Options market: roll-up diversification with Opontia

Opontia raised $20M when it launched in June 2021. After buying several selective brands since, the ecommerce group has just raised a further $42M.

From this recent round of funding, Opontia plans to use $30M to buy more brands. Even then, compared with other aggregators, these sums are modest.

On that basis, the likes of Thrasio and SellerX will hardly be quaking in their boots. But then, the co-CEOs of Opontia wouldn’t expect them to be. Their target markets are, after all, quite different and diverse.

Not another e-commerce aggregator?

In the last two years, ecommerce aggregators have dominated tech- and fin-tech headlines. By all accounts, 2022 will be no different.

So, yes: there’s much noise, ample coverage, and a lot more competition. You might, then, wonder why two men from different backgrounds would dip their toes into these hostile waters.

Well, the key to any successful business is having a USP. If you’re an FBA seller, you already know that pain. You’ve experienced first hand how difficult creating a unique voice is in a wholly product-led market.

But Philip Johnston and Manfred Meyer, Opontia’s co-CEOs and founders, knew their USP before launching. Or rather, USPs (plural), listed here:

The Opontia difference: location

Where do most traditional e-commerce aggregators invest? The West. North America, Western Europe and, more recently, South America.

That said, the Far East has the biggest single ecommerce market on the planet. So, as you’d expect, we’ve seen recent growth in ecommerce aggregators there, too.

But what about the middle bit?

“The Middle Bit” was precisely what intrigued Johnston and Meyer. The former had spent time in venture capital and investments in South Africa. The latter had been CEO of end-to-end e-commerce facilitator, Next Commerce (UAE).

This combined experience was the springboard for Opontia. They had knowledge of an untargeted market primed for ‘roll ups’. The pair shared both the vision and contacts to secure the funding.

Thus, they launched in March 2021. And, by June 2021, had a $20M platform to target The Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The Opontia difference: target market

Many existing ecommerce and Amazon aggregators focus solely on owners looking to sell their Amazon FBA business or brand. And why not? There are millions to go at in The West alone.

But FBA businesses, whilst present, aren’t as developed in The Middle East as in China and The West. But there are two other established markets that fit a similar model.

Shopify and social e-commerce is well established there. Also, many individual businesses trade through their own websites, and have done for years.

So, rather than just focus on Amazon FBA businesses, Opontia have adopted an ‘omnipresent’ buying strategy. Well, “buying” strategy isn’t quite the right term. Here’s why…

The Opontia difference: business model

When Opontia launched, the business benefited from several Angel investors. In a way, the Opontia business model pays that sentiment forward.

The business looks for e-commerce businesses across all channels who’ve reached their initial growth potential. The team then digs a little deeper.

How do we define ‘potential’? For Opontia, it typically means ecommerce businesses with a minimum spreadsheet balance of $10k monthly revenue versus $5k monthly net profit. A 365-days-a-year demand for that business’ product is another crucial criterion.

Those criteria on their own are, perhaps, not so unique. But it’s how Opontia involve the existing business owner that sets these new boys apart.

Going beyond the golden handshake

They don’t just fill out a cheque and say, “Thanks a bunch, bud; see ya later.”

No, they invite the business owner to stay on after they’ve sold their Amazon store, website or social commerce entity. Why would Opontia do that?

Well, this way, the business owner doesn’t feel like they’ve had a much-loved toe amputated. Rather, they can watch the brand grow and realise a potential they never would have on their own.

In return, Opontia get the acumen that enabled the business to reach the figures that interested them in the first place. You can’t put a price on tha…
…okay, maybe you can. Maybe that’s the point!

Opontia growth takes a diversion

Since launching, the market has dragged Opontia more towards Eastern Europe than The Middle East. It kinda makes sense. The e-commerce market — in Poland, for example — is well established and buoyant.

But with $30M from their latest funding round pledged to rolling up more businesses, that could well change. The UAE and Africa are primed for Amazon aggregators, and the like. Opontia, so far, are unique in their positioning there.

The business may yet redefine the term ‘Pyramid Scheme’ with investments in Egypt, and beyond. Only the sands of time will tell. If time’s running out on your Amazon business and you’re thinking of selling, take a lookee here: Which aggregators give the best valuations?

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.


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