Greg Mercer is the engineer turned entrepreneur who, in 2015, founded Jungle Scout, a suite of tools that aim to inspire and empower Amazon sellers to expand their eCommerce footprint. In addition to serving as the CEO of Jungle Scout, Mercer has become a hugely influential educator in the art of turning fledgling ideas into profitable businesses. Over the past few years, he's also become widely known for philanthropic activities such as the Million Dollar Case Study project, which sets to raise $1 million for a selected charity through product sales on Amazon. Find out more as we reveal ten things you didn't know about Greg Mercer.
1. He trained as a civil engineer
Mercer never planned on becoming an entrepreneur. At college, he studied civil engineering, and after graduating, he got a job doing just that. But he soon discovered that the cooperate world didn't fulfill him in the way he needed. As someone who'd always enjoyed creating projects and building things, it didn't take too much soul searching to decide on the next step. Shortly after, he decided to ditch the 9 to 5 in favor of launching his own company. The result was Jungle Scout.
2. He launched Jungle Scout in 2015
Despite its massive success, Jungle Scout hasn't actually been around that long. Mercer launched the company in 2015 as a tool to help fellow Amazon sellers navigate the somewhat challenging landscape of Amazon in order to grow and promote their businesses. Since its inception, Jungle Scout has become the leading all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon. Its team encompasses over 200 Amazon experts from around the globe, while its physical presence now covers a headquarters in Austin, Texas, and two international offices.
3. He thinks of Amazon as a jungle
Ever wondered where the name Jungle Scout comes from? Wonder no more. During an interview with makeawebsitehub.com, Mercer revealed where he found the inspiration for his company's name. "The goal of Jungle Scout was to help you find products to sell on Amazon," he explained. "So I thought of Amazon as a jungle where you scout out new products to sell. And that was how Jungle Scout was born."
4. He's turned a profit from leveraging other people's audiences
Why build a new audience of your own when you could just leverage someone else's? So Mercer has always thought, and so he's done to undeniably successful effect. Speaking to Entrepreneurs HQ, he explained how his decision to team up with people with a large existing audience helped him during his early days in business. "When you don’t have an audience to market to it’s very hard to get that initial traction. However, if you can team up with someone who has command of a relevant audience it’s going to be a lot easier to get your first initial sales," he explained. "I didn’t have many customers, and someone in the space reached out to me and asked if I’d do a webinar to educate their audience about Jungle Scout. I said “Sure! Why not!”, and I gave it a try. That first webinar literally doubled the number of customers I had and got me thinking I might have found my marketing tactic."
5. Giving back is his ultimate goal
He may have made a mint from Jungle Scout, but turning a profit was far from the only reason Mercer left engineering to launch the startup. As he explains on gregmercer.com, Jungle Scout was always intended to be a launching pad for entrepreneurs. It was this core mission statement that Mercer credits as his inspiration for building something successful. "I believe that entrepreneurship is the most powerful lever we have for empowerment and self-growth," he explains. "The benefits can have a net positive effect, and also influence positive opportunities to give something back."
6. He's a committed philanthropist
Mercer may have created Jungle Scout as a tool to empower fellow entrepreneurs, but his philanthropic leanings don't end there. Over the past couple of years, he's developed as much of a reputation for his philanthropy as he has for his business acumen. In 2016, he launched the Jungle Stix Marshmallow S'Mores Roasting Sticks on Amazon with the express intention of raising money for charity. All proceeds (which amounted to over $1 million) went directly to Doctors Without Borders. He's since partnered up with Pencils of Promise to raise a further $1 million in the same way.
7. He only sells products that could fit in a shoebox
Mercer doesn't leave his success to fate. He's developed a fixed set of rules about what products he sells on Amazon, a criterion he says has contributed to his 6 figure monthly revenue. According to Brand Creators, the only products that get to be sold under his name are ones that are priced between $19 – $45; that are small and lightweight enough to fit inside a shoebox; that are likely to sell at a rate of ten or more per day; that can be sourced at 1/3 of the selling price, and that can be shipped by air.
8. He's raised $110 million in funding
On March 4, 2021, it was announced that Jungle Scout had closed its latest round of funding. The round pushes the total raised by the company to $110 million. The found was led by Boston-based investment firm Summit Partners, which now owns a majority stake in the business. Speaking via bizjournals.com, Mercer explained how the funding would help Jungle Scout support “merchants and big brands looking for additional help, and we think we can help win online.”
9. He's won a ton of awards
If there's one thing Mercer isn't short on at this point, it's awards. In 2020 alone, he was named Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year and one of The Software Report's Top 50 SaaS CEOs. Previous honors include being named Best Amazon Expert at the 2017 The Seller Awards.
10. He's a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council
Since 2016, Mercer has been a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). YEC is an invite-only community open to entrepreneurs under the age of 45. The nonprofit is an advocacy group that aims to fight youth underemployment by promoting alternative career paths and providing mentoring opportunities.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee