-20% margins: 10%

Poll no.5: What will drive the biggest valuation (profit multiple on exit / listing) of aggregators?

  • Financial profile e.g. corporate EBITDA margin: 15%
  • Brands: revenue quantum, growth, net margins: 54%
  • Being truly omnichannel: 8%
  • Tech & Data competence: 0%
  • Scale efficiencies: 8%
  • Other: 1%

 

Need some comments from the finance and operations panel.

Need a comment from an investor in the space [ don’t name Alex Udea].

Need success stories comment, don’t need too much detail on that.

 

We thank all our sponsors, without them conferences like this would not be possible. We look forward to working closely with you all throughout 2024.

  • Airwallex | ConferenceTitle Sponsor
  • BigCommerce
  • Carbon6
  • Eastwest Basics
  • Factored Quality
  • Getida
  • Grips
  • KAPOQ
  • Saras Analytics
  • ShipPlug
  • Withum

As we mentioned at the event, this will become an annual event, and together, we look forward to making the next one bigger and better.

 

London Ecommerce Acquirors Conference

Blog Summary

This blog post distils the key takeaways from our eCommerce Acquirors Conference in London on September 14th 2023. The conference brought together over 50 c-suite executives from FBA and DTC eCommerce brand acquirors. The focus of the conference was on five areas selected by members of our acquiror WhatsApp group: 1) supply chain optimization; 2) operational efficiency; 3) technology and data; 4) aggregator M&A; and 5 the future of the eCommerce aggregation space. We would like to thank you the following sponsors who actively contributed to the success of the conference: Event sponsor: Airwallex, Carbon6, Conjura, Getida, Kapoq, MBM Commercial, Wayflier Drinks Sponsor: SOLO

Read Time: 3 minutes

  1. Supply Chain: A Lever For Customer Satisfaction

Panel Members:

  • Matty Vogel: Co-Founder of Redfits.
  • Neil Kuschel: Former CEO of Europe Global-e.
  • Warren Weener: Supply Chain Specialist at eBrands’.

This session highlighted the role of technology in demand forecasting to elevate customer satisfaction. A majority (52%) of attendees are optimistic about demand trends, with 81% investing in technology to streamline supply chain processes. Product quality, timely deliveries, competitive pricing, and transparent tracking and communication were the pivotal factors in customer satisfaction. Mark your calendars for our next conference in New York, Tuesday 16th January 2024.

Key Poll Results:

We polled our audience to gauge the primary criteria for evaluating suppliers within the industry. The results were as follows:

Key Metrics For Supplier Evaluation:

  • Quality and reliability: 65%.
  • Cost competitiveness: 35%.

Usage Of Demand Planning Tools:

  • Traditional spreadsheets: 60%.
  • Specialized software: 40%.
  1. Operational Efficiency: The Key Theme Of 2023

 Panel members:

  • Aman Advani: Senior Director of Operations at A02 Management.
  • Ben Fletcher: Co-Founder & CEO of The Mothership.
  • Berk Nalcacioglu: Founder at Robust Ventures.
  • Jim Mann: VP of Europe at Getida.
  • Mark Finnerty: Director of Growth Capital Markets at Wayflyer.
  • Stephan Koch: Chief of Staff at Airwallex.

Having teams bought into relevant metrics and automating lower value work were deemed pivotal for operational efficiency.

Key Poll Results:

We surveyed the audience to better understand their current focus, barriers, and strategies to improve operational efficiencies:

Focus Areas:

  • Operational efficiency: 77%.
  • Productivity: 23%.

Barriers To Operational Efficiency:

  • Team alignment, motivation, and culture.
  • Amazon’s interface inefficiencies.

Strategies To Improve Operational Efficiency (Ranked)

  1. KPI ownership: 31%.
  2. Process improvements: 23%.
  3. Good prioritisation: 15%.
  4. Stated clear targets: 15%.
  5. Quick and accurate financial reporting: 9%.
  6. Strong processes: 7%.

 

  1. Technology: The In-House vs. Outsourced Debate

Panel members:

  • Georgina Merhom: Founder and CEO at SOLO.
  • Frank Quilty: Co-founder & CEO at Conjura.
  • Jeff Scolnick: Enterprise Solutions Lead at Carbon6.
  • Kevin Fischer: President at Kapoq.

The technology and data panel centred their discussions around the significance of building software in house as a core competency to avoid risk of releasing outdated technology. The absence of a CTO in 67% of respondent companies underscores the industry’s tech gap. 58% of companies have less than 10% of personnel working on technology and data.

Key Poll Results:

We polled our audience on their software buying and usage patterns. Below are the results:

How many vendor does your firm use?

  • 5 to 10 vendors: 85%.
  • < 5 vendors: 15%.

Buy vs. Build:

  • Buying: 60%.
  • Building: 40%.
  1. M&A Of Aggregators

 Panel members:

  • Jaschar Huppert: CEO and Founder at WeTheBrands.
  • Johannes Rossner: M&A Associate at The Fortia Group.
  • Mike Vermeulen: Co-Founder and CEO at Kanaan Sellers Group.

 Capital structure and founder team composition are the main challenges regarding M&A of aggregators.

Key Poll Results:

We conducted a survey among our audience to gain insights on financial positions of aggregators and the factors influencing potential mergers.

Below are the findings:

How many aggregators are in technical default on their debt?

  • >45%: 73%.
  • 30-45%: 27%.
  • 15%-30%: 0%.
  • 0%-15%: 0%.

What are the key drives of M&A amongst aggregators? (Ranked):

  • 1) Cost Synergies.
  • 2) Revenue.
  • 3) Creditors.
  • 4) Strategic need (e.g. tech platform).
  • 5) Geographic expansion.
  • 6) Other.

Status Of Current Discussions (MoA):

  • Informal: 43%.
  • None: 36%.
  • Due Diligence: 21%.
  1. The Future of Aggregation: A Dynamic Ecosystem

Panel Members:

  • Sanford Wu: Head of Investment and M&A at Profound Commerce.
  • Simon Deeny: Director and Co-Founder at eComplete.
  • Tarig El Sheikh: CEO at Cinchona.

The concluding panel discussion revealed that in the current landscape of lenders avoiding repossessing assets or forcing defaults, aggregators will likely prioritize the divestment of underperforming brands over workforce reduction.

 

Key Poll Results:

The final survey of the day focused on uncovering growth strategies, primary objectives, factors influencing valuation, and the perspectives on the future outlook for aggregators. Here are the outcomes:

Next 12-month Growth Strategy:

  • Grow top line organically: 62%.
  • Grow top line via Acquisition: 38%.

What are your top priorities in the next 12 months? (Ranked):

  1. Reducing Leverage: 38%.
  2. Cost reduction via synergistic mergers: 28%.
  3. Debt renegotiation: 12%.
  4. Cost reduction via headcount downsizing: 11%.
  5. Lowering costs by reducing marketing expenses tied to sales costs: 11%.

Valuation Drivers (Ranked):

  1. Financial profile (e.g. Corporate EBITDA margin).
  2. Brand metrics (revenue quantum, growth, net margin).
  3. Being truly omnichannel.
  4. Technology and data competence.
  5. Scale efficiencies.
  6. Other.

Expected future number of FBA and DTC aggregators in 3 Years’ Time:

  • 10-40 aggregators: 61%.
  • < 10 aggregators: 22%.
  • >40 aggregators: 17%.

Upcoming Conference

Join us in New York on January 16th, 2024, for further insights into the eCommerce sector. Contact us for more details.


About our Sponsors:

Airwallex
Are you being double charged when collecting and sending in a different currency than your own? It’s called the Conversion Trap and if you’ve not heard about it, you need to read this. Airwallex joined us at the Fortia Conference on 14 September where Steph Koch, Chief of Staff at Airwallex EMEA outlined on a panel how the global financial platform is reducing unnecessary conversion fees within cross-border payments and adding much-needed global operational efficiency for eCommerce and FBA aggregators and businesses. Airwallexenables 100,000s businesses like Olsam, GoNorth, SHIEN and GOAT to collect, manage and send payments around the world. Check them out.
Carbon6
Carbon6 is the ecosystem for marketplace ecommerce, built to simplify success through our connected tools and expertise designed to increase efficiency, drive profitability, and scale with intelligence. We have a vision for what successful sellers need because we were built by industry leaders, SaaS veterans, and successful brand-owners. Explore our ecosystem and find out how our tools improve profit margins by over 20% for sellers, agencies, and aggregators!
Conjura
Conjura is a direct to consumer data solution that makes ecommerce analysis fast and easy. Once brands connect all of their data sources to the Conjura platform a strategic audit (called eAssessment) is created for partners working with the brands to maximise understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the brands and surface relevant insights. In addition, the brands themselves get access to operational dashboards and recommended actions that help them make better decisions.
Getida
Getida is the global leader in Amazon FBA auditing and reimbursement solutions.An authorized Amazon Selling Partner and member of the Amazon Emerald Program, they’ve helped tens of thousands of sellers reimagine reimbursements as an additional revenue stream. Pair their auditing platform with their expert claims team and you’ve got a one-two combination that looks out foryour money and your Amazon business. With global availability in international marketplaces across North America, EMEA, and APAC, they help their sellers see 166% more in Amazon FBA recovery than those who don’t use Getida to file claims. Click here to learn more.
Kapoq 

Kapoq is an end-to-end software management solution specifically built for aggregators and brand builders with the challenge of managing multiple brands on Amazon. Kapoq empowers brand managers to scale through integrated data and analytics across six core modules, Advertising, Inventory, Accounting, Analytics, Customer Experience & Content. Having all key data points under one solution, it allows brand managers to identify gaps across critical data points, and take action with key insights to drive efficiency and brand performance. Click here to learn more.

MBM Commercial
MBM is an award-winning entrepreneurial law firm with offices in Edinburgh and London. We are specialists in corporate transactions with a particular focus in M&A, investment (equity and debt) work and supporting fast growing businesses on their growth journey. Our expertise expands across many sectors, including e-commerce, in which we advise aggregators, marketplaces and brands on their investments, commercial expansion and M&A. With a number of US attorneys in the firm, and founder of international law firm network World Tech Legal, we help businesses scale up and operate on a global basis.
SOLO

SOLO offers banks, lenders, and capital markets real-time access to standardized and verified financial statements of SMBs through direct integrations with financial institutions and billing platforms. The embedded platform employs accountant-trained algorithms to reconstruct SMB financial statements on a standardized ledger configured by the capital allocator. SOLO is designed to accelerate deal screening processes, streamline due diligence, and increase financing activities by fostering trust and transparency among stakeholders in capital markets.

Wayflyer 

Wayflyer provides fully unsecured and unrestricted funding for eCommerce and B2B wholesale brands. The entire process takes 72 hours from introduction to capital deployed. Wayflyer is backed by JPMorgan and Neuberger Berman, and has deployed close to $3B in capital to +2800 global brands. Wayflyer services brands generating between $250K and $200M in annual revenue. For brands or sellers generating +$10M in revenue, our line of credit solution offers an exposure limit worth 20% of your annual sales in a facility that sits junior to senior debt and charges no undrawn, maintenance, set-up, or due-diligence fees. If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact our Enterprise Partner Manager, Sean Hanvey or click here.

 

 

Recent Blogs

Contact Us

Scroll to Top