Business Breakdowns

Business Breakdowns

Business Breakdowns is a series of conversations with investors and operators diving deep into a single business. For each business, we explore its history, its business model, its competitive advantages, and what makes it tick. Learn more and stay up to date at www.joincolossus.com

Episodes

January 19, 2022 53 min

This is Jesse Pujji, and today we’re breaking down Peloton. Peloton was founded over ten years ago with the idea of making the best in-person gym classes available at home. By delivering eye-catching hardware and compelling content, it has since become the largest interactive fitness platform in the world with over 6 million members. Peloton’s rise has not been without challenges, however, and the business’s economic model is under...

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This is Jesse Pujji and today we are breaking down the emerging industry of cannabis. After spending decades as an illegal drug, US states have begun to make regulatory changes and build legalized marijuana marketplaces. To help me break down this market, I am joined by Jeff Hoffman of Marathon Partners Equity Management. Jeff is co-portfolio manager of a fund, which invests in US public cannabis companies. We discuss exactly what ...

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Today’s episode is part business breakdown and part biology breakdown as we explore Finch Therapeutics and their novel work on the microbiome, which plays a crucial role in regulating our immune system.

 

To help break down these topics, I’m joined by Mark Smith, co-founder and CEO of Finch Therapeutics. Mark is a leader in the microbiome field and the perfect person to cross the bridge between business and science.

 

As Mark outli...

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Today, we’ll be breaking down the London Stock Exchange, now referred to as LSEG. LSEG is a nearly £40 billion market cap business that plays an integral role in the infrastructure of the world’s financial markets. Since 2000, there have been at least 11 attempts at mergers and takeovers of the business by other exchanges and banks. The company itself made a notable acquisition when it closed on its M&A of Refinitiv from Blacks...

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Today, we are breaking down The National Football League or, as most know it, The NFL. It’s a sport that dominates American Sundays from late summer into early winter. Behind what happens on the field is a $15 billion dollar business with a unique operating and ownership structure and many stakeholders. 

 

To help break down the NFL, Jesse Pujji is joined by Jay Kapoor. Jay is currently General Partner of venture fund VSC Ventures,...

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I’m Zack Fuss and today we’re breaking down NextEra Energy. NextEra is America’s most valuable energy firm and consists primarily of two businesses; a high-quality regulated utility and a renewables business that is the world’s largest generator of wind and solar energy.

To help break down the business, I’m joined by Mark Tomasovic, an investor at Energize VC. In our conversation, we discuss the structure of the energy market, what...

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Today, we’re breaking down Novocure, a global oncology company that has pioneered a new approach to cancer treatment. For over 100 years, the tools used to fight cancer have largely remained unchanged, but there are promising signs of a renaissance and Novocure is at the vanguard of that charge.

 

To explain the state of cancer research and how the business has developed over the past twenty years, I’m joined by Bill Doyle – Novocu...

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I’m Zack Fuss, and today we’re breaking down AutoZone, the leading retailer and distributor of auto parts in the Americas. From the outside, AutoZone might look like a dull business in a mature industry, but once you dive into the details, you quickly realize it’s a hidden gem that echoes the best of Walmart and Costco, earns some of the highest returns on capital in retail, and has a long history of outsized shareholder returns.

 

...

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I’m Jesse Pujji and this is Business Breakdowns. Today we are doing a different kind of breakdown.  We are covering an entire category, Amazon Aggregators. These are the companies that are buying up hundreds of Amazon’s third-party sellers. The concept of Amazon Aggregators is relatively new, tracing back to 2018 with the founding of Thrasio, but the ecosystem is already huge and growing. Most recent numbers peg it at around $300bn...

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Today, we’re breaking down HelloFresh. HelloFresh delivers weekly meal kits to people’s homes. With eight million active customers, the Berlin-based business is the most popular company of its kind in the world.

 

To break down HelloFresh, I’m joined by its CEO and co-founder, Dominik Richter. We discuss the challenges of scaling an operationally intensive business, why HelloFresh is more like CPG companies than grocery stores, and...

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I’m Jesse Pujji and today we’re breaking down MongoDB. The MongoDB story traces back to 2007 when the founding team was running DoubleClick, a large adtech business now owned by Google. They could not find an existing database software with the agility and scalability that the internet requires. Today, MongoDB has over 25,000 customers across 100 countries. 

 

To help break down Mongo, I'm joined by Ro Nagpal, an investor at Ho...

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Today we’re breaking down Universal Music Group. As one of the largest music businesses in the world, UMG is home to many of the world’s greatest artists, including Taylor Swift, U2, and The Beatles catalog. A discussion on UMG requires a deep dive into the history of music itself, how it was historically monetized, the shift from physical to digital, and what streaming has meant for the various pieces of the ecosystem.

Our guest, ...

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Today, we’re breaking down Uber. Despite a corporate history that spans just over a decade, the ink spilled on Uber could have its own wing in a library. So rather than record with our typical Breakdown format, we decided to host two portfolio managers and familiar guests on the podcast, Mario Cibelli, and Ram Parameswaran, to walk through their bull cases on Uber stock.

 

Uber is the case study for network effects in two-sided mar...

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Today, we are breaking down John Deere. With a history dating back almost two centuries, Deere has been a mainstay in the agriculture industry for generations. And despite its rich history as an incumbent, Deere is also on the leading edge of technology and innovation in ag-tech. To help break down John Deere, Zack Fuss is joined by Matt Coutts. Matt comes from a multi-generation family of farmers, and brings a unique ability to co...

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Today, we are breaking down the cloud and SaaS trailblazer, Salesforce. Founded by Marc Benioff in 1999, Salesforce has grown rapidly to become the global leader in the $100 billion CRM market. The business has 150,000 customers, including 90% of the Fortune 500, and is currently valued north of $270 billion.

To break down Salesforce, Patrick O’Shaughnessy is joined by Matt Garratt, general partner at VC firm CRV and former head of...

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Today, we are breaking down Solana. Founded in 2017 by an ex-wireless engineer from Qualcomm, Solana is a layer one blockchain like Bitcoin and Ethereum that has been built to process transactions as quickly and cheaply as possible. Where Bitcoin can process about ten transactions per second and Ethereum around 30, Solana can handle over 60,000 transactions per second, and it can do so at a fraction of the cost. Unsurprisingly, Sol...

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Today, we are breaking down Taboola, a company you may not know but one you’ve definitely seen. When you read articles on CNBC, Bloomberg, or the Independent, Taboola powers the sidebar and banner recommendations for what you should read next.

 

The company works with publishers and advertisers to help readers discover what’s new and interesting. Founded in 2007, Taboola recently went public and is now the leading recommendation en...

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Today, we are breaking down Sky Mavis, the company behind the NFT-based game, Axie Infinity. Built by a team with a long history in gaming, Axie Infinity was launched in 2018 with the idea that a blockchain-based “play-to-earn” model could create more aligned incentives between game creators and game players long-term.

 

Axie is one of the most incredible examples of speed-to-scale I’ve seen, with the game reporting $100,000 of rev...

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Today, we will be breaking down Datadog. If you've ever used Control-Alt-Delete to force quit a frozen application - you've experienced the Activity Monitor on your own computer. Datadog is that Activity Monitor for all of a business’s systems across its apps, tools, databases, and servers. It is a SaaS-based monitoring platform that gives enterprise IT teams real-time visibility into the performance of their entire softwar...

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Today, we will break down Wyndham Hotels, the world’s largest and most diverse hotel franchisor with more than 9,000 hotels across 20 brands in over 80 countries.

 

Wyndham is a brilliant example of a ubiquitous business that often goes unnoticed. In this breakdown, we’ll start by looking at just how vast Wyndham’s portfolio of hotels and brands is, how the Highway Act of 1956 played an important role in developing that scale, and ...

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