Fintech & e-commerce

Unybrands Closes $25M Seed To Acquire, Scale Online Brands

Buoyed by a $25 million seed investment, unybrands launched an e-commerce platform aimed at acquiring successful fulfillment by Amazon and direct-to-consumer sellers looking to scale.

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Miami-based unybrands was co-founded in 2020 by CEO Ulrich Kratz, Eugen Miropolski and Christian Harnischfeger to buy, build and boost online brands where business owners have reached the limits of their scale due to a lack of operational infrastructure and growth capital.

“It is a great time to be in this business,” Kratz told Crunchbase News. “Growth in e-commerce is going to accelerate more. We are bringing scale to small brands. Customer habits are changing, and they now want small brands and to go by reviews. We can marry that.”

Here’s how it works: Specializing in categories, such as personal care, pet care, household products and juvenile and baby, unybrands provides exit opportunities for entrepreneurs, including cash-upfront deals or long-term partnerships for sellers who wish to stay involved.

After buying the business, unybrands handles everything from consolidating logistics and supply chains to marketing and economics, ultimately expanding the business to new domestic and international markets, product lines and platforms.

“We operate at the sweet spot of consumers’ exploding demands for small and emerging brands,” Kratz said. “We pride ourselves on customer demand, but also help successful entrepreneurs who have realized they reached the limit of scale, either by a lack of financial resources, time or ability. We come in and come up with a plan on how to build their legacy further.”

The seed round is backed by a group of investors, including Nordstar, DIA Management, Nathan Blecharczyk, 166 2nd Financial Services, Day One Ventures, Brian McGrath of Jefferies and Benvolio Group.

In addition to Miami, unybrands has a presence in Berlin, London and Seattle.

Kratz intends to put the money to work into the companies themselves, but also to build its internal infrastructure and team. Though the company intends on moving fast, the startup wants to make the right bets on people and technology, he added.

The company is too new to report any meaningful growth, but Kratz said it has already closed its first deal this month and there are several other deals in the works. Ultimately, he expects to make up to 20 deals in 2021.

“We are working to acquire the right businesses and integrate them onto our platform, as well as continuing to build on the team and technology to be successful,” he added. “We plan to grow the brands on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Similar companies are also attracting investors: Thrasio and Branded Group, two startups that also acquire successful Amazon resellers, separately raised large rounds of new venture funding on Feb. 9 as the e-commerce sector continues to draw intense investor interest.

Thrasio said it brought in another $750 million of financing from a group of existing investors, including Oaktree and Advent International, while Branded, which also consolidates smaller retailers selling on Amazon’s platform, reportedly raised $150 million in a fresh funding round led by Target Global.

Also last week, Win Brands Group, which also acquires brands from marketplaces, said it raised $50 million from Assembled Brands and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management to grow its platform of consumer brands.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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