Today’s show is with two ex-Amazon execs who co-founded Foundry Brands—a portfolio brand operating company—sharing everything they know about buying and building the strongest, longest-lasting and most valuable ecommerce brands possible. Kyle Walker and Stefan Haney consider more than 30 variables when they assess the value of a business (and that number is growing as new aspects to business need to be measured), so they can give you a really good feel about how you should be thinking about your business.
Some context: In 2020 there were only five aggregators—private equity firms targeted at Amazon and ecommerce brands—and now there are more than 55. There is no doubt that investors are putting their capital to work in this area because of the enormous opportunities for growth and returns. There is a lot to be learned from Stefan and Kyle in this episode: everything from where investors are placing bets to what they expect to see in ecommerce to what strategies investors like Foundry are planning to use once they buy a company.
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Stefan Haney spent 16 years at amazon, working the last three years on their details page so he understands how to optimize for conversion and e-commerce shopping. He has a proven track record of launching new technology, delivering business results, mission critical programs, projects, and systems in a variety of industries. Stefan lives in Moscow, ID with his wife and kids. When not shuttling his seven kids to activities, you can often find Stefan adventuring on a bicycle.
Kyle Walker is an experienced digital brand builder who created and helped launch over 10K digital businesses while working at Amazon. He also founded three global multi-billion dollar Amazon programs and helped inform many of the Amazon tools and technology brand owners use today. Today Kyle uses this knowledge in his work with the company he co-founded, Foundry Brands. Kyle lives in Sammamish, WA, with his wife and two sports-obsessed boys.
05:47 - “About this time last year, I think there were 5—maybe 7—public aggregator companies, so it’s crazy to think that a year later it was like 55.” – Stefan Haney
11:36 - “The really memorable, powerful brands are engaged in customer connection.” – Stefan Haney
13:04 - “You can always find an exception to what a brand is.” – Kyle Walker
13:31 - “It’s less about the products you sell and more about the cohesion and the connection.” – Kyle Walker
21:15 - “There are a lot of folks who’ve taken the debt capital and try to go big, fast.” – Stefan Haney
22:52 - “We’re going to build for success, build big, be at the front of the pack.” – Stefan Haney
24:09 - “Both of us spent a lot of time at Amazon and there was always this focus on long-term thinking.” – Kyle Walker
26:27 - “What’s the liquidity event?” – Stefan Haney
28:59 - “Will this brand exist in a decade? – Stefan Haney
34:41 - “Amazon is different waters.” – Stefan Haney
36:54 - “How do we preserve the ongoing sustainability of cash flow growth? That is the same. We’ve got to make this business more valuable.” – Stefan Haney
40:24 - “At the end of the day, a business exists because of its ability to win the hearts and minds of customers.” – Kyle Walker
45:26 - “Do you have an end game?” – Stefan Haney
49:36 - “We’re not here to race and to beat. No, we need to find a good fit and help others find a good fit.” – Stefan Haney
52:05 - “Who do you want to trust your brand to?” – Stefan Haney
52:10 - “It’s not a child, it’s not a baby. It was a business and I got what I wanted out of it. But for others, they want to keep looking. ‘I was the origin of that brand and I’m proud of it.’” – Stefan Haney
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