Episode Summary

In this PrimeTalk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Ari Horowitz, the co-founder, and CEO of YardLine Capital unveils his experience in serial entrepreneurship & fueling Amazon seller growth through his company Yardline. A capital provider for e-commerce sellers, Ari shares his personal journey into e-commerce.


In the world of e-commerce, the goal is often to get your business to the level where you can sell it and make a good profit. The thing most e-commerce sellers struggle with though is exactly how to do that. It’s an interesting topic. And today Yoni Mazor of PrimeTalk discusses the steps you can take to get your business to that next level.


In today’s episode, Primetalk sits down with Ari Horowitz, the co-founder, and CEO of YardLine Capital, a company that helps all kinds of e-commerce businesses secure the capital they need to grow their business. However, Yardline doesn’t provide only capital, you also get knowledgeable and useful advice and help from their experienced team to streamline your operations to the point where you can sell off your business!


Ari Horowitz goes through his more than 30 years of experience in the world of business and commerce and details how he came up with this capital solution for e-commerce sellers. If you are in the e-commerce space, whether it’s Etsy or Instagram or Amazon, and you are looking for a flux of capital to get your business to the level you envisage, then this episode is for you!


Visit Yardline.com for more information.

Learn about GETIDA’s Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.




Find the Full Transcript Below

Yoni Mazor 0:06

Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today I have a really special guest. Today I’m having Ari Horowitz. Ari is the co-founder and CEO of YardLine Capital, which is a growth capital provider for e-commerce sellers. So Ari, welcome to the show!


Ari Horowitz 0:21

Hey Yoni! Great to be here, man, we’re really excited to be able to talk about the space and have a conversation with you guys. We love what you guys do as well.


Yoni Mazor 0:31

Thank you so much. Great to have you here. We met a few times physically before the world ended with COVID. So it was a pleasure. We were in New York City, that temporary, yeah, temporary hold. God willing the vaccines are running all around. So that’s good news. We met in New York City, we met in a little bit of an Amazon tour in New Jersey. So far, it’s been good times. So hope for more of those, but in any case, all that aside, today’s episode is gonna be all about you, the story of Ari Horwitz, so you’re gonna share with us, you know, who are you? Where are you from? Where were you born? Where did you grow up? How did you enter the, you know, the professional world? So I guess without further ado, let’s jump right into it.


Ari Horowitz 1:07

Outstanding, outstanding. Well, let’s see, if we go all the way back. I think that the way I would position myself is I’ve always been an entrepreneur, I’m at a very early age I was buying baseball cards and arbitraging them to the kids at school because I had a source to get them: my bike. So I’ve always


Yoni Mazor 1:25

Hold on, so where’d you grow up? What was your team in baseball, we’re gonna dive into all that nitty-gritty.


Ari Horowitz 1:30

I mean, I’m a Yankee fan, man. I mean, I’m a diehard Yankees, you know? Yankees, Giants. You know, Knicks, Rangers, that’s always the 


Yoni Mazor 1:39

I have a feeling you’re not born in Boston or anything.


Ari Horowitz 1:41

No, I was born in New York City. So I’m a New York City native, we spent…I grew up in a suburb of New York City, out in Connecticut, Westport, Connecticut. And went to school out there, attended the University of Pennsylvania, for college, and then, you know, basically spent the last…my whole life pretty much in New York City post my professional life in New York City. So it’s, I was an entrepreneur in high school, I was an entrepreneur in college, I had my own driveway tarring business. So I sort of put in that manual labor and realized I’d probably be better off if I tried to do something that was a little, little less strenuous. And


Yoni Mazor 2:20

So hold on. When you, let’s go back to the baseball cards for a second, before I’m going to jump into the tar. So I’m really going deep here. How old were you? What was the time? What is the context of the times? Give us a little bit of taste of that. 


Ari Horowitz 2:33

Now, I was just, you know, I think it’s an instinctual thing, right? People wanted baseball cards, and I would ride my bike downtown and buy them and sell them to the kids at school for a lot more…


Yoni Mazor 2:43

That is what? In the 90s or 2000s.


Ari Horowitz 2:45

I mean, it’s probably back in the 70s. Believe it or not.


Yoni Mazor 2:48

Back in the 70s? Good for you. Looking good. So hold on, back in the 70s, who was like the teams back then and the best teams? The Yankees?


Ari Horowitz 2:55

The Yankees man, Ron Guidry, Greg Nettles. Those are my guys, right? Like we, I still call my buddies up from those days and leave messages with their assistants that Greg Nettles is calling, they kind of know who it is. But number nine he was my guy that was my idol third base.


Yoni Mazor 3:11

So where’d did you buy the cards? Where did you I guess procure your inventory?


Ari Horowitz 3:14

I went down to, you know, the local stores downtown and bought the cards and then came back to the elementary school and sold them to the kids. Everyone else was flipping them. I was selling them.


Yoni Mazor 3:26

Yes, so you had built-in clientele when you go to school. 


Ari Horowitz 3:30

That’s right. I think I kind of got in trouble for it. Actually, at some point. The teachers were not happy that I was probably overcharging people for these cards. But look, I think it’s I think it’s a bug you get and it just caught on. I went on to…I had an SAT tutoring business when I was a little older. That was pretty good at the time. And then the driveway tarring, that we tar driveways and sealed them up so you wouldn’t have to repair them. So…


Yoni Mazor 3:51

Which area? The area you used to live in or the suburbs of New York?


Ari Horowitz 3:55

Suburbs up in Connecticut. Westport, Connecticut was where I grew up.


Yoni Mazor 3:58

Yeah. So you actually from Connecticut not, you know, technically speaking you’re in Connecticut.


Ari Horowitz 4:01

Yeah I was born in New York. I spent my childhood in Connecticut. But I’ve been back in New York long enough that I’m going to call myself a New Yorker. So that’s my story, I’m going to stick to that one. Sounds a lot cooler than Connecticut.


Yoni Mazor 4:13

Yeah, no, it’s great. It’s a tri-state area. I’m also kind of here so I feel like I live in New York even though technically I’m still in New Jersey. That’s kind of a thing, the vibe here in this area. Alright, so let’s go hone down on the year. So you go to college and…What year are you into college and you said,


Ari Horowitz 4:29

Ah so you want to put some dates around this stuff. I went to college in 1986, I graduated in 1990. I actually did a quick stint in Chicago working for Quaker Oats. That was really I’d say probably my only real job.


Yoni Mazor 4:45

So Quaker Oats. This is before the PepsiCo days. I think they owned  the Quaker Oats brand but also Gatorade was?


Ari Horowitz 4:50

I was there and actually it’s really fun to watch “The Last Dance”  because I was there in 1991 when the Bulls won the first time, that was a lot of fun. Like that was a really cool, cool experience to…


Yoni Mazor 5:00

So you used to live in Chicago for that role, for that job?


Yoni Mazor 5:03

Oh, yeah. When I moved to Chicago, I did that for a couple years. But you know, it was short-lived. I mean, I had a, you know, the bug was still there, being inside the corporation. I didn’t, I wasn’t really made for that. My first day there I wanted to see the guy that ran the company. So I tried to get a meeting with the President. And, and I got, you know, I called his office and I set one up, I kept calling his office to set one up, and then eventually my boss’s boss, his boss probably called down the line and called me into their office, like, why are you trying to set up a meeting with Phil, I said, Oh, he runs the company. I want to see what he’s all about and find out where this thing’s going.


Yoni Mazor 5:40

So what was your position there? What were you supposed to do for them or what was..? 


Ari Horowitz 5:42

I was a marketing associate.


Yoni Mazor 5:45

Got it. And so were they a public company back then? Or no?


Ari Horowitz 5:50

Yup, they were public company. They just bought Gatorade. So it was a cool time to be in Quaker Oats. Totally. Coincidentally, I mean, I had no idea what I wanted to do. But it seemed like they wanted to pay me a lot of money out of college to do it. And they came on recruiting and figured I paid for this education, I may as well go.


Yoni Mazor 6:06

So that was your first job out of college. You graduated ‘90, ‘90-’91-ish and you landed in Chicago, Quaker Oats. 


Ari Horowitz 6:12

I did. I did. I had a fun entrepreneur experience there too, which is I started riding my bike to work because the first time I ever had a suit, or  ever put a suit on. So I was riding my bike, I put on my school backpack. And as you can imagine, when you got to the office, it didn’t look great. And I tried to find something better, but I realized there wasn’t anything. And I think I spent all the money that I made at Quaker Oats developing a backpack garment bag. And I actually started, I lit up a factory locally there and I started manufacturing them and selling them to my buddies at Quaker who were also trying to bike to work. And we ended up actually starting a company after that called Energy Back Rider, which probably should have stuck with it might be a little more appropriate for the times now. But yeah, we sold 1000s of them. It was great.

Yoni Mazor 


So you did all this, you know, side to side while working for Quaker Oats?


Ari Horowitz 7:04

I did yeah, I pumped all the money I was making at Quaker Oats I pumped back into making backpack garment bags. So


Yoni Mazor 7:09

Pack, backpack garment bags. Alright. So take us through the years. You started there in 1990-91, and stayed there until which year?


Ari Horowitz 7:16

Yeah, so that was…I ended up 92. That didn’t last very long. And in 92, I came back to New York, and a buddy of mine from college, who had… who I was very close to those years at Penn, he had been selling hard drives out of his dorm room, down at Penn. And he decided that that didn’t work out, very commoditized business, tough, tough to win on. But he eventually got into the software game. And he called me up and said, Hey, I heard you coming back or you knew I was coming back. You want to help me get this software company going? And? And I said yeah, sure that sounds great. Let’s go do it. I had nothing else to do. And I said, so what do you want me to do? He said, Well, you go, you do the accounting, you go raise money. I said, Alright, well, how do I do that?


Yoni Mazor 7:57

So you Ari are gonna do the accounting and raise money? And he’s gonna make software?


Ari Horowitz 8:00

Yeah, that was my… that’s what…I was supposed to do the business development, raise money. He was writing the code. He was the techie guy.


Yoni Mazor 8:08

Sounds like Steve Jobs and Wozniak, yeah.


Ari Horowitz 8:11

Right. I like that. I’ll take that one. 


Yoni Mazor 8:14

You got it. Yeah, maybe you know, you have some…you’re sitting on a fortune that we didn’t know about calling until I don’t know, Cisco, or something. And let’s see what …


Ari Horowitz 8:22

I can pretty much I can pretty much guarantee that’s not the case. But it’s a nice thought. Maybe on this one. So yeah, it was pretty cool. We, you know, we were you know, early 90s. Right about when, you know, tech was cool to be the kid that, you know, believe it or not program the VCR the night before for their parents, right. So we were able to sort of…we were the smart guys in the room, even though we’re 21 years old. And


Yoni Mazor 8:44

So you’re saying this is 1992 93 already?


Ari Horowitz 8:47

Back in 1992. Yeah. And what’s kind of amazing is that the YardLine story actually starts then. I was sitting in an office that we had borrowed in the back of a building called, the famous building in New York City called the Gray Bar Building. It’s on top of Grand Central Terminal. And we…it was, I think three of us at that point. And we had landed a big deal with one of the…with an OEM called Digital Equipment Corporation. They’re not around anymore. They got bought by Compaq. And we need to write the code now on the deal that we oversold them on and landed.


Yoni Mazor 9:17

Give us a little bit of context with the OEM story. I’m not sure I’m familiar with that. I hear…


Ari Horowitz 9:21

Yeah. So it’s just like a white label deal. It’s the original equipment manufacturer, you would we would write code for these guys. And they would put their own name on it. And then they would sell it to their customer base. So basically just you know, writing software and selling off to these guys.


Yoni Mazor 9:36

I believe that’s kind of what Microsoft did with the operating system with IBM. IBM makes the hardware, you slap in the software and you get to go live. 


Ari Horowitz 9:43

No, that’s…it’s a Windows…that’s a brand new product that Microsoft had. We would actually be under the covers, right? So it was their product. We were the…they were the manufacturer. We were the underlying technology to it that they would bundle into their platform. We didn’t get our brand on it, but we were able to, you know, to get licensing fees for them using it within our platform.


Yoni Mazor 10:04

Yeah, I know, this was a lucrative business? What was the..?


Ari Horowitz 10:07

It seemed pretty good. I mean, we ultimately sold the company to EMC, which is a big software company up in Boston. So that was a good outcome. They paid us


Yoni Mazor 10:14

And what year? What year did you guys sell?


Ari Horowitz 10:16

We sold in 1998, actually, after I had left the company,


Yoni Mazor 10:20

So five, six years into the mix. They made an exit?


Ari Horowitz 10:23

Yeah, yeah. So um, and that happened to be one of my first exits. But the cool story there is that I’m sitting in the back of this random building. We didn’t have our name on the door, no one probably even knew we were there. We barely knew where we were. And, we were dying for software engineers. And this is before, I remember Silicon Alley, remember the phrase “Silicon Alley” in New York City with so sort of a take-off of Silicon Valley, but later in the 90s, When, when, you know, New York City became somewhat of a tech hub, I guess. But some dude came knocking on my door. And he was, you know, had the long hair, the Birkenstocks, the shorts in the middle of February, you know, right out of Central Casting looking like a guy that would write code. And he says to me, and I said, Hey, you guys looking to hire any coders? And I said, Actually, we are, first of all, how did you find us? Who are you? And what are you doing here? And he said, Well, I just moved here from Oklahoma. I just graduated from MIT. And I’m thinking I’m pretty good at writing code. I’m looking for a job here, my apartment’s across the street. And I don’t know my way around New York City. I just got here. So I picked up the phone book. And you guys are the first software company in the phonebook that starts with C. And my name is Carlos Cashman.


Yoni Mazor 11:41

So because his first initials of his first name, last name, were “C”’s, he went to the phonebook for…Yeah, the phonebook, the Yellow Pages for the letter C


Ari Horowitz 11:52

We were actually in the white pages.


Yoni Mazor 11:53

White pages, got it. What were you guys called? What was the name of the software company?


Ari Horowitz 11:57

It was called Conley Corporation, C O N L E Y.


Yoni Mazor 12:01

Conley Corporation. So Carlos comes in. Carlos from MIT. That’s brilliant, that’s unbelievable. 


Ari Horowitz 12:06

Yeah, I was…I thought I was getting punked. I didn’t, I didn’t really think that some dude from MIT saw we’re dying for software engineers, but we had to hire him on the spot. So it’s kind of funny story side note, but we didn’t have any office space for him, so we put them in a broom closet. And he was sitting there writing code on these servers that were so hot that he used to be sweating right onto the keyboards. You have to dump it out everyone somehow but we laugh about those times. But that company got sold to EMC, I actually went on to go do another business called Icon CMT, which is an internet service provider early on in that. That company eventually got public and got sold to Quest.


Yoni Mazor 12:40

Hold on, we’re scrambling things around. I want to keep track. So hold on. So 1998 you sold to EMC. But yeah, which year did you leave in?


Ari Horowitz 12:49

So I left in ‘94. I was there about two years, I left in ‘94, one of our customers was basically a sun var. And we ended up turning that into an internet service provider


Yoni Mazor 13:01

What’s that? What’s a sun var? I’m not sure.


Ari Horowitz 13:03

We would resell Sun Microsystems servers, basically.


Yoni Mazor 13:07

I got it. Okay.


Ari Horowitz 13:09

It was what powered the internet the early days. So we were right there at the beginning of that. And we were building local area networks. And we heard about this thing called the internet. And we said, well, just sounds like a big wide area network. I bet we can participate there. And so we started providing internet connectivity to our clients. And then that grew and eventually that company got public and got sold to quest and became the backbone for Quest Communications.


Yoni Mazor 13:33

Wow. Okay. So what was your role with that company? What was the company name?


Ari Horowitz 13:35

That was called Icon CMT.


Yoni Mazor 13:40

Alright, so Icon, what was your role with them?


Ari Horowitz 13:41

Same thing as Conley, I was doing business development and basically the CFO, I was raising money and trying to do deals.


Yoni Mazor 13:49

Did you bring Carlos with you? Or he stayed on the track with..?


Ari Horowitz 13:52

Carlos stayed at Conley. But then, I think it was right about the time Conley got sold. We teamed up again, and brought him into a new company, we spun out of Icon, called Grey Peak Technologies.


Yoni Mazor 14:05

Great what, sorry? Great what? Peak? PEAK?


Ari Horowitz 14:10

Grey Peak. P E A K. And we were building networks for big telecom companies. So we had built a network for ourselves, which we sold the Quest, and now we had the expertise to build these. So we set up a consulting business to do that.


Yoni Mazor 14:24

And which year was that when you guys..?


Ari Horowitz 14:25

That was 1997 we founded that company.


Yoni Mazor 14:28

Got it and what was a trajectory there?


Ari Horowitz 14:31

So we went from zero, sold that for 100 million about 18 months later.


Yoni Mazor 14:36

So this is almost a dot, you know, the dot com bubble, right?


Ari Horowitz 14:40

We were deep in the bubble at this point. Yeah. So


Yoni Mazor 14:42

So, 1999 around 2000, the year 2000?


Ari Horowitz 14:45

Yeah, we sold that in 1998. So we started in ‘97, sold at ‘98. And then we spun a product out of that which was a platform, which actually could have been Upwork or it could have been, I don’t know if you know Upwork or that company?


Yoni Mazor 15:00

Yeah. Fiverr. Upwork. Where you get, you know, freelancers.


Ari Horowitz 15:02

So we started a company in 1998, called freeagent.com, it was actually…the parent company was opus360. But the business was freeagent.com and it was all about leaving the corporate life and going off and doing your freelance gig workers, and the whole idea of, you know, going off and building your E-portfolio, which could have been LinkedIn. And you know, you think about all these things that could have been right. It’s all about execution, man. Like, the ideas are simple. It’s the execution that makes it happen. And timing.


Yoni Mazor 15:34

Execution along with yeah, timing and the network effect. Right. Yeah. So what happened with that? What was the station for that? 


Ari Horowitz 15:40

So we met,  we started in 1998. We got public in 2000.


Yoni Mazor 15:44

So you’re the founder there again?


Ari Horowitz 15:46

I was the founder there again, also, the founder and CEO. Carlos was my co-founder.


Yoni Mazor 15:50

So you and Carlos founded this. In the year 2000 it went public. On NASDAQ?


Ari Horowitz 15:55



Yoni Mazor 15:57

And take us then, what happened next?


Ari Horowitz 16:00

The bubble bursts. Yeah. And it was that it was just, you know, holding on for dear life. But we eventually got the company sold to a company that now is part of IBM. And, you know, it was, you know, it wasn’t the outcome that we’d hoped for. But it was an incredible learning experience. And yeah,


Yoni Mazor 16:17

Yeah if you guys survived, and you’re able to pass the torch and not crumble that’s, on its own that’s a major thing, because I think like 70-80% of the industry just vanished. Right? All the companies, the start-up companies and the tech companies in the year 2000, 2001 was a big big drop down in business and raising funding everything just kind of collapsed. So why do you guys sell it?


Ari Horowitz 16:39

Yeah, so I felt like Rocky, remember Rocky 1? At the en

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