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Benitago Group exec confirms it didn’t close, but did lay off some employees • TechCrunch

Benitago Group’s web site now not working this week set off an alarm bell for some of us, those that repeatedly comply with the comings-and-goings of energetic fulfillment-by-Amazon aggregators. They believed it would spell the tip for the e-commerce aggregator, which raised $380 million in fairness and debt financing final yr.

Co-founder Benedict Dohmen confirmed to TechCrunch by way of a LinkedIn message that “Benitago (or any associated entity) is just not shutting down its operations. We’ve got not bought or disposed of any belongings.” Although the corporate did make a couple of acquisitions this yr, it shifted gears towards model incubation and operations, or basically growing their very own manufacturers.

And sadly, this choice led the corporate to chop employees. One former colleague, who wished to stay nameless, advised me they have been with the corporate for under about three months earlier than his division was let go. Dohmen confirmed the layoffs.

“We sadly needed to cut back the scale of our groups by 14%, primarily within the M&A and expertise acquisition departments,” he mentioned. “We underestimated the likelihood and impression of an e-commerce market downtrend. Because the world has modified and market strain for likelihood rose, we shifted focus in direction of incubation and operations.”

The corporate was began by Benedict Dohmen and Santiago Nestares (Benitago, get it?) again once they have been at Dartmouth School seven years in the past. We profiled the company in March 2021 when it raised $55 million in each fairness and debt to go about funding acquisitions of manufacturers constructed to promote on Amazon’s market.

Benitago leaning into model improvement was extra of a return to its roots than something, Dohmen mentioned. The corporate started as an incubator and operator. It wasn’t till later in 2021, across the time the corporate raised a whopping $325 million in Series A equity and debt, that it developed “an acquisitive M&A arm,” he added.

E-commerce aggregators purchase up manufacturers from marketplaces, like Amazon and Shopify. As we’ve reported, just this week in fact, these sorts of companies have seen their sector go from highly regarded two years in the past to chill. Some have continued to do well, even grabbing the now random enterprise capital deal, whereas others discovered the funding firehose dry up.

Dohmen, too, famous that the shift in technique to give attention to model incubation and operations was “because of the rising value of debt.”

The brand new focus appears to be paying off for the corporate now. The incubation effort accounts for 20% of Benitago’s enterprise and is rising 88% quarter over quarter, Dohmen mentioned. Consolidated income within the third quarter was up 308% from final yr, and this quarter “was Benitago’s most worthwhile and cash-flowing quarter but,” he added.

The corporate has since developed 5 worldwide manufacturers, operates over 10 manufacturers and has greater than 300 new merchandise within the pipeline.

Dohmen doesn’t imagine Benitago is completed with M&A, however does admit that future acquisitions might be “extra focused,” and as an alternative of casting a large web on Amazon, it “will solely search manufacturers that match with our present manufacturers’ strategic route.”

“We remorse being overly optimistic and never foreseeing the e-commerce downtrend and the rising value of capital,” Dohmen mentioned. “We take full accountability and are unhappy in regards to the discount in crew. However we’re excited in regards to the manufacturers and merchandise now we have within the pipeline, and we’re excited to come back out of this recession a lot stronger.”

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