There are those who go hunting for ecommerce sites to buy

There are those who go hunting for ecommerce sites to buy

Neulabs is the first Italian company specializing in the acquisition of e-commerce sites and the creation of direct-to-consumer brands. It is made up of a team of financial, marketing, software and seo specialists capable of turbo-charging the digital native SMEs that sell their flagship products. It is the expression of a phenomenon that has matured in the last two years in the United States and is beginning to spread to Europe as well. Usually the "hunters" of companies are marketing companies, investment funds or consulting firms.

Neulabs starts with fifteen investors behind him and an endowment of about 20 million euros between debt and equity. The founder and CEO Mauro Giacobbe is an old acquaintance of the online sector considering that for more than seven years he held the position of CEO in

"Entrepreneurs who create from scratch brands specialized in a particular segment are usually very good, have excellent knowledge of the product and an ability to formulate offers; the weaknesses are in technology, in the lack of resources for marketing and in the difficulty of internationalizing ", explains the CEO of Neulabs to , Jacob.

These shortcomings are widespread all over the world, not only in Italy. And in fact, the first companies to make their way into the sector are growing fast: think for example of Perk overseas, Razor Group and SellerX in Germany. Usually they aim at single-brand stores born inside Amazon, while Neulabs is less rigid on this front. "It is enough that the business functions and respects certain standards, including product-related standards", says the manager. In summary, it is like finding a sporting talent in a provincial pitch and then working on it to transform him into an international champion.

Scan the net "Ours is an active search based on proprietary software that analyzes both websites and marketplaces. It detects the type of products, nationality, traffic of product sheets, the speed with which reviews and other elements are posted to understand the level of business ", explains Giacobbe. In fact, the external analytical tools today already allow us to outline the weight of the new brands on specific sectors.

This starting photograph allows the dedicated team to test the waters with the entrepreneur who created the e-commerce. It can be understood whether he is interested in a sale or in a partnership. After that, if the contact is positive, there is a further collection of information based on the analysis of revenues, distribution chain, marketing evaluation and further estimates that allow you to outline an initial indicative offer. If the order of magnitude satisfies the counterpart, the financial analysis becomes deeper and with his collaboration lasts between six and eight weeks.

"At this stage we ask for access to Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, any Amazon account, accounting, everything. So we negotiate the final offer for a branch of the company or the whole company. agreement goes through then we proceed with a two or three month coaching. Some entrepreneurs pull out completely, others remain inside as partners establishing an exit in one or two years with a percentage of the growth margin ", points out the manager.

The Neulabs cavalry of experts is organized in work teams but every digital company acquired or created has its own reference business manager. "Currently there are about fifty, but fifteen are dealing with the technological part. The focuses are, for example, on marketing, paid online campaigns, seo, logistics", underlines Giacobbe.

Macro-areas that promote growth are three. The first concerns the expansion of the number of sales channels, therefore not only online in purity but also possibly the presence in Amazon or the creation of a business-to-business channel for retailers. Secondly, there is internationalization, hence the possible access to one or two European countries. Finally, the focus is on expanding the product offer with a targeted strategy. Not to mention, of course, all the technological improvements that can be implemented over time.

The profile of the ideal candidate In recent months Neulabs has created VitaVi, which produces and distributes premium food and supplements, and amusi which offers natural treats, shampoos and beauty products for animals. While as regards the acquisitions, we can mention BioExxe (biodegradable food packaging), Zanclem (early childhood products) and Cibocrudo (organic vegan foods). "We have decided to focus on growing markets, including niche ones, which are subject to recurring purchases. In short, with high value such as super food, the vegan and natural segment, baby care, pet, household products, plastic free items. ", emphasizes the manager. The expectation is a turnover of between one and about four million euros. At this stage, the pace of acquisitions is around one or two businesses per month. In fact, the goal is to acquire 20 brands by the end of 2022. The CEO admits to having "the ambitious project of creating a real house of brand, within which to cultivate cutting-edge digital and technological brands, united by a common catchment area and similar business objectives ".

The opinion of the trainer Mattia Vergerio, co-founder of Scuola Ecommerce, one of the reference online training structures for online and Amazon sales, confirms that the phenomenon of acquisitions is very recent. On the other hand, eBay is excluded from the games as there is no orthodox way to transfer an account. "Right now I think I'm one of the few to do this kind of consultancy to funds that are testing the ground", explains the expert to

An important detail is that apart from the ecommerce sites the so-called sellers on Amazon are especially tempting. Or those entrepreneurial realities that sell their products on the marketplace. Over time, some may also become vendors, or suppliers of Amazon. "But this is a very delicate step because it is like entering large distribution and not everyone is up to it. This is therefore one of the advantages of relying on professionals to help you make the leap", Vergerio emphasizes.

The central theme is that the growth of an ecommerce, especially within Amazon, can be linear in the first phase but then the business requires financial control that often goes beyond the skills of the small artisan or entrepreneur. "The fine work on the most delicate aspects concerning consolidated growth is precisely the terrain of funds or specialized companies such as the newborn Neulabs", adds the expert.

According to Vergerio, the final goal of some agencies is to build conglomerates to be sold en bloc to giants such as Unilever or Nestlé. Obviously we are talking above all about single-brand stores born from the digital dimension, not retailers. "Indicatively, activities with a turnover of more than 500 thousand euros, better than a million, with a gross margin of about 25%. Here is a good profile. And as product categories, sometimes we also speak of products made in China but with a strong marketing connotation, a recognizable brand ", says Vergeri.

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