Best @ Amazon

Insider Details on Benitago's Bankruptcy

Published 9 months ago • 3 min read

This Issue's TLDR...

  • Amazon Aggregators are in the news, but for all the wrong reasons. Perch is fading, and Benitago is on life support with its Chapter 11 filing.
  • Benitago's Chapter 11 filing revealed who its major creditors and shareholders are. I share the interesting ones.
  • Packaging is your brand's first impression with customers. You need to get it right. I give you the tools and resources to do so.

BEST from Me

The Amazon news cycle over the past week has been consumed by two Amazon Aggregators falling on hard times.

First, it was Benitago, which raised $380 million in equity and debt only two years ago, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 31.

Then, on September 1, Bloomberg reporter Spencer Soper broke a story about how Apollo Global is quietly shopping around for suitors for Perch, one of the OGs in the Amazon Aggregator space.

Since the latter is just speculation right now, I'm not going to say much about it.

But, the perverse beauty of Benitago's bankruptcy is that there are A LOT of insider details about the company that are now public...if you know where to look.

Fortunately for you all, I know where to look.

So, today, I'm sharing some interesting facts about Benitago that no one else has reported on.

Let's start with some basics...

How big was Benitago?

Well, it's hard to say how big they were at their peak. But in the bankruptcy filing, they are reported to have:

  • Assets between $50mm-100mm
  • Liabilities between $50mm-100mm
  • 29 legal entities
  • Roughly $8mm in cash on hand, across 16 bank accounts
  • 12 FTEs and 80 Contractors

Looking back at my database of brands owned by Amazon Aggregators, I had captured ~75% of the brands owned by Benitago:

Who are the creditors?

Well, CoVenture, one of its main equity investors and venture debt lenders is on the hook for $85mm.

$85,426,222 to be exact.

There's another big creditor holding the bag, that many in the Amazon community will be familiar with: SellersFunding (aka SellersFi).

Benitago owes them $9,632,236.

Outside of the staggering amount owed to SellersFunding, the interesting detail here is that Benitago was using them for working capital funding.

As I've written about before, the type of funding that SellersFunding offer is super expensive. I'm quite surprised to see such a massive balance (and that Benitago's investors would have allowed it).

Some of the other creditors include Benitago's 3PL (one of them, at least), Perpetua, and one of the sellers from whom they purchased a brand ($1.5mm!).

That last one seems to be a seller note that was part of the deal terms for the acquisition of Carpathen. I feel bad for those sellers. They presumably agreed to a seller note for part of the purchase consideration, thinking it would be safer than a performance-based earn-out. Unfortunately, that won't be the case.

Who are the shareholders?

Unsurprisingly, the cofounders Santiago Nestares and Benedict Dohmen own A LOT of equity.

But there are a few other large shareholders that are somewhat curious.

There's a woman named Margarita Lampo who owns close to 18k shares. According to LinkedIn, she's a research scientist in Venezuela. I'm guessing she's a relative of one of the founders and staked them early on. Because, honestly, I can't imagine any other reason for an outsider to hold such a significant stake in an Amazon Aggregator.

Then there's Robert Gregory Eisner, who is the CEO of Engineers Gate, a pretty massive quantitative trading firm. I'm curious how he got linked up with Benitago, but that will probably have to remain a mystery.

There are a few more juicy tidbits in Benitago's bankruptcy filings, but I'll stop there.

If you'd like a copy of the filings, reply to this newsletter and I'll send over.

BEST from Everyone Else

Ok, enough industry news and back to stuff that's actionable for your Amazon business...

Last week's newsletter focused on brand positioning frameworks.

This week, I want to arm you with information, tools, and resources to turn your packaging into a symbol of your brand. To make your first impression with a customer memorable. To create customers that are so passionate about your brand, that they'll make unboxing videos, organically.

Like this customer did with Anker's Soundcore earpods:

video preview

So, if you want to elevate your brand's packaging, here are some great resources, 3-2-1 style:

3 - People to Connect with on LinkedIn

  • Beautiful packaging is great, up until you start bleeding cash because of it. Jared Spencer is someone can help you strike the right balance.
  • Kyle Hawker is another guy that can help you dial-in and optimize your packaging for cost.
  • Adam Peek is The Packaging Pastor. Enough said.

2 - Packaging Companies to Consult

  • Enlisted Design makes brands craveable (their words). They come highly recommended from a friend, though I haven't used them myself.
  • Elevate Packaging is less of a design firm and more of a do-it-yourself packaging option, with a focus on sustainable packaging.

1 - Packaging Focused News Source

  • If you want to stay abreast of what's happening in the packaging world and/or make industry connections, I highly recommend The Packaging Digest.

Amazon Questions?

Amazon isn't easy. Everyone needs a little help from a friend sometimes. If you ever have a tough Amazon question, I'm only a phone call away.

Best @ Amazon

The Newsletter for the Top 1% of Amazon Sellers

I'm a former Amazon marketplace leader and current 8-figure seller. I write about advanced strategies and tactics for Amazon brands, that you won't read about anywhere else. Not for beginners.

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