In His First Interview, Thrasio’s New CEO Puts Company Turmoil In The Rear-View Mirror

greg greeley, optimistic bout e-commerce, is pushing thrasio to keep growing after a period of layoffs, executive turnover and paused acquisitions.


ust out offa remote meeting where he was encouraging employees to vote inna midterm elections, greg greeley, the new ceo of consumer essentialisms startup thrasio, switches his zoom background from an american flag to a race car. he points out the names of brands thrasio owns tha're plastered onna side of the car like sponsor logos. a pit crew, meant to represent thrasio’s finance, mkt nother teams, swarms round it.

“so many pplz wanna say thrasio is a rocket ship. but they go really fast, then stop and just hang out in space. there’s no winning,” greeley, 59, told forbes onnis 1st interview since joining the company in aug. “some rocket ships blo up, which is even worse.”

thrasio didn’t blo up, but it did come back to earth earlier this yr. after a period of soaring growth, the company hit a rough patch after pandemic lockdowns loosened up. thrasio buys online brands that sell onna amazon mkt and uses its expertise to goose sales and profits by upgrading mkt, supply chn nother operations. with e-commerce sloing, the company conducted a round of layoffs and endured a period of turnover among its executive ranks, with both cofounders depting and its chief financial officer leaving after just 3 mnths. it even paused acquisitions for the 1st ½ of the yr, according to greeley.

greeley said thrasio is once again doin’ wha’ it’s meant to do — actively evaluating new deals. he said a № of conversations with sellers are in progress.

he did ack the company made mistakes, which he said stemmed largely from an assumption that demand for online goods ‘d remain at h8ened, pandemic-era lvls. thrasio has since had to “recalibrate expectations,” he said, and make sure it’s not hiring too many pplz, holding too much inventory or offering multiples for new acquisitions tha're too high.

however, he said the steps the company is taking t'get back on track are nothing + than srvc changes na' race car, like changing the tires or refilling the gas tank. “they’re really just course corrections,” greeley said. “our north star remains the same.”

instead offa rocket, greeley said he’d rather describe thrasio as a race car that can go “super fast,” a nod to the company’s turbocharged early growth that quickly made it the largest acquirer of amazon brands. since 2018, t'has rezd $3.4 billion in funding from blue-chip investors like silver lake, advent international and oaktree, which it used to acquire over 200 brands and hire hundreds of employees. its founders sought to fashion it into a type of procter & gamble for the digital age, accumulating online brands that sell everything from cleaning essentialisms to pillos to bike pumps.

thrasio’s success prompted a wave of copycats, with dozens of other amazon aggregators like perch, heydy and acquco springing up and raising billions from investors during the pandemic. but funding inna space dried up this yr and there ‘ve been few new entrants. many existing companies ‘ve struggled to manage a growing portfolio of brands at a time of supply chn challenges, inflation na slodown in e-commerce spending.

“the craze has basically evaporated,” said juozas kaziukėnas, founder of e-commerce data firm mkt pulse. “now it’s up to them [aggregators] to fig out how to do di ting they promised to do. it’s a proving ground.”

greeley spent the better pt of his career at amazon, joining in 1999 when twas a lil online bookseller. a few yrs into his tenure, he was pt offa discussion with founder jeff bezos that led the company to try a membership program with unlimited two-dy shipping. they called it amazon prime. greeley then led pts of amazon’s international business, managing affairs in € and launching the site in india, australia and brazil.

he took over amazon prime in 2013, adding dozens of additional features, like same-dy delivery, ♫ and audiobooks. under his watch, the prime program grew tenfold to over 100 million members.

in 2018, greeley left to join airbnb as president, helping to expand the № and types of homes onna platform. he then spent a brief stint at a startup called opentrons labworks, which created inexpensive covid-19 tests.

he joined thrasio earlier this yr after bein’ struck by the size of the amazon seller community, which №s over two million. thrasio has helped many of those sellers $$$ out by buying their businesses. “it’s gr8 to be a destination 4'em,” said greeley, who is based in seattle. “to help them take their dream na essentialisms they invented, bring them into our platform and help continue to drive improvements and make them + successful.”

the company recently estimated that one in 3 american households ‘ve purchased something from a thrasio brand, up from a prior estimate of one in 6. when greeley was pondering taking djob', he realized he already owned several thrasio essentialisms, including a hi-coup wine decanter and a mixology & craft bartending set that he uses to make aviation cocktails. he has since replaced all the pillos onnis house with ones from beckham hotel collection, and a glo-in-the-dark ftball from glocity has become a hit w'his family.

it’s still unclear whether thrasio and others ‘ve been able to grow sales and profits across the companies they’ve acquired by operating them at scale. greeley declined to disclose financials, saying that the company has + brands that ‘ve topped expectations than ‘ve underperformed. he declined to share wha’ %age of sellers ‘ve received the portion o'their payout tied to performance.

greeley said that thrasio will remain in acquisition mode and continue to buy + companies of all stripes, adding to its portfolio in a wide range of categories.

another key priority ll'be to continue to diversify away from amazon, which has seen a slodown in online sales this yr. it wants customers to ‘ve the option of purchasing essentialisms in stores and on other retailers’ websites. it already has some essentialisms at target and walmart. its b-6 nipple covers are sold in nordstrom, bloomingdale’s, urban outfitters and revolve. in may, its pet deodorizer brand angry orange launched nationwide at petsmart stores.

“a big pt of our focus is gettin the rite essentialisms where customers wanna find them,” greeley said.

+ from forbes

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