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Amazon Aggregator Society Brands Has ‘Robust’ Pipeline Of Acquisitions; Rolls Out Tech Stack

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Tech-enabled consumer products company Society Brands, which acquires e-commerce native brands that primarily sell on Amazon
AMZN
and their own DTC sites, recently rolled out a proprietary technology stack, which was built from the ground up to enable easy-to-maintain scalable web applications. In addition, Ross Salupo, who was Society Brands’ part time chief technology officer, has joined the company full time in the role of CTO.

Society Brands in March announced its first institutional capital raise of $205 million, led by i80 Group, a leading provider of capital to breakthrough technology companies, and also said it had acquired a brand management company.

“We’re really excited about that means for our brands and our organization,” said Justin Sirpilla, president of Society Brands, at the time. “Also, what it means for the kind of continued investment in technology that we’re creating to differentiate ourselves and our brands.”

That technology, first and foremost, is EVO, Sirpilla said. “EVO is a play on the word for evolution,” he said. “All good societies are continuously evolving and getting better and better over time.

The company has used the capital raised primarily for financing acquisitions, but it also helped with developing the EVO proprietary technology. “That’s a huge win for us,” Sirpilla said. “It really helps us source acquisitions and run our company at a more efficient level. The primary focus is certainly helping us [attain] our longer term goals. Over the next few years, we’ll be a $1 billion business.

“We’re really excited about the founders and brands we’ve brought on board,” Sirpilla said. “It’s been a great partnership and we’re off to a great start.”

Behind the scenes, Society Brands acquires e-commerce consumer products companies and encourages the founders to stay on board to be part of the team in an effort to build a community and ecosystem of like-minded entrepreneurs that have the skill and energy to grow with their brands.

Sirpilla said Society Brands is similar to a modern day e-commerce Procter & Gamble
PG
, where it’s really “a house of brands that we’re building. We’re generally agnostic at this point in terms of what categories we’re looking for.”

Sirpilla said the company creates efficiencies “for our brands through transactional automation and other means. We then use data analytics and marketing intelligence to fine tune the message. The EVO tech stack delivers on those three priorities.”

Sirpilla had a hard time thinking of another company that has a similar business model as Society Brands – a house of brands that rolled out proprietary technology.

“We’re building across brands in a thoughtful way,” Sirpilla said. “We’ve built [the tech stack] from the ground up for an optimized view of where we’re taking our company. We’re always focused on the best customer experience for our brands.”

The technology will significantly improve the customer acquisition process as well as the customer journey once a shopper transacts with one of the companies in Society Brands’ stable, Sirpilla said.

“It [EVO] creates a lot of scalability in our operations,” Sirpilla added. “The more efficiently we can scale our operations through transactional automation, the better off we’ll be in the long term. Our brands and the founders that come on board will be in a position where they can focus on the strategy of their brand as opposed to the day-to-day transactional monitoring of the company.”

Sirpilla explained the selection process of buying a brand. “We want a great brand that has a great presence,” he said. “It should also have a really strong founder who understands the vertical that they’re competing in.

“Our goal is to make sure that post- [deal] close, the entrepreneur can really be focused on the strategy and vision of the brand, while we take care of all of the headaches of operating a brand, such as supply chain and accounting – all of those back office things.

“The stack helps us deliver that vision, which is: ‘Founder, be a great visionary for your focus product category, and we’ll take care of [everything else] and make sure that we can do that in an efficient fashion.”

Society Brands believes that its brands should be visible everywhere its customer, and potential consumer, shops. “If they’re transacting through social, we’re on social,” Sirpilla said. “If they’re transacting through any number of different marketplaces, we want to be there, too. We offer direct to consumer properties as well, actually DTC sites.

“Society Brands is building a community of entrepreneurs and Amazon brands that can help one another reach new heights,” the company’s website said. “That means we acquire small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses to build a house of brands where entrepreneurs flourish and explore their true potential.

“For us, it’s about getting the right message about our brands out there and in front of the customer no matter where they are, and doing that in a thoughtful way,” Sirpilla said. “We’re constantly analyzing the results of those outreaches, touchpoints and conversion rates and are constantly testing content. That’s why we have this analytical-driven engine to make sure that each at bat with the customer is the best at bat.”

Society Brands owns a handful of brands today and is actively looking to acquire more. The company has a pipeline that’s “pretty full of brands and additional founders that are coming on board. We’re definitely focused on a handful of categories that we think will have good long-term prospects over the next five years.”

That includes verticals such as home and kitchen, personal care, health, and consumer electronics. Sickles didn’t rule out other categories. “The way we look at it is there’s a ton of opportunity for cross-selling, even in the portfolio we have today, but hopefully, it gets larger and will increase. With the product team we’ve assembled, we have new products to launch to cross-sell.”

One of the Society Brands’ growth vectors is focused on making sure it expands product catalogs in a thoughtful way that makes sense for each brand.

“We’re either expanding our base with additional customers that we’ve acquired, [or in other cases,] we’re whittling it down, depending on what we think is the best view of that brand. Each of the brands have their target customers that they’re going after, but it’s really about what’s best for the brand. That’s really our focus.”

Society Brands was founded with technology at its heart. The company partnered with local development shop, Sidestreet in its native Canton, Ohio and has been working with it on a full-time basis. Salupo has been working full time at Society Brands for the last four months. Sirpilla said Salupo will be able to continue as a partner in Sidestreet, while becoming a full time employee of Society Brands.

Of EVO, Sirpilla said, the company looked at what was available and “didn’t see anything that was right for our mission. We knew we needed to build something. We wanted to bootstrap that process, so we went out and found a technology firm, Sidestreet.

“They had the absolute right functional skill set and focus for their team and what they wanted to develop, which was really kind of a market intelligence, data-driven analytics product,” Sirpilla said. “We thought about what we wanted to build. We wanted to be a data-driven organization and we knew that we’d like to inject intelligence in an automated fashion.

“It’s a perfect fit for where we want to invest our technology dollars,” Sirpilla continued. “We’re really excited about the foundation we’ve already built out, and we have robust additional technology we’re going to build over the coming years.”

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