Intentional Growth

#252: Ex-Amazon Employees Raise Millions to Acquire, Build and Grow Enduring Brands.

#252: Ex-Amazon Employees Raise Millions to Acquire, Build and Grow Enduring Brands.
Intentional Growth
#252: Ex-Amazon Employees Raise Millions to Acquire, Build and Grow Enduring Brands.

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.


What You Will Learn In Today's Podcast Interview

  • The “cold” way of looking at branding
  • Amazon data points for e-commerce and optimizing conversion
  • What the exceptions to being a brand are
  • The common issues direct to consumer customers face and how to solve them
  • Why you want to be ‘privileged in your partners’
  • How to build a great portfolio brand operating company
  • The benefits of long-term thinking at all stages of planning
  • How to align your interests with clients and your balance sheet
  • The downside of transaction-based interactions and how to create win-win scenarios instead
  • Learning how to watch the money when you’re still small helps you see where the money goes when you’re growing
  • Why it’s vital you connect with your customers
  • The impact of heavy shopping sales days
  • How to be in stock as efficiently as possible so you see better returns
  • What running a restaurant and operating an ecommerce business have in common
  • Why consolidating is such a challenge and what you can do about it


Are You Growing The Value of Your Business

Take The 2-Minute Assessment To Get Your Intentional Growth Score™ And 1-Page Vision Board.

  • Are your company's current initiatives intentionally designed to increase the value of the business?
  • Do you know what you want from your business long term and why?
  • Do you know what your company is worth?
  • Do you know the differences between Management, Family Transitions, PE Firms, ESOPs and Strategic Buyers?
  • Does the business have a written strategic plan on how to achieve the desired normalized EBITDA and valuation?

About the Guest:

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


Links and Resources:

Foundry Brands Official Website

Stefan Hanley, LinkedIn

Kyle Walker, LinkedIn

Mastering Your Cash Flow Digital Course

ARKONA Boot Camp

Reach out to me if you have questions about the boot camp!


You can also reach out to me via email at [email protected], or on my LinkedIn.

Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Intentional Growth