In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Don Henig openly discusses investing in Amazon sellers as the founder of AccrueMe, an innovative growth capital investment firm for Amazon sellers, shares his life story and his path into eCommerce.
One obstacle on the path to growing your Amazon business is finding enough capital to meet your needs. Sure, there are many companies out there willing to lend you money at high interest rates, but is that really the way to do it? What if there was a way to get the capital you need to grow your business and there were no interest rates? Would you be interested? Yoni Mazor of Prime Talk discusses how you can find the money you need to scale up your online enterprise in a way that benefits YOU, not the lenders.
In today’s episode, Prime Talk has teamed up with Don Henig, the founder of AccrueMe, an innovative new growth capital investment firm for Amazon sellers. AccrueMe was founded on the principle that they only win when the seller wins and their primary goal is to help you start earning more money. They have over $100 million USD ready to invest in businesses just like yours!
Don Henig shares his journey into the world of e-commerce growth capital investment from his early days in the mortgage industry to today. So if you’re an Amazon seller looking for an infusion of cash to buy more products to fuel your growth, then this episode is for you!
Learn more about AccrueMe!
Learn about GETIDA’s Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:05
Everyone, welcome to another episode on Prime Talk. Today I’m really excited to have a special guest. I’m having Don Henig. He is the founder of AccrueMe, which is an innovative growth capital investment firm for Amazon sellers. It’s so innovative, that he’s gonna have to explain more about it very soon. But Don, welcome to the show.
Don Henig 0:23
Thanks, Yoni. Good to be here. Really appreciate it.
Yoni Mazor 0:26
Our pleasure. Nice to have you here. Today, you know, the show is all about you and your story. So, you know, tell us what…you’re going to tell us where you’re from. Where’d you grow up? Where’d you go to school? How did you start your career, your professional career or your business career? So I guess without further ado, it’s your show. Go ahead.
Don Henig 0:47
All right. All right. Well, I have, you know, one of these crazy stories. I can go on for about five hours on that topic.
Yoni Mazor 0:53
We’ll take it one hour at a time.
Don Henig 0:55
All right. All right. So, you know, I grew up in Brooklyn, in Bensonhurst area, so over by Coney Island for people that are, you know, everybody in the world knows about Coney Island. And we would walk into Coney Island. It was great. I moved out to Long Island, the first town on Long Island, Valley Stream and grew up there. I had a ball. It was just, it was just great.
Yoni Mazor 1:16
So you grew up what? In which year? Which decade? Give us perspective.
Don Henig 1:20
Yoni Mazor 1:27
Haha, I’m not asking for the age, just I wanna get the perspective.
Don Henig 1:28
Trust me I could care less.
Yoni Mazor 1:29
Is it like the madmen age, you know, like, you know, the Madmen, the show?
Don Henig 1:32
Yeah, pretty much. Maybe…Yeah, yeah, definitely. You know, so it was the 60s and 70s is really what it was. And, you know, the 70s was, it was fantastic. It was a different time. But it was a similar time to this right now. Because, you know, in the late 60s growing up, I was a young kid, maybe you know, 10 years old, 12 years old. And people were protesting and everything within my own family, you know, this and that. It was big, big, big as you can imagine.
Yoni Mazor 1:57
Winds of change. It was a wind of change.
Don Henig 1:57
It was winds of change. And it was an interesting time put it that way it was people learned a lot and people grew a lot. And I think the same thing is gonna happen here. Oh, yeah. 60s and 70s. It was a lot of fun. It was crazy. So you know, you know the New York market. Growing up 12 years old, come home for dinner. And your parents say, what’d you do today? I went to the Mets game. Well, how did you get to the Mets game? They would never ask, but you walk to the bus, you take the bus to Jamaica, you get on the subway to Shea Stadium, go to the game, have a great time, come home with all the drunks after work and, and come home and have dinner and like, oh, how was the game? You know, so it was a different time. That’s for sure. A lot of fun. But I’ll tell you a story that when I was growing up, and I was about 11 or 12 years old, and I owned, I had two paper routes. So I, you know, I was the number one paper newspaper salesperson on Long Island, if you can imagine that, right. So I had a ton of money.
Yoni Mazor 2:57
So all the newspapers, this a specific one, or just any newspaper?
Don Henig 3:01
I had two. One is no longer here. It was called the Long Island Press. And the other one was the Daily News. So I had the Daily News in the morning and the Press in the afternoon. And then I also played sports, you know, so it was kind of a crazy time. But I fell in love with making money. And I was pretty good at it. When I was 12 years old, I asked my parents to take me to the bank, because I wanted to take out a loan, what do you need a loan for? I said I want to create my credit profile. Now, understand the times..my parents didn’t have a credit card, they didn’t understand anything about that. But that’s where my mentality was. So by the time I was 16, with a credit card, you know, bigger than my parents would have at that time. Buy my own new car, all that kind of stuff. You know, by the time, you know, I’m 22 buying my first houses, and all that without, you know, without any issue.
Yoni Mazor 3:50
So where’d you get this I guess financial, I don’t wanna say discipline, but awareness?
Don Henig 3:54
I don’t really know. But I…something triggered when I was young that I just was interested. My father was a government worker, you know, he worked for the Department of Defense. My mother worked for different, you know, human resource departments at schools and colleges and things. So, you know, when I opened my first business, they sat me down and gave me the talking to, you know, like, do you know what this is? You know, the responsibility you’re taking on, on and on and on? Yeah, I did. And, you know, it made money and I had a lot of fun. But I’ve always wanted to own my own businesses. I’ve always and that’s what I did. You know, right from the get-go. I was working at a bank. I was bored. I was doing…I was a fair-haired child with a child at the bank. You know, I was the kid that was doing everything. But I was bored. So I studied financial planning on my own, went and got my series seven to buy and sell stocks and bonds and everything. Did that, made money.
Yoni Mazor 4:51
Hold on, you kind of skipped a little bit. So this was after college?
Don Henig 4:54
That’s after college. So in college, I went to the College of Wooster in Ohio which is a great school, made a lot of friends and learned a lot there. It was terrific. Came back and finished up at Hofstra here on Long Island as a full-time night student taking, you know, full-time courses, working full time during the day, because I had to pay for the school.
Yoni Mazor 5:16
Where’d you work full time back then?
Don Henig 5:18
Back then I worked initially in a commercial collection agency. And then at night, I would go out and I would clean toilets and mop floors overnight. No kidding. And then and then, uh, you know, you may know to go. Yeah, well, that’s what you do. You know, your Newsday, you also have you know, these jobs. So what I would do with Newsday at 230 in the morning or three in the morning, I don’t remember after I finished mopping floors and cleaning toilets, go there and pick up newspapers and then drop them off at all these different, you know, delis and things in Queens, Queens, New York. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So you had to pay for college? How do you do it? You have to work your ass off. There’s not many other ways.
Yoni Mazor 6:03
Way to go. I salute you. This dedication and drive is not to be taken lightly, you know?
Don Henig 6:09
It’s the way I was brought up. I’m sure it’s the way you were brought up as well.
Yoni Mazor 6:13
Oh, my story goes different angles. But yeah, I definitely had the angle of it’s a tough life enough for me. But you know, the environment. I grew up, born and raised in Israel and years of turmoil. But yeah, let’s focus on your story. So I guess you’re at this point, you’re 22 working two and a half jobs. Right. One of them is collection. The other one is cleaning things. And the third one is newspapers. Still in the newspaper game, right?
Don Henig 6:43
Probably not at that point. But by the time actually, that was when I was about 20. And then I got into banking. And the reason I got into banking is because I learned that banks pay 80% of your college as long as you get a B or better. Home run. I’m getting into a bank one way or another. And I moved up in the bank…
Yoni Mazor 7:00
Which bank was that?
Don Henig 7:02
It eventually became Bank of America. So Fleet Bank. Thank you know, Hempstead Bank, you wouldn’t know that, you know.
Yoni Mazor 7:10
I know Hempstead New York, I would assume that you know, the local, the local towns.
Don Henig 7:15
There you go, not a place that you necessarily felt comfortable, you know, safe in at the time. It was an interesting place. But it was fun. I learned a lot. It was great. paid for my college.
Yoni Mazor 7:26
So yeah, I guess a clear financial incentive brought you into working for I guess the finance industry slash banking?
Don Henig 7:32
Yeah, well, I was interested in it. So I studied it, I got my series seven. And then I became a financial planner, I worked for myself.
Yoni Mazor 7:42
So you separated from the bank. So how long did you work in the bank for?
Don Henig 7:45
Probably a few years, maybe three years. And again, it wasn’t enough. You know, I literally had to, you know, study other things. I learned, as crazy as this is gonna sound, 1000s of jokes. I memorized 1000s of jokes, just to keep my mind going because it wasn’t enough. So that’s when I learned financial planning. And you know, most people would go and take a course and take a test and this and that. I just did it all on my own.
Yoni Mazor 8:11
You should have probably, I should probably connect you to Jerry Seinfeld, you have a lot in common, he has a lot of jokes and probably a lot of money that needs planning.
Don Henig 8:17
Oh, there you go. So I gotta tell you, this is like in the 80s now, so I’m a financial planner. I own my first house, second house. Everything is going well.
Yoni Mazor 8:32
We’re still in the 70s or the 80s? The late 80s. Okay. The 80s is the years of, I guess in New York City, it’s still being cleaned up from the 70s.
Don Henig 8:43
Yoni Mazor 8:45
Okay, so you’re living in the city or Long Island?
Don Henig 8:47
I was living in Long Island, and got married and bought a house, everything good. And then, you know, I started learning about mortgages, and people started asking me about mortgages. And it was the first time that there was a re-fi boom in the mortgage world. I knew nothing. But people knew I knew finance. So they would ask me, so I learned and I studied it. And there were no books or anything, but I just figured stuff out as best I could, talked to anybody I could. And I opened up a mortgage company.
Yoni Mazor 9:16
What year was that?
Don Henig 9:18
Yoni Mazor 9:21
So 1985 was like your first real business owner gig, would you say?
Don Henig 9:26
Yeah, so as a financial planner, I worked for myself, it was just me. As a mortgage company, you had to have employees, there was a lot to do. There was a lot to learn. There was a lot…
Yoni Mazor 9:35
You had to enter the business structure.
Don Henig 9:37
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Yoni Mazor 9:38
It’s a different mindset.
Don Henig 9:40
It is, but you know, I have a very simple mindset when it comes to business. Pay, listen to your people. If you ask them what you need to do, they’re going to tell you. They’re gonna know better than you will know, better than I will know. It’s not that difficult when you think about it, you know? So anyway, so I built a mortgage company into one of the largest mortgage brokerage firms on Long Island. And then we converted into a mortgage banking firm, one of the largest in New York, and sold that, which was, you know, a great achievement.
Yoni Mazor 10:12
So the year you started was that 1985? And what year did you eventually end up selling it?
Don Henig 10:19
Yoni Mazor 10:21
So 10 years. You had a 10 year, a decade of a run. And so what was the growth through those 10 years? What would you say? You started with one branch, and then it turned into more branches, you had X amount of revenue? And then when we went to 100x, what was the growth trajectory for that experience?
Don Henig 10:37
You know, we had a few branches. So we started with just one, so put it this way, started in an office that was 300 square feet, me and an assistant, and ended with about, you know, owning a building, built a brand new building of about 10,000 square feet, and then had, you know, a few branches off of that as well around the state. And did business with other mortgage companies where they would bring me their loans to handle. That’s right. That’s exactly what it is. We built a wholesale operation that, you know, people didn’t understand what it was at the time.
Yoni Mazor 11:13
So 1995, when you get bought out, you have you know, you’re doing I guess already an interstate business. You have a 10,000 square foot building. So that’s a 30x growth on the square footage, from 300. 30X, a little bit and change. But um, what about employees? How many employees?
Don Henig 11:31
I think we ended up with about 80 employees. You know, I really don’t remember offhand the exact number.
Yoni Mazor 11:36
That’s strong. From one or two to 80. That’s pretty intense.
Don Henig 11:38
But the thing that I find is even better about that, is that so many of them, I’m still friends with. You know, I’m on LinkedIn, so, you know, maybe a couple weeks ago, I get a LinkedIn message from a guy who worked with me, you know, 30 years ago, you know, you just treat people right along the way. And, you know, you can count on them when the time comes. And it’s, it’s fantastic.
Yoni Mazor 12:05
It sounds like yeah, you struck the right roots with, you know, your businesses, and especially with the first one you struck, which was…it’s great to have, because if your first run has good roots, hopefully, you will bring a lot of good fruits later on along the years, with them in terms of relationship and good fuel. Okay, so 1995, you sold the business? What happened afterward? What was your next station?
Don Henig 12:31
I’m telling you, I’ve done a lot of things. So…
Yoni Mazor 12:34
That’s alright. We’re taking it one station at a time.
Don Henig 12:37
You know, I like to learn new things. So I took some time off. And you know, looked around, like, what do I enjoy doing? What do I want to do? I love being with my kids. My kids were young at the time. I love being out on the fields with them. So I started a soccer publication. And, you know, the only employee. Did everything from you know, taking pictures to writing stories to selling ads, everything. I had a partner who was in the printing world, and he was able to get it printed at a reasonable cost. I handled the distribution, everything.
Yoni Mazor 13:12
Hold on, Let’s see if I can understand something. Oh, so back then in 1995 or six? That’s when you started? Yeah, it was right after so I guess you retired in 95. You thought you made it in life and you can take it easy and just enjoy life and you had the entrepreneurial bug already biting you from the inside. And you turn into soccer. But my guess my question is was, back in the day 1995, was there already a league? I think it’s called the MLS right? Soccer?
Don Henig 13:40
So it wasn’t MLS then it was a different name. I don’t remember offhand. So it was a league in the United States. In fact, the New York team…
Yoni Mazor 13:50
It wasn’t the rebels, right?
Don Henig 13:51
No, it was the Cosmos. So if you remember…
Yoni Mazor 13:55
Who played in it? Pele played in it?
Don Henig 13:56
Pele played with them. Very good.
Yoni Mazor 13:59
Back to the 70s. Right?
Don Henig 14:00
That’s very good. Yeah, exactly. That was exciting. That got them off the ground. That was great. But you know, it was such a youth movement. You know, everywhere you drove, there’d be 1000s of kids on fields playing soccer. So I decided to get involved in it. So I started a paper. The first month…
Yoni Mazor 14:16
The paper was national? It wasn’t local or anything?
Don Henig 14:18
It was local. It was just Long Island initially. 55,000 copies, full newspaper, you know? 32 pages. 50% of it was advertising. And from the first month we made a nice profit and did very well about six months later, we were the official paper for New York State soccer. 167,000 copies per month. Wow. Yeah. And then I was gonna buy other soccer publications around the country. And whatever happened. I don’t remember offhand. But that plan got screwed up. Something happened. I tried to buy something but it didn’t work. And I just said all right. I had a partner. He wanted to buy it. So I sold it to him.
Yoni Mazor 15:02
And what year was this?
Don Henig 15:05
Maybe a year later.
Yoni Mazor 15:06
Okay, so this was almost like a stint, there was a year on, you know, you, I guess had almost 3x distribution from zero to 50,000 to 160,000. And then…Okay, so what was the next station?
Don Henig 15:19
And learned so much, you know? You learn about the publishing world, it’s a different world, you know, it’s great.
Yoni Mazor 15:24
It seems like you’re picking up from every venture, you’re in. The experience, the experiences, and you put…it’s all multi-layered. So we’ll eventually get to Amazon and e-commerce. That will give us a good insight about the layers that you have been experiencing, to lead you to this position, and what is your value and what is your, what’s so intimate about it, we’re gonna get there very soon. But ok, so 1996…go ahead?
Don Henig 15:49
What we’re doing now with Amazon is the most innovative thing of all, but we’ll come back to that. So at that point, if you think about 1997 or so, and compare it to today, where would you want to be in 97? You’d want to be in the dot com boom. And I literally made this comment that you know, if I, when I have grandchildren, if they say to me, hey, Grandpa, what did you do during the dot.com boom? You know, it was that big at the time. I didn’t want to say I’m on the sideline, I’m not doing it. The same thing with Amazon, you know, what did you do when Amazon took off? I’d watched it, no, I don’t want to do that, I wanted to play. So same thing, with.com boom. So I got involved in technology. And with a couple of different technology companies, ran sales for them learned a lot, still friends with people from both companies, the chairman of one company, he’s my partner in a business in Vietnam, you know, so…
Yoni Mazor 16:45
Currently or back then?
Don Henig 16:49
Currently. I don’t do anything with it, he runs the business, but I, you know, I funded initially, and we just looked at literally just raised $25,000,000 two weeks ago. So that business is moving pretty well. But he was my partner back then, or he was my boss back then. And then from there real quick, in 2001, you know, before 9/11, at the very beginning of 2001, I joined the back into the mortgage industry, doing direct to consumer sales for a small company, but not that small. They were nationwide, but they weren’t really on the map yet. And within a few years, the direct-to-consumer platform that I was building became the fifth largest in the nation, from, you know, next to nothing. And doing huge volumes. We did partnerships and, you know, exclusive deals with Microsoft, Home Advisor, which would be like Zillow and realtor.com today, with anybody that went there and needed a mortgage, they came to us. If they went to Costco, and they needed a mortgage they came to us.
Yoni Mazor 17:54
So you were able to, I guess, in a way emerged between your old business of mortgaging and the dot com, it was a perfect marriage.
Don Henig 18:03
Exactly. You know, I thought they wanted to buy technology from me, and they actually wanted to hire me. And then from there, they asked me to take over wholesale because we took the direct-to-consumer platform from losing like $700,000 a month to making over $20 million a year. So we took over the wholesale plant platform, and we took that, it was small, and was losing about $400,000 a month. And three years later, we earned a net profit just in that one division of over $300 million.
Yoni Mazor 18:35
So hold on. So let me set the time scope. So 2001? Almost 9/11 you were back in the game of mortgage, but this time, you’re able to merge it with technology and then the dot com boom. And within how many years, what was the growth you experienced? And how long, how many years and how long did you stay there? What was the whole scope about?
Don Henig 18:54
It was about seven years altogether.
Yoni Mazor 18:56
2001 to 2008?
Don Henig 18:58
Yeah. Seven? 2007. So yeah, if you think of the mortgage market in the world at that point in time, all of a sudden, in one week, we were healthy as could be and within a week, boom, gone. The company was gone. After earning all that kind of money.
Yoni Mazor 19:14
It’s important to mention, I guess, 2007/8 that was the bust for the mortgage business. But nevertheless, there was already a bust in the early 2000s for the dot com business. Correct. Both these industries took major blows and different times. How did that affect you? I want to just dive into that for a quick moment. The dot com, I mean, you entered 2001 that was after the boom right after the bust, right?
Don Henig 19:36
Actually, I was in the dot com before that.
Yoni Mazor 19:39
What I’m saying but when you entered into the mortgage slash dot com?