Episode 182

The Rise of the Brand Aggregator

Dave Bunch - Growve
November 10, 2021
SUBSCRIBE: iTunesStitcher

In the first half of 2021 alone, $2.5 billion in capital has been raise by brand aggregators all looking to acquire eCommerce brands.  

Currently there are over 100 aggregators just in the eCommerce space. A few months ago, I met Dave Bunch at Ezra Firestone’s Blue Ribbon Mastermind in Miami. We were both speaking there and when I heard his story, I knew I wanted him to be on the podcast. Dave is the President of Growve a $250 Million dollar aggregator with close to 25 brands under one roof.  

So why the rise of aggregators? What makes that business model so attractive? Why are brands selling to aggregators? Those are all questions I wanted to ask Dave.  

Here’s a look at what we talk about:

  • Why right now might be a good time to take some chips off the table
  • The benefits of rolling equity vs. full buyouts
  • Why you should be weary of large offers
  • When deals go bad - how to better prepare for the issues that always arise when closing deals
  • What’s the end game for aggregators including going public through SPACs, selling to Private Equity and selling to strategic investors

Mentioned in this Episode:

- Dave Bunch
- Via LinkedIn
- Website
- Facebook

MENTIONED - in interview order
Blue Ribbon Mastermind
Ezra Firestone
Moiz Ali
Native Cosmetics
Procter & Gamble


Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the eCommerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry CEO of OMG Commerce. And today we are talking about the rise of aggregators. And if you're not familiar with the space that may sound like the name of a Star Wars movie or something like that, the rise of the aggregator. But it's a really important topic and aggregators are certainly not evil. It's not like the Empire, these guys, most of them good.

Brett:

So I think this is just such an interesting time in the e-commerce space, where good time to potentially sell if you're a brand. Good time to partner with an aggregator, all kinds of interesting things to consider. This episode of the eCommerce Evolution Podcast is brought to you by OMG Commerce Resources. That's right here at OMG Commerce, we want to help make sure you're educated and in-the-know to capitalize on the latest tips, tricks, and strategies to help you grow your e-commerce business.

Brett:

So if you go to omgcommerce.com and under Resources, click on Guides, we have some cutting edge free information for you on things like, how to dominate with Amazon DSP ads or how to use Amazon sponsor brand video ads, and how to craft the perfect ad. We have several guides on how to capitalize on YouTube ads, from creating the perfect ad to knowing when you're ready to scale. Plus there's the newly updated Google Shopping guide, plus more. Check it all out at omgcommerce.com and click on Guides under Resources. And now back to the show.

Brett:

I get to meet my guest today, Mr. Dave Bunch at Blue Ribbon Miami. So as a Firestone's event, he and I were both speaking at the event. And Dave just had such a wonderful presentation, really down to earth, super smart guy. So Dave is the president of Growve and that's G-R-O-W-V-E. Fantastic aggregators, just growing like crazy and has a wonderful reputation of being just a great group to work for and to work with. So I wanted to pick Dave's brand. I want to know more about aggregators as well and more about what these guys think about the space of e-commerce and where we are right now. So with that, Dave, welcome to the show and thanks for taking the time.

Dave:

Yeah. Thanks Brett. Yeah, appreciate it. It was fun meeting you at Blue Ribbon and getting to know you better and we've admired you and what you're doing as well. And it's great to be on with you today.

Brett:

Thanks man. And we both have an affinity. We have large families, correct? How many kids do you have?

Dave:

That's right. I think you've got me beat. I have seven ... Oldest is 23 and youngest is seven. So our house is always a house full, but we love it. At least I do. For sure.

Brett:

Yeah, we do too. So we've got eight. Our age range is almost identical to that. You're just about three years ahead of me, but 19 and four are oldest and youngest at the Curry household. So it is crazy times always.

Dave:

Yeah. And I've always told people once you have a few, it's almost the same. So people say that's got to be hard, but once you have two or three, it's about the same as having seven.

Brett:

You have to start buying bigger vehicles, bigger washing machines, bigger house. But there is the benefit... So I did notice for sure, after six, seven and eight, I don't know, didn't notice. But the older kids do help with the younger kids. That's a selling point...

Dave:

That is true.

Brett:

...for large families, which is nice. So we didn't come here and talk about big families. Although there probably there's a correlation between having a big families and running a brand aggregator. I would think there's somewhat similar. Lots of brand children running around as well. But before we talk about Growve and what you're doing now, Dave, you've got a pretty awesome background. So first of all, kind of tell us where you're from and then tell us the pre-aggregator story briefly of kind of what your background is.

Dave:

Yeah, sure. So I grew up in Utah, I'm based there just in the Salt Lake City area. And pre-Growve, I did my education at Utah State, then did an MBA at Brigham Young University. And started in 1999, so I'm getting up there, I'm pretty old. But started for another aggregator called Nutraceutical. And Nutraceutical was an aggregator in the health food specialty channel.

Dave:

There's lots of mom and pop health food stores throughout the country. And there was a consolidation occurring within the brands and it's ongoing today. So we felt like at the time there was opportunity to go in and buy a lot of these brands and bring them together. And we can talk today about some of the reasons behind that.

Dave:

But I was there for 21 years, led the M&A team. We did almost 60 acquisitions while I was there. For most of the time, we were publicly traded on the NASDAQ. We ended up being acquired by private equity in 2017. Then in 2019, our private equity firm sold 40% to a couple other private equity groups. At that time, the valuation was just under 650 million. And at that point I decided, if I'm going to do something a little bit more entrepreneurial, that it was the time to make a jump and wanted to stay in aggregation and in kind of the same industry, but something where I had even more decision making and in a place that's more e-commerce focused, maybe than Nutraceutical was at the time.

Brett:

Yeah. That's great. What a cool story. So I do want to look at why is the aggregator model so popular, but I guess for those that don't know what is an aggregator... And is an aggregator just a private equity group or is it different animal? So what is it? Then why are they so popular right now? Or is just, maybe they're getting more press and more air time right now?

Dave:

Yeah. And I think if you, if you go throughout almost any industry, there is consolidation that takes place as big companies come in and say, "Well, if I can group together several brands, there's an opportunity, there's a savings," because there's duplication in a lot of different functions-

Brett:

Centralized operations. So there's some cost cutting, cost saving measures that you can take.

Dave:

Absolutely. Then just bringing in maybe a high level of expertise in running a business and the efficiencies that come from that. So if you go throughout time and you look at industries, consolidation happens and right now, if you look at the Amazon world in particular, there's over a million and a half active sellers on Amazon. So it's very fragmented. There's lots and lots of Amazon sellers. And most of us know many of them, and they're doing a great job. And they're actually, in many ways, outperforming a lot of the large consumer product companies.

Dave:

As things move more e-commerce, bigger companies like Growve and others are looking at, here's an opportunity to come in and to do some consolidation and realize some savings and also provide some expertise to these brand owners that they're good at very good at Amazon, but there's some other areas that they may not know as well. If you look at things like traditional retail and diversifying off of Amazon. So companies like us can come in and provide some additional expertise. There's several reasons to do it.

Brett:

Yeah. It makes sense. So consolidation is beneficial because of cost savings because of leverage expertise. It just happens in industries where there's a lot of growth and where they're maturing a little bit. But then what's the exit or what's the bit of the endgame for an aggregator, isn't it meant to kind of either package up groups of brands and sell them to someone else or sell off the whole portfolio? Talk through that a little bit. What is attractive at the endgame with an aggregator?

Dave:

Sure. Yeah. And if just on aggregators themselves, if you look at... And I added up, I've got a list and I know of over a hundred aggregators...

Brett:

Just in the e-commerce space.

Dave:

...that are specifically focused... Just in e-commerce, primarily Amazon, but D2C e-commerce brands as well. And there's been a lot of money raised, there's a MarketPulse article recently that suggested in the last quarter, four months that two and a half billion has been brought in terms of capital into these aggregators ...

Brett:

Over what time period?

Dave:

Just the last four months. Yeah. So lots of money right now. So aggregators are getting the intention of a lot of investors and they're raising a lot of money at this point.

Dave:

So as aggregators, think about it, what's the endgame for an aggregator? And there's a number of things. One possible exit could be going public through a traditional IPO or a SPAC. SPACs have been kind of the buzzword-

Brett:

And that's a special acquisition corporation or company?

Dave:

Yeah. That's right. So it's a way to go public in a little different manner than a traditional IPO. That's a possibility. Another is you're going to see aggregators gobbling up other aggregators. At some point there's going to be aggregators that succeed and some that go away over the next few years. Definitely is not going to be the number that we're seeing today. The other thing is-

Brett:

It looks ... quickly and not to get us too off track, but those that fail is it going to be because potentially they're over leveraged and they don't gain those operational efficiencies or growth expertise or things like that? A failed aggregator, is it like a leverage problem typically? Or what would be your thoughts there?

Dave:

Yeah. It could be that. I also think just having the right team and really being able to manage the brands. It's challenging. In concept, it sounds like a good idea. The growth is coming from e-commerce, let's grab some brands and bring them together, but then running of them, it can be challenging. And do you have the right team in place to really grow them? So I think a lot are raising money based on a concept. The question is, are they going to actually be able to perform?

Brett:

And it is essentially we're kind of joking around. We accidentally kind of made the comparison of having a big family, lots of kids and being an aggregator, but you're bringing on these brands and into your group and they'll have different personalities and they have different teams and they have different styles. M&A is messy. It could be very good, very lucrative, but it's not just cut and dry, like, "Oh yeah, course. We buy this brand, save some money. Bingo. We're making money." It's complex.

Dave:

Yeah. And think about it too, a lot of aggregators, they buy the company's outright, then the founders who are passionate about their brands, they go their separate ways. So how do you replicate that passion? ...

Brett:

That entrepreneurial energy, the product design, the creativity. Keeping that founder around really makes a lot of sense, for sure. So cool. That was a little bit of a tangent, it was related.

Brett:

So exits, we can go public through a SPAC. Aggregators will buy other aggregators, because some aggregators will fail. Talk about additional exits or endgame.

Dave:

Yeah. A few others would be private equity groups are very interested in acquiring aggregators and adding them to their portfolios. Then another, and we've had interest from some of these groups as well is strategics, especially for aggregators that are focused on certain categories. Strategic may come in. Because if you look at some of these traditional CPG companies, they are having a hard time, they're not growing they're not seeing the growth from the e-commerce. They're seeing these 1.6 million Amazon...

Brett:

That are kicking their butt ...

Dave:

...outperform them. Yeah. They're interested and they want buy and they want to gain that expertise. So they're another option in terms of an exit for an aggregator, especially ones that focus on specific categories.

Brett:

Totally makes sense. We saw that recently. Actually, we get to hear him at Blue Ribbon, but Moiz Ali's a friend of mine, Native is a long time client of OMG. But that was a similar thing. Native built up this amazing direct-to-consumer natural deodorant brand. And they've since added body wash and toothpaste and sunscreen and some other cool stuff coming your way. But that was a strategic buy on P&G's part. P&G was thinking about building their own and they actually ended up doing that, but they wanted to strategically acquire Native for over a hundred million dollars. So it worked pretty well for Moiz and company, and it has worked great for P&G as well.

Brett:

So totally makes sense. Well, let's do this Dave, lots more questions about aggregators in general, but I want to talk about Growve specifically. So what do you guys do? Where do you focus and how are you guys different than maybe the average aggregator, if there is.

Dave:

Sure. So maybe starting out with where we're focused and just high level kind of where we're at today. We have 24 brands, or we will by the end of June. We're closing on four companies this month. We're about 250 million in revenue, close to 50 million of EBITDA. We're actually out and doing it and we have a proven track record. So we've done 13 acquisitions and 12 of the 13 are up. We can go to potential companies we were looking at acquiring and said, "Look what we've done historically in really growing businesses."

Dave:

But we're where we focus our time is... A lot of aggregators are agnostic and they'll buy almost anything. And for us, we decided fairly early on that we wanted to be focused on certain verticals. And that way we could kind of build our backend in all of our team around those categories. Then, like we talked about before, if we're more focused, we felt like an outcome selling to strategic would make more sense because the strategic doesn't want something that is participating in every category.

Brett:

Well, also, we go back to kind of the first thing we talked about, economies of scale and shared operations and leveraging expertise. Both of those are more effective if you're focused in a specific category versus you've got brands that are all over the place.

Dave:

Yeah, absolutely. So the six verticals that we're participating in, dietary supplements, pet nutrition, kind of personal care and beauty, healthy foods, active nutrition and kind of sports nutrition. Then we have household items, hard goods, but that are related to wellness and beauty.

Brett:

Got it.

Dave:

So if something falls in there, we have interest and we get lots of inquiries from companies and it gets tempting, "Oh, this is a cool business, but it's not in one of our verticals." And in those cases, we'll pass them off or give them references to other aggregators or other businesses that might be interested, but we've really tried to stay disciplined, even though it can be tempting at times because there's a lot of cool businesses and a lot of verticals.

Brett:

No doubt. Once you get pretty good at this process, you're good at the M&A process, you begin to see the potential in a brand that's maybe outside these categories and you're like, "Oh man. But if I just had a hold of that, I could make it grow." But just like with anything, discipline pays off. And for every potential home run, you might get by being undisciplined, you're going to have some stumbles and falls and some pain if you're not disciplined there. That's great.

Brett:

So looking at a couple things, recently, and this was probably just people that I'm hanging out with, but I think this was happening more and more, we're seeing people take exits or partial exits, I should say. So at Blue Ribbon Miami, this was one of the topics and several people on stage, several, which are actually clients of ours were just recently sold part of their equity. So they're taking some chips off the table now, but they're rolling equity and they're looking for an exit later. So kind of talk about what that structure typically looks like and kind of how you approach this with Growve, because you kind of alluded to it a little bit ago, right? Keeping the founder on, keeping that creative vision, that entrepreneurial energy, that product design genius, whatever that might be. What does that usually look like when Growve is acquiring?

Dave:

Yeah, sure. Because there's really a couple of options. There's a lot of aggregators that'll buy you out a 100% and that's probably more of the standard model, including from the biggest. Then you have the option of just kind of running your business and growing it on your own. And we made the decision early on that we wanted to be more of a hybrid. An approach where an owner could take some money off the table, de-risk themselves, but then also participate in the upside.

Dave:

So we allow founders to roll equity in their businesses and stay involved. And there's a few reasons they may want to do that. One, it allows them to de-risk but also capture some of the upside. As an aggregator, we believe that we can help brands grow through our expertise and the services that we provide and accelerate that in a way that they may not be able to do on their own.

Dave:

Then in most cases, we also think that brands will get a higher valuation by being part of Growve than they would on their own. And in most cases we think significant and we allow them to share in that upside. So some aggregators, they want to buy out a 100% because they want to capture all the upside and we say, "We're okay in sharing because we think that we'll do better by bringing the founders along because they bring the passion." That was really the thought process behind why we allow founders to roll equity.

Brett:

Yep. I love that. And it just seems like it's a pretty good time to do this. The multiples are pretty high right now. We talked about that a minute ago, Dave, it's just common knowledge right now. A lot of people buying e-commerce businesses. E -commerce has been exploding. It was growing before the pandemic, saw the huge spike during the pandemic and it's still growing now. So it's a hot place to be. So it kind of makes sense. If you can get a partial exit now, partner with somebody like Growve, grow more. Grow, maybe more than you would've been able to on your own. But then also later get a multiple that you wouldn't have gotten on your own, have a chance for a second exit makes a lot of sense. It can be pretty attractive.

Dave:

Yeah. Pretty compelling. You talk about it. I mean, there's over a hundred aggregators and by virtue of there's a lot of interest in acquiring brands. I don't like to say it a lot, but for sure it's increased the valuations that are being paid. That's just natural. That's a positive for people thinking about maybe wanting to do something. And there's also-

Brett:

Yeah. When you think about their 2.5 billion raise in the last four months. They can't just sit on that cash. It only works if they're going out and buying businesses. So you got some aggressive buyers potentially right now.

Dave:

Yeah. They're willing to do it. And on that note, it's always good too though, to be careful, there's a lot of offers that are getting thrown out. That could be pretty high valuations. One word of caution is just making sure it's from someone that can really execute. Because a lot of times someone will throw out a big offer to kind of get you under term sheet and locked up in exclusivity, but they aren't someone that can really execute on the deal.

Dave:

So it's always good to do your homework and make sure when you agree that you really know who you're working with before. Just a word of caution, because we run in that all the time, "Oh, I got this huge multiple." Then three months of diligence and going through the process and that buyer wasn't able to actually close on the business. So just something to be cautious.

Brett:

It's such good advice. I didn't get permission from this friend and client. I won't mention the name or the category, but long time friend and client of mine gone through about a two year process, I think of trying to sell. Just did do a partial exit and it was great. But before that had another experience that was not great. And it took like 12 months and he confessed after the interview, he was like, "I wanted to quit the whole business. It was so exhausting, so draining and then we didn't have a deal that I wanted to quit. I just wanted to quit the whole thing."

Brett:

I think that really speaks to what you're talking about. Don't just be attracted by a large offer because it's got to be the right partner, because there's just a high probability won't work out. Then you're just going to spin your wheels and go through all this time and end up frustrated and disappointed.

Dave:

Yeah. And maybe one other thing to mention, always ask for referrals, "What deals have you done? Let me talk to the founders and get their feedback." And we actually encourage that, because we try to be really good partners because we're going to be working together for a long time. And a lot of the deals we do actually come from referrals. So it's important to us.

Dave:

Another step I would recommend is whoever you're going to work with ask them about some other deals they've done and get some referrals and talk to people.

Brett:

Yeah. Really makes sense. I like that piece that's built into your model and I know a few other aggregator owners and one in particular I'm thinking of they just do full exits or full buyouts. That makes sense. That's kind of the norm. But when you are allowing an owner to roll equity, it's a partnership. You want this deal to be structured well, because you want that person to be motivated and that they're sticking around. So not trying to take advantage for sure.

Dave:

Yeah, absolutely.

Brett:

Cool. While we're kind of on this topic, what else should a seller be looking for? So if a seller's considering an aggregator, what other questions should they ask? Let's see some example or get some referrals, that type of thing, but what else should they be looking for asking?

Dave:

Yeah, I would say if they're wanting to roll some equity and stay involved long-term, give us some examples on how well businesses that you've done have performed afterwards. Like I mentioned, we've done 13 acquisitions, 12 of the 13 or are up. So how is their track record? Then what are some things that they can do to bring value? So we at Growve have built out a lot of different services that we offer sellers.

Dave:

So we have a traditional retail team. We're a vendor of record and most major retailers from Target, Walmart. All the drug, we have our own regulatory, we have manufacturing. We manufacture gummies and powders. We're vertically integrated. In most cases, save on their product costs, we can diversify where they're at and, and get them into other channels. So really thinking through, "Okay, if I partner with them, what do they bring beyond what I already you can do? If I'm really good at E2C, e-commerce or Amazon...," if that's all they can do, maybe they're not going to provide near the value that someone else. So just think through, "Okay, how can they help me from a value standpoint," especially if you're rolling equity, because you're going to be in tandem and working together and you want to make sure that they can actually add value.

Brett:

Yeah. 100% makes sense. Great. So what are you guys looking for? When you're acquiring a brand, because at OMG Commerce, we work exclusively with e-commerce brands, so high growth e-commerce brands working on the Amazon side, but also Search Shopping, YouTube, that sort of thing.

Brett:

Almost everyone that we talk to, they have a goal of an exit at some point. They want to sell at some point they may not exactly know when, they may not exactly know how, but they do want to sell. So I think it's beneficial for everybody to know what is an aggregator looking for. So as you're evaluating brands you want to buy, what is your criteria?

Dave:

Yeah, so a number of things. One and almost first and foremost for us is because of the rolled equity pieces, the type of people we want to work with. There's lots of deals out there and there's lots of ways to make money, but we want to partner with people, we feel like will be good partners back. We like to spend time with them and it's been a little bit harder with COVID and it's opening up more and more. Zoom is great, but let's get out there in person and get to know one another. That's a big step for us.

Dave:

Another would be, there's a lot of, what we call black hat. There's ways to manipulate Amazon that aren't within kind of terms and condition and those-

Brett:

Yep. So it's making the news right now, two big Chinese sellers getting shut down for fake reviews and such.

Dave:

Yeah. We want to shy away from brands that have done a lot of that. Brand owners need to know when you're selling, most buyers are going to the make you... They're going to require reps and warranties. They're going to require you to rep that you are compliant with Amazon's terms and conditions. So if you're doing a lot of black hat things, if it doesn't come up in diligence and you close and there's issues after the fact, and you're making a representation that you've been within policy, it could cause some issues even post close.

Dave:

So we spend a lot of time really vetting that. And we understand that, with Amazon and just the e-commerce world, there's probably some grays, not completely black and white, but there's some that are out there deliberately doing things that they know they're not supposed to be doing.

Dave:

We like to look at categories that we think are emerging. Just to give you an example on the dietary supplement side. So we look at the data and one of the interesting things we've seen with the data is over the last 10 years, the gummy delivery form has grown double digits and...

Brett:

Even with adults, which is really interesting.

Dave:

Yeah. People are wanting to take the traditional capsules and tablets. So we saw that trend and actually, this last year, it's up over 40%. So we spent a lot of time working on ways that we could provide innovation within that gummy delivery form. And we have a new brand that it's fruit-based gummies called Fruily that we just launched and marked-

Brett:

Which I've tried, by the way. I think you sent me some elderberry gummies and man, really good. Very tasty.

Dave:

You liked those?

Brett:

Yes.

Dave:

Good. Yeah. So the gummy 90% of it is real fruit. Most gummies are either the first ingredient, sugar or glucose syrup. I bring that up because for us, we're looking for things that we feel like have a lot of upward potential in terms of growth. And that we can even take them even beyond. If they're just on Amazon, we can take them beyond because it's more than just kind of a product. And I'm good at hacking Amazon that there's actually some viability in the brand, in the products.

Dave:

Those are some of the things that we really look at, as we do our analysis.

Brett:

Is it important to you that someone be on Amazon and off Amazon? Are you totally comfortable with an FBA only business? How do you guys look at that?

Dave:

Yeah, that's good. So more and more, we like brands that actually, as well have a direct-to-consumer component that they're great with their Shopify and things they're doing, Facebook. Just things that they're doing to drive traffic, beyond just being on Amazon. Amazon loves organic traffic and I think from an algorithm standpoint, you're favored if you have that. So we've actually invested and are investing a lot in kind of building out that infrastructure on our side, that it's not just about Amazon. We really want to be good just from a D2C component. So we're really trying to build that out.

Dave:

And we have an example of a brand, which they started just on their Shopify account, and it's really fed the other channels. I mean, it's fueled Amazon. We don't spend a ton on Amazon because we have all this organic traffic that Amazon loves. Then it's also helped us to take it into traditional retail. So I think the brands that are going to succeed and do really well long-term have to really be thinking about that D2C play. It's not just about Amazon anymore.

Brett:

Yeah. But thinking about that Amazon success, how do we parlay that to success with the Shopify store or BigCommerce or Woo or whatever the case may be, but your own D2C website and then getting into retail, having all of those channels makes you a much more attractive business. Much more sellable, ... multiple all of those things when that happens.

Dave:

Yeah. There's no question. Just if you can be everywhere the consumer is, and all of those touch points, you're going to command a much higher multiple, where you're just kind of single focus, single channel on Amazon, there's more risk. If you think about it from a buyer standpoint, if all you are is Amazon, what happens if your account gets shut down? Or...

Brett:

Exactly. Which-

Dave:

...maybe they ban that ingredient or a product? Then everything's gone. So there is risk with that. And that's why you see lower multiples for brands that aren't as diversified. So I think as brand owners, you think about that, "How am I able to diversify myself? If I'm just Amazon or I'm just Shopify, or I'm just traditional retail, how do I diversify myself into some of these other channels?"

Brett:

Great. Dave's been amazing. Just probably a couple more questions here. Been super insightful. And I love this topic. When deals go bad, when deals don't pan out, what is usually the reason or reasons why deals don't work out?

Dave:

Yeah. And we have those, they have many actually. We had one that we thought was going to happen that ended up not happening as of yesterday. And sometimes it's in diligence as... So we agree generally pretty upfront on general business terms, things like purchase price. Then before we actually close, we're going to spend more time doing diligence. And there may be things that come up, that we weren't aware of.

Dave:

And to give you an example, we were looking at a brand that offered gummies, a different brand. And they were getting all of their products, all their gummies made in China, but they weren't putting on the label, "Product of China." So they're getting away with it, but it's not compliant. So for us, there's no way to do that deal because we look at it, "Okay. We could make those gummies ourself, but it's going to increase their cost structure by 40%." So we would automatically jump in and their income would be significantly lower.

Brett:

Immediate impact to EBITDA. It would go down and that's a negative, obviously.

Dave:

Yeah. I would say, just if there's things out there that you know that maybe aren't quite right, be upfront because they're going to get discovered throughout the process. And it costs kind of both sides, not only is there a cost component and time. A lot of times there's ways to work through them, if you're upfront. In this case, we looked at it and said, "Okay, can we make them in the U.S.?" It was so much of a cost differential that we weren't able to do. But a lot of times, if you're upfront, we can work through the issues. But those are a lot of reasons why we end up not closing.

Brett:

You kind of need to air the dirty laundry, so to speak. Just get it out there because... Well, first of all, buyers hate surprises. You want to know up front. And if you know up front, you can likely work around it. Every deal has dirty laundry's the right word. But there's always negatives or there's issues or things in the business that potential buyer needs to be aware of. But if you bring it up front, usually a good thing. That's awesome.

Brett:

Dave, this has been fantastic. Couple things. One, do you guys have any resources or materials or should people just kind of follow you guys on social media and see what you're doing? How else can people learn?

Dave:

Yeah. So we actually have been pretty quiet as a company in terms of, we've stayed under the radar and kind of intentionally. And as of late, we've been more aggressive just in talking about ourselves. So you can definitely follow us on social media channels. You're welcome to email me if you have questions. I mean, you don't even have to be in the category if you've got questions. My email is dbunch@growve.com.

Brett:

Awesome. Thank you.

Dave:

I'm happy just to, you've got a question on something, just want some advice. I mean, we about helping people as well. You don't have to worry that, "If I reach out to Dave, he's going to try to pitch something on me," we're about helping people and we really help each other. Over the years I've kind of learned, I've got lots of friends in the industry and that's good to run things by each other and kind of work together. So we have that mindset.

Brett:

Yep. I love it. And just from meeting you and some of the other partners at Growve, genuine people, just down to earth, super solid. So really enjoyed getting to know you guys. Where can people find Growve online? Website, social media? Where can they fin them?

Dave:

Yeah. So we've got our Growve website, so just growve.com. All the social media, we're pretty active, especially places like LinkedIn that have a lot of business owners. So we can be found there. We generally now are doing, some press releases announcing various things. We just brought on a pretty high level advisor to the team that has sold multiple Amazon brands, a good friend of mine that we brought on. So you can kind of stay abreast of what we're doing by following us that way.

Brett:

Yeah, it's super great. I'm particularly interested in following aggregators one because I have a few friends that run aggregators, but I mentioned this at least in part on the show I think, my business partner and I, Chris Brewer, we're looking at potentially acquiring some brands, buying some smaller brands, helping them grow and then potentially selling to an aggregator. That was actually an idea that a friend of mine gave me. We've been talking about it for a while, but such an interesting space.

Brett:

I'm just grateful to be in e-commerce, where things are growing and the trends are right. And it's a lot of fun too. It's just a really fun place to be.

Brett:

Awesome. Well, Dave, thank you again for spending the time. It's been really great and we'll have to do it again some time.

Dave:

Yeah. Thanks, Brett. Really appreciate you having me on.

Brett:

Absolutely. All right. And as always, thank you for tuning in. We'd love to hear your feedback. Leave us that review on iTunes. Shoot us a note, connect with us on social media and with that until next time. Thank you for listening.

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