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.
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?
Don Henig 19:43
Yeah, the dot com boom didn't bust yet, but it was about to start. So I left pretty much at a height, you know, at the height and got back into the mortgage industry when the mortgage industry was about to get cremated before a big boom and so, you know, I took it from, you know, just to a small number. And then in the bust of 2007, 8, 9, our company went out of business, we were a publicly held company, we had 7000 employees, you know, it was a very, very sad time. But I learned a very important lesson and I preached it and I live it, that when you think you have a bad day, go take care of somebody else. If something bad happened to you, go do something good for somebody else. The first thing I did was go out to our church with, you know, a bunch of money that literally the next day, you know, not that it was going to do anything for me. But, man, if you take it off yourself and go help somebody else, and with the church, it was their soup kitchen, you know, that I support very much, I and then within the following week, two weeks, I hired personally out of pocket, a team of people to work with me to place people in jobs. And we placed I think it was about 1300 people in jobs over the next, you know, week to two weeks, which was phenomenal.
Yoni Mazor 21:04
In the local community or nationwide?
Don Henig 21:07
Nationwide. Yes, it was incredible, we worked with the bank, bankruptcy court to make sure that you know, we were giving technology away and equipment away and anything we can do to get these people jobs. And it was great.
Yoni Mazor 21:21
Oh, throughout the remainder of...the remains of the public company? You're saying that was the infrastructure? I guess the assets? Yes. Wow, that's, that's a unique angle, you know, you’re a public company or whatever, you know, at the top of the game, you bust. Then you took it into, I guess philanthropy, so to speak. That's quite a pivot, unexpected, but that's a good lesson. Today, this lesson is also very important. You know, today, we're in times of crisis, you know, things are busting out there. So anybody listening to this, this is, you know, Don's advice is, you know, check, you want to understand what's going on, go try to help somebody else, you'll probably figure out a way out of it by helping somebody else.
Don Henig 22:00
Yeah, if you feel bad, put a smile on somebody else's face. I know, it sounds so stupid and basic. But man, it changes the world, that one smile may change their life, and their life is gonna change other lives. And, you know, it's the butterfly effect. You know, we all know the deal.
Yoni Mazor 22:15
But yeah, I'm sure even though...Yeah, it says it's not simple, even though it sounds simple - go help somebody else. But the effect when you see the chain reaction that happens, you know, puts perspective in life, you know? Yeah, it's just a matter of time until your things will probably get together as well. It's, that's usually the case. Yeah, not not, actually you need, it seems to me for yourself, you always need a direction, some sort of, you know, there's a bug in you that needs a direction and the direction always has to be, you know, full of aggressive growth. Yeah, it's a pattern that I can already recognize with your past experience. So what was the next bug, I guess, that comes up?
Don Henig 22:56
I took a little time off, did that retirement thing again. But then I started a business to buy and sell homes that were foreclosed, already foreclosed and empty. You know, we didn't kick anybody out of any homes or anything like that. It was a couple of times where people were in the house. And when that would happen, we would literally go to the house and give them $5,000 in cash, and tell them that, you know, here's a contract, whether you sign it or not, we're putting you into this, that you know, what we're going to do is we're going to, we've already bought the house, we're going to fix it up and we're going to sell it and it sucks. But it's going to happen one way or another. So we're putting you in for 10% of the profit, whatever the profit is, you're going to get 10% of it. And just so you know, back then you'd hear all these homes that were destroyed by people. I never had to have that experience.
Yoni Mazor 23:48
Wow-what an angle. That's unusual. I didn't expect that. Now I do see a connection, but we'll get to that. Yeah, we're trying to save the best for last. So this was what year when you started, I guess, you know, reshipping houses?
Don Henig 24:02
It was 2009, probably somewhere in that ballpark, but I didn't enjoy it. So I did 300 houses over 18 months and sold them all. Made a profit on every one of them. But I just didn't enjoy it. So I quit. I was done, sold everything, closed the business. And again, took a little bit of time off. And I remember being down on our boat at one point and telling my kids and my wife, it's time for me to go back to work. I'm going to need to go back into the mortgage industry, which I did and I helped a company...
Yoni Mazor 24:35
Don Henig 24:37
Third round. I don't think there's a fourth but I don't think so. I think I'm on my last one, man. That's it. But you know, I helped build a large national mortgage company that sold to Loan Depot which is another major firm now today. And it was a lot of fun.
Yoni Mazor 24:57
So this was what year? This is 2010? 11?
Don Henig 25:02
Yeah, maybe even later, maybe, yeah, 11-1-213, somewhere in there, I don't remember. Did that for about three or four years.
Yoni Mazor 25:12
So you joined the company, experienced growth, got sold.
Don Henig 25:16
Tremendous growth, tremendous growth. It was fantastic.
Yoni Mazor 25:19
It was definitely the use of the rebound, you know, 2007/8, that was the slump. And then we had 12 years of amazing rebound.
Don Henig 25:27
And if you think about it, all the contacts I've made through my career, and people know how I treat people, it was, I was in a unique position where we had so much volume, but no company could process it, and put the, you know, the amount of mortgages through, so I was able to go to friends in my industry, open branches just for processing and underwriting loans. That would do...we would do out of one branch two and a half-billion dollars, that there's no chance we could have done without being able to open these branches that I had all these connections for. It was just fantastic.
Yoni Mazor 26:01
That’s where the multi-layer, you know, level of connection that you made all these years paid off, where you’re able to solidify the infrastructure, and really help it scale up. Interesting.
Don Henig 26:10
Big time, big time.
Yoni Mazor 26:11
So now we're which year? 2014 - 15? And we're getting close, we’re getting warm.
Don Henig 26:18
I'm gonna give you one more thing. In between, I started an entertainment company and just made a friend. And we started an entertainment company. We did eight feature-length movies with the biggest name stars from Tom Cruise and Mark Ruffalo. And Natalie Portman, and on and on and on. And the Broadway show Rock of Ages. You know, which was a lot of fun, wasn't very profitable, but it was a lot of fun. So we did that in between. And so now after the mortgage industry, I took time off again, maybe four or so years. And just bring me to a couple of years ago now, I'm on the train coming out of New York. And I think of an old friend of mine from the mortgage industry from 30 years ago. I haven't talked to him in 20 years. Great guy, always liked him, we always got along, we haven't touched base. So I sent them a quick LinkedIn note, Hey man I hope all as well. That was it, end of the story. And he said, Oh, it's great to hear from you. Let's have lunch. We do. And we have lunch again and again and again. And we keep brainstorming new ideas. And I kept telling him, Look, I'm done. I'm not doing this anymore. I'm you know, it's enough. We came up with this idea. And we started talking about Amazon and Amazon sellers. So the next week, we sit down and I said I did all my research. And I gotta tell you, I see tons of sellers out there. Some of them do really, really well. They all pretty much do pretty well from an ROI standpoint. But the vast majority of them don't have enough money. You know, from the research that I did, I could see it. And I called a number of them as well. I said I'm talking to people, I talked to my partner Eric and said I'm calling people.
Yoni Mazor 27:59
And this person, Eric you mentioned? So he's your friend from 30 years ago, that you haven't spoken in 20 years. And now you and Eric are running a new venture on your own?
Don Henig 28:10
I know how to pick partners, you know? Wharton grad, lawyer, you know, I pick the smart guys. That’s the way to do it, man. So I come back to him and I said, you know, the sellers are getting killed here. They have these dreams of a million dollars, but they have $5,000 of capital, they're never gonna get there. So we looked at lending options. And I come back to him. I said, I did a ton of research, I looked at everything I could figure out, as far as you know what the options were. I said every single one of them the lenders does great. But the seller gets killed. I don't see how this benefits the seller in any way. Like if they're gonna make, you know, $2,000 a month on the extra money. The monthly payment might be 1800 or 1900 dollars. I don't like it. So Eric says to me, this is where it all begins, Eric says to me, Well, why don't we partner with the sellers? How do we do that? We just started talking about it. And we went in with the premise that whatever we do, it's got to be good for the seller. If it's good for the seller, then it will work for us. It's not about even our first team meeting. We said flat out anybody ever brings up “hey, you know how we could make more money?” no, that's not the way we're going to do it. We're going to do it come back to me and tell me “how does the seller make more money” then we want to talk. That's how we were going to build this business. So if we build it seller-centric, if we build it so that they can make a lot of money and grow their businesses like never before, they'll do great. That’s the plan.
Yoni Mazor 29:47
Okay, so, let's put a scenario in: I'm an Amazon seller, I do 100,000 a year revenue. Probably an FBA. This is a, I want to say, typical seller, but, you know, a lot of sellers are in this domain in this range. So what do you guys want from me? How do...as a seller, how do you guys help me at all?
Don Henig 30:07
So I'll break it down to like a monthly number. Just keep it simple. Let's say you're doing about $10,000 a month. Alright? The 100,000 a year close enough. So what we'll do is we'll double that seller's capital. So the sellers got $10,000 in inventory, or, you know, plus Amazon receivables, we'll give them another 10,000. So now they have 20 grand. Now, you know, whatever their ROI is they're going to earn, we ask for a percentage of that we get a percentage of the profits. So there's no...
Yoni Mazor 30:39
So the profit and profit only? No equity? There's no ownership in the brand? If I’m a private label seller, you know, you guys basically just want to fuel the aspect of growth, and hopefully, actually not hopefully, directly focusing on the growth of profit.
Don Henig 30:55
Exactly. 100%. You know, we don't care if you do, you know, you're doing $10,000 a month now, we'd love for you to do 50,000. But if you don't decide to get there, as long as you make a lot of money, you're gonna do well, we're gonna do well. So we want to do anything we can to help you make more money, end of story. And really to help you grow your business as well. You mentioned private label, initially, we only dealt with wholesale sellers, alright?
Yoni Mazor 31:19
Meaning resellers. Right?
Don Henig 31:20
Yeah. wholesale/resale. Exactly.
Yoni Mazor 31:22
Like rarbridge, what we call in the street, in the Amazon street, arbitrage sellers/the resellers meaning, you know, if you're able to source Nike, put it on Amazon, you know, turn it for a quick profit. That's the...that was the first, I guess, Amazon sellers, you guys invested in?
Don Henig 31:40
Not really the arbitrage guys, but the wholesale sellers that will go out to suppliers that you know, represent, you know, the water bottles, and they'll get a good deal on water bottles, and they'll you know, all legit, and they post it on Amazon and they make a nice profit.
Yoni Mazor 31:57
Okay, so authorized resellers, not the arbitrage, third party, non-authorized. Got it. Okay.
Don Henig 32:04
Right, that was our, the initial way we got in. And recently, we started talking to some of the very large private label guys, and what they love more than anything, they love there are no payments involved. There's no personal guarantee, you know? We're not putting them through the wringer; it is completely a business deal. And we just take a percentage of the profits. So it all comes down to you know, they can't lose, they just can't lose. And then, you know, they're all looking to sell their business in the next year, two years, three years, four years. Well, the idea is, if we can double your capital, can you grow your business bigger? Of course, these guys all can. They have multiple products, and I have one guy that is coming out with new products right now every 10 days. And he wants us to back them, which we will. So think about it, now they go to sell that business, and they go from a million dollars to $5 million. Their multiple, as you know, is gonna...
Yoni Mazor 32:59
Are you talking about profit or are you talking about revenue?
Don Henig 33:03
Well, good question. Really, like...
Yoni Mazor 33:05
Do multiples get affected, by the EBITDA? Right? So it bounces from 1 million to 5 million, you guys made them 25 million, because if...not 25 million, but let's say it's a 3x, you made them 50 million.
Don Henig 33:17
That's right. And what do we get? We get our initial investment plus our accrued profits, you keep all the upside. It’s a home run. So you know, there's only one way a seller can lose. And it's, you know, it's important to know that if they take our money, and they put it in the bank, and they don't have any product to buy, then they're paying us for no reason.
Yoni Mazor 33:40
They're paying for storage, they’re storing the money in the bank, they pay for storage.
Don Henig 33:43
Not what we want them to do. So we always encourage them, take less, take less, take less. There’s more here, we'll give you more. You know, so take less, we have a... we're backed by a hedge fund, we have $100 million behind us, and we want to get it out.
Yoni Mazor 33:57
Got it. And this is, I guess, you guys came to this epiphany, what a year or two ago?
Don Henig 34:02
Yeah, a little over a year, yeah, about a year and a half ago. And then you know, we started, you know, working through all the processes that are needed, building technology, all that, and then we put on some accounts just to test it out. You know, we had no technology. Just to see you know, if everything that we think will happen will happen. And we learned a lot and every one of our sellers have done very well. One kind of just did okay, but she, you know, she's not an Amazon seller. She's gone. But everybody else is doing great.
Yoni Mazor 34:35
Got it, so where are you guys now in terms of position and I guess the next question will be where do you guys want to be in three to five years? Especially you because of the tendency you know, you guys right now you guys are almost at the baseline. But I do feel for some reason, there's gonna be some exponential growth coming in soon. So…
Don Henig 34:55
It’s gonna be crazy, man. It's gonna be crazy. Once people know about this, and that's the problem people don't know about yet. It's all about awareness. I'll give you an example. We're doing some Google search words right now. We're, you know, doing some...building a funnel, if you will, right? So, today, two calls come in. And we have dozens today. So you know, the word is starting to get out. But two calls back to back. One guy who just wanted to know what our rate was, we don't have an interest rate. And he couldn't get over...he was, but I just want a loan. We don't do loans. And we tried to explain it, he couldn't get it. This literally, the very next call, another guy, he asked the exact same question. So there's probably something wrong with the way that we're wording it. But he asked the same question, what's your rate? And my partner, Sam said, we don't have a rate, we make an investment. He goes, well let me understand this. And he asked him a couple of questions. And the guy said, and we hear this all the time, this is brilliant. I don't have any more questions. I want to go forward with it. We hear it all the time. People say to us, how did you come up with this? This is incredible. So they love it.
Yoni Mazor 36:02
Nice. But in three to five years, where do you guys want to be? Right now, you said, you know, I guess the foundations are, there's $100 million available, you know, of capital to be invested into the growth of sellers out there. I guess the mission is to get it all in the market within the next few weeks, the next few years? What's the plan right now? Strategic if you, you know, if all your wishes can come true, what will be the turn of events?
Don Henig 36:29
We would love to get $100 million out in the next year. If it happens sooner? Terrific. But in the next year would be great.
Yoni Mazor 36:35
That's like 8-9 million dollars a month in investing. It's pretty aggressive.
Don Henig 36:39
I don’t think it’s that bad. If you think about how many sellers there are and how many of them are trying to grow.
Yoni Mazor 36:45
Oh, yeah, there are definitely enough sellers out there. In terms of you guys building the capacity, and the skill to sign all these deals, you know, it almost takes me back to the days of the mortgage when you said you only had one branch and you were doing 2 billion a year. That's aggressive processing operations, to lock in these deals in a firm way, where it makes sense and you guys are ready to cruise on such a scale on so many deals, so many levels. And it's, you know, every deal is a person in the world and there's complexities. So you're saying within a year, but all that 100 million in there, that’s wow...
Don Henig 37:16
That would be ideal, that would be ideal, yeah.
Yoni Mazor 37:18
Yeah, got it.
Don Henig 37:20
If it happens within a year and a half, we'd live with that.
Yoni Mazor 37:22
And that will be the next step, let's say a year from now, even let's say, you gotta slow down. So you're now for two years, it's on the market, what's the next step? You're gonna bring another 100 million or another billion?
Don Henig 37:31
Oh, yeah, the 100 million we’ll roll. So you know, remember, we come from the asset back world, so the mortgage world, so you know, we're creating assets with this. So we believe that these assets are saleable, as overall,
Yoni Mazor 37:46
As a portfolio?
Don Henig 37:47
As a portfolio. So we take 100 million, and just keep turning it and keep turning. It's almost like a bank loan, but it's not. And it's a lot of money in asset securitizations.
Yoni Mazor 37:57
Got it. And then five years from now, where do you see yourself? Still in this Amazon game, the e-commerce game, where it's already cruising on your private jet between the, you know, continents of the world and looking for the next, you know, opportunity on a global level?
Don Henig 38:12
You know, I don't know if I'm gonna be doing any more opportunities after this. I think this is...
Yoni Mazor 38:16
I wish I had your wife here, and she would have vowed how many times she heard that.
Don Henig 38:21
True, that is true. There's no question about that. But you know, you know, you brought up something earlier about having, you didn't use these terms, but having the piss and vinegar in your veins, you know, really going for it, and you really have to go for it. And the one thing that you need, and I guarantee you, you have it - is a dream, you have to have a purpose, right? So, you know, I've made a good amount of money. I don't need to do this right now, which is a great position to be in. So you have to have a dream, you have to have a purpose. So I have some purposes, you know, like I, yeah, I want to have a little bit more and all of that, and maybe a little bit of a bigger boat and a couple of other nice things, but nothing crazy. But truthfully, you know, I have this little passion for trying to help people with human trafficking. I think it's just the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in my life.
Yoni Mazor 39:15
And it's funny, you mentioned that too. You're aware of the operation underground railroad?
Don Henig 39:19
Well, the old one, but no, not today.
Yoni Mazor 39:22
Not talking about the 1800s. No, so it's okay, let's I guess it's a good opportunity to bring this up. So actually GETIDA is a proud sponsor of its called Days of Nuggets. Look it up on Google, or 12 Days of Nuggets. It actually happened last year with Mike Zagare, actually, he attended one of the episodes of the show, Mike Zagare. He's the founder of Days of Nuggets. Essentially, what he did was he brought in all the influencers and the thought leaders of the industry, the Amazon seller industry, and they all bought their nuggets or tips. This was for 12 days every day, for influencers, bringing all their tips and how to you know, you know how to do well on Amazon. And in order to, you know, whoever sees these tips and nuggets can donate and when they donate the money, the funds go to Operation Underground Railroad. This organization essentially what they do they try to eliminate child slavery. So the organization is made from ex FBI agents, CIA agents, stuff like that. So what they do, they go around the world and try to basically bring kids back home, you know, for child slavery. It was shockingly, was the moment we discovered there's no millions a year, millions of kids are usually being trafficked like that, you know, we donate to the cause. And we became one of the main sponsors there. And yeah, so look it up. If you and your partner in your, I guess the sellers that will come forward, the Amazon sellers, if you guys ever want to do something for good for the world, humanity, but also in the angle of Amazon, I highly recommend, you know, 12 Days of Nuggets, look it up. Anybody listening also, it's a good opportunity. Right? Okay, Don, so I guess we were coming closer towards the end, your story has been, I don't have the right words for it. But for lack of a better word is fascinating. It's fast, it's upbeat, it's, it's cutting edge. And I want you to end up with a message of resilience, you know, you have a lot of points of resilience that I already know, we can all learn from your background. But, you know, these are not simple times, I guess, you know, challenging times on a real global level, not just locally here in the US or anything like that. What would be your message of resilience to people listening out there?
Don Henig 41:45
You know, similar to what I said earlier about trying to make somebody smile every day, you know? If you're going to the gym, when the gyms reopened, you know, go with the purpose of, you know, getting somebody to smile and, and really, it's just passing that love along to as many people as you can. And then from a business standpoint, I would say there's a great book, oh boy by Gary….called “The One Thing”, and it's just a great focal point, focus point. So focus on one thing, get this one thing right, do this one thing this morning, what's the most important thing for you to do this morning? Do that one thing. What's the most important thing for you to do this hour? Do that one thing. And then just keep doing the one thing and it'll keep you focused and keep you moving along. You don't have to hit those big numbers, you just have to hit number one. And then hit number one again, and then hit number one again. And before you know what the big number is there, you don't have to count it, you know? So those would be my quick thoughts.
Yoni Mazor 42:48
Nice. That's a nice touch. And the reason it's a nice touch because I guess, it portrays what we tried to do with this episode, we tried to take it one point at a time with your journey. So I guess it's a nice closure to have where this is, I guess the method that we use to break down your story and in you know, for you to share your experience with us. And you circle back into a nice closure saying take this forward, take it whenever you can, on the business level on the personal level, just try to help others, you can never go wrong. Alright, Don, thank you so much for your time and sharing your story, we look forward to seeing how this AccrueMe, you know, your current venture grows, and really helps the sellers community out there. I wish you and them much success. as we'd like to say in our industry, we hope you’ll crush it.
Don Henig 43:34
Yeah, I like it. And same with GETIDA. Because I love your model. I love your model. I really do, it's fantastic.
Yoni Mazor 43:40
Thank you so much. We share the same value. This value is really how do we help others? If we focus a lot on that, it's a selfish act by focusing on others, it's very selfish, but it's a great synergy. And, you know, it really does...you can't go wrong. There's no harm in that. And it really resonates with the butterfly effect that you mentioned earlier. All right, guys. This is it for this episode. Thanks again. Stay safe, stay healthy. Take care, everybody. Bye Bye.