Mainfactor CEO Mike Fiebach is sitting at the helm of his second startup, an ecommerce company that consolidates brands, in a pandemic-tinged world that accelerated the industry.
The company quietly grew last year, launching a few months after Fiebach left his first company, Fame House, a global ecommerce and digital marketing services center that was bought by SFX Entertainment, then Universal Music Group. There, they combined ecommerce and digital marketing, serving the music industry. But after about a decade working on the company, he was ready for the next thing, Fiebach told Techncial.ly.
He linked up with Meredith Franzese, who he’d worked with at SFX, and Jamie Ross, who brought experience with Shopify via consulting. The trio launched Mainfactor, which purchases small and mid-sized businesses in the clothing, cosmetic and fitness space that sell through Canadian ecommerce platform Shopify.
While ecommerce exploded in 2020, the company focuses outside of the traditional realm of platform building or B2C services, instead acquiring these companies. They help the businesses, which might be too small to gain attention or traction on their own when competing with the likes of Amazon, grow through digital marketing and influencing, sometimes bringing on their team members to the company.
“We thought that was where the unique opportunity was,” Fiebach said. “There’s a lot of ecommerce services, and we’re still managing some ecommerce companies for clients, but the unique opportunities came from buying and owning businesses in the space.”
The team recently raised $69 million in a mix of seed equity capital and a credit facility led by Upper90. It was the first time Fiebach had gone the VC route, as he had bootstrapped his former company. The process is almost a full-time job in itself, he said. But the team felt lucky to end up with their lead investor that he called forward thinking and innovative.
As a born-and-raised Philadelphian — Society Hill, to be specific — it was important to Fiebach to build and grow another company here, he said. The 16-person team, although fully remote, is based in Philadelphia, with about half of its employees here. When they open an office some time in 2022, the city is where they’ll focus their growth, Fiebach said.
The majority of the funding and focus for the rest of the year will go toward completing deals they have in-progress for online retailers. Early next year, they’ll likely grow their team and look for office space for some hybrid work.
As a second-time founder, Fiebach said he’s applying lessons learned early on with his first company, including prioritizing his own health, rest and family time, and ensuring that work-life balance for employees. And this time around, he knows he and his team will be more selective with their energy and resources.
“I learned the first time that there were opportunities that probably existed that I didn’t know about, and ones I probably didn’t need to worry about,” he said. “When you’re young, it’s easy to chase every single opportunity. Now it’s about finding the ones that are worthwhile, we’re not trying to boil an ocean.”-30-