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‘Every e-commerce platform will become a fintech’: Amazon aggregator Thrasio acquires capital-as-a-service startup Yardline

  • Yardline provides flexible growth capital to e-commerce businesses.
  • Thrasio's global reach will enable Yardline to broaden its scope and tap into new markets.
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‘Every e-commerce platform will become a fintech’: Amazon aggregator Thrasio acquires capital-as-a-service startup Yardline

Thrasio, the largest Amazon aggregator in the world, recently acquired Yardline, a capital-as-a-service (CaaS) fintech that provides growth capital and business optimization tools to e-commerce sellers on online shopping platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, and eBay. Thrasio provided the initial funding for Yardline when it was founded in November 2020, and has remained actively involved in its growth since then. The acquisition will make Yardline a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thrasio.

Yardline’s CaaS platform provides access to non-dilutive growth capital of up to $1 million in as early as one business day to help e-commerce sellers improve operations, cover cash flow dips, and grow their presence across online marketplaces.

Since it was founded in 2018, Thrasio has evaluated around 6000 businesses and acquired over 125 brands, making it the largest acquirer of third-party Amazon FBA brands and one of the top 25 sellers on Amazon. Thrasio's resources and global reach will enable Yardline to expand the scope of its services and tap into new marketplaces.

Carlos Cashman, co-founder and co-CEO of Thrasio, says Yardline will be an asset in creating more opportunities for e-commerce entrepreneurs and offering more sophisticated avenues for their growth.

“Almost 40% of sellers who inquire about selling their business to Thrasio do so because they've taken their brand as far as they could without additional resources,” said Cashman. “Yardline's proprietary CaaS platform can provide just those resources. Their strategic approach to providing embedded capital across e-commerce marketplaces is unique, and we're eager to have their technology and proficiency on our team."

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Yardline was co-founded by Ari Horowitz, former SVP of strategic partnerships and corporate development at Thrasio, and Tomo Matsuo, who was previously SVP of lending solutions at payments firm Paysafe.

Yardline stands out from other capital providers such as PayPal and Shopify by providing e-commerce sellers with much more than just capital, according to Matsuo, who is currently president of Yardline and VP of fintech at Thrasio. In addition to funding entrepreneurs, Yardline’s Seller Success Program provides advisory and consulting services - such as guidance on how to optimize marketing expenditure, handle supply chain issues, and negotiate with vendors - to help businesses use resources more productively.

Reliable access to growth capital creates better opportunities for e-commerce sellers by freeing up resources for product rollouts and marketing campaigns. More money means more visibility, and in the saturated field of e-commerce, the hardest part is simply being noticed, according to Hosea Chang, COO of apparel company Hayden Girls.

“The type of API technology that Yardline boasts seems great for connecting the separate worlds of Amazon, Shopify, and other e-commerce platforms,” said Chang. “There’s a lot lost in translation between these different channels, and Yardline could provide an invaluable service if they can find a way to streamline communication between them.”

Yardline’s core offering could play a crucial role in helping early-stage e-commerce businesses meet their working capital needs, according to Robert Belsky, VP of finance for digital payroll platform Gig Wage. “If a company is bootstrapping, it needs to use the current amount of cash it generates to fund future demand. This process becomes difficult when the following month or quarter’s demand doubles,” said Belsky. “Having flexible working capital can solve the cash crunch faced by many of these new ventures.”

Looking ahead, Yardline’s Matsuo says that Thrasio’s acquisition reflects a larger trend in the industry of a growing convergence between the worlds of e-commerce and fintech. “It's conceivable that every e-commerce platform will have fintech capabilities in the future. I think we’re going to see a doubling down of embedded finance, with more and more fintechs becoming banks, and embedding their services in e-commerce platforms,” said Matsuo.

“In the larger scheme of things, what does this convergence mean for e-commerce, and for the fintech ecosystem as a whole? That’s a question we should be really paying attention to over the next decade.”

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