- I am founder and CEO of Elements Brands, one of the original ecommerce holding companies.
- I live in Charlotte, NC, with my wife and two children, but work and play wherever there’s internet and a laptop.
- I once lost 37 pounds using modified techniques from The 4-Hour Body.
- I’m an Eagle Scout and love to camp off the grid.
- In my spare time I hike, ski, program in PHP, and eat pulled pork BBQ.
Things I Work On
Natural Dog Company – our largest portfolio company at Elements Brands, where I am operating CEO. This keeps me sharp as the day-to-day operator of a scaling brand.
Acquisitions Anonymous – the internet’s number one podcast about buying, selling, and operating small businesses. I record twice a week with my friends Michael Girdley and Mills Snell.
Wild Blue Ventures – I invest my personal capital in founders and brands I know and trust when I believe my involvement can increase their chances of success.
Consulting – This is how I invest time in entrepreneurs and situations where expertise is needed more than capital to create growth.
How I Got Here
I’ve always had the entrepreneurial bug. In high school, I progressed from lemonade stands to running a computer repair business during the summers that paid me more pocket money than I ever could have made waiting tables. During college, I helped start and eventually sell a software company called Groupvine that made running and organizing college groups easy.
After graduation I did what all the other ambitious kids were doing and took a job in investment banking. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say – I learned a ton but hated the 100 hour weeks. I left investment banking after almost 2 years to take over Corporate Development and M&A at Hosting.com. My role was to acquire other hosting companies and combine them into our operations. We executed and integrated several acquisitions during my time at Hosting.com in partnership with our private equity backers at Pamlico Capital.
While working at Hosting.com, I read Tim Ferriss’s “Four Hour Work Week” and became fascinated with consumer products. I spent my nights and weekends creating my first product, and launched it in late 2010 – this was the seed that would become Elements Brands. Since I had a full-time job (and also because I’m obsessed with process design), I used a combination of custom-built software and outsourcing to obsessively automate the business’s ordering, billing, fulfillment, marketing, and accounting from day 1. The business ran and grew almost totally autonomously during the first year – it was more like the one hour work week. 🙂
As my first product continued taking off, I was able to quit my full-time job in Spring 2012 and focus full time on growing Elements Brands. Since then we have launched or acquired 10 brands and built a company that’s one part Proctor & Gamble, one part Berkshire Hathaway, and one part 4HWW. Today, we are profitable and have committed capital to pursue acquisitions of direct-to-consumer brands between $5M and $25M in revenue. Elements Brands is different because we own 100% of and operate all our brands. We have a team of in-house experts in digital marketing, branding, retail sales, customer retention, financial analysis, supply chain, accounting, and operations.
After a decade running Elements Brands, I’ve built expertise in running consumer products and DTC brands, with a deep focus on acquisitions and financing. I now look for ways to leverage that expertise as an investor and advisor to other founders and entrepreneurs.