Disruptor 50 2021

22. Thrasio

Founders: Josh Silberstein (co-CEO), Carlos Cashman (co-CEO)
Launched: 2018
Headquarters: Walpole, Massachusetts
$1.8 billion
Valuation: N/A
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

The past year saw e-commerce reach new highs and among the biggest winners, of course, was Amazon. A record- setting first quarter blew analyst expectations out of the water. Easily lost in the success, though, can be all the third-party brands on the platform. Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce research firm, estimates that Amazon Marketplace sellers moved more than $300 billion of product in 2020. That would make Amazon Marketplace the 42nd-largest economy in the world ranked by GDP.

Third-party sellers are reshaping Amazon in ways consumers may not realize. Amazon has increased shelf space for its own brands like Amazon Basics, and it has a reputation for mining hot products on its site for ideas it should copy, but many outside sellers compete successfully with each other and Amazon itself. Many of these merchants pay Amazon to store and ship their goods through an arrangement known as Fulfillment by Amazon. This makes their wares eligible for Prime shipping. Consumers order products from brands they may have never encountered before, and trust because of five-star ratings and the right search ranking.

All that Amazon FBA market momentum created a new business model for companies like Thrasio, a Massachusetts-based firm that acquires Amazon sellers and improves their operations and products. Thrasio targets brands with $1 to $10 million in annual sales with well-reviewed products. Brands typically see a 30% jump in sales just two months after being acquired, according to Thrasio. To date, the company has acquired over 100 brands with 15,000 products, with new products being added daily. It claims to be adding $1.5 million in revenue per day through all the dealmaking.

The growth of Thrasio has happened at a breakneck speed, even by start-up standards. In January 2020, the company had a team of 150 employees. Now the number is close to 700 and it claims to be adding 30-40 people a week between staff and contractors.

A rapid pace of recent funding matches its M&A and employee growth. In February, the firm completed a $750 million equity round including existing investors Oaktree and Advent. That followed a $500 million debt deal in January funded by JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and BlackRock, among others). It's been expanding operations into Europe, with hubs in the U.K. and Germany.

Its name goes far back in world history — Thraso was an Amazon warrior in Greek mythology whose name refers to confidence and boldness — but like many of the brands it bundles, Thrasio is not a name familiar to shoppers. It hopes to become more consumer facing as it grows. "It's actually very difficult to change the brand name on an Amazon brand without resetting a lot of its SEO aspects, we really can't just rename something Thrasio," co-CEO Josh Silberstein told Yahoo Money.

Nevertheless, from everyday products — yoga balls to umbrellas, craft supplies to pet deodorizer — Thrasio wants to be in every consumer's home. The company recently added former Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak to its board and says customer growth was over 500% in the past 12 months.

Contributed by AJ Horch

SIGN UP for our weekly, original newsletter that goes beyond the list, offering a closer look at CNBC Disruptor 50 companies, and the founders who continue to innovate across every sector of the economy.