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

November 24, 2021 56 min

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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Today, we will be breaking down SmileDirectClub, the oral care company known for its affordable clear aligner treatment. SmileDirectClub was founded in 2014 as a direct-to-consumer alternative to metal braces. It has since expanded to serve over 1 million customers in both the US and abroad.

 

To help break down the business, host Jesse Pujji is joined by current CFO Kyle Wailes.

 

In this breakdown, we discuss how SmileDirectClub...

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Today, we will break down Dexcom. Founded in 1999, Dexcom makes best-in-class continuous glucose monitors to help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels. With close ties to growing obesity rates, the diabetes market is big, expensive, and expanding. In the US alone, one-third of Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic, and the cost of treating diabetes is expected to double over the next decade.

 

To break down Dexcom, Zack Fuss ...

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Today, we will be breaking down ZoomInfo. Founded as DiscoverOrg in 2007, ZoomInfo is a go-to-market software & data solution for B2B sales. When a sales rep gains access to ZoomInfo, they gain access to a database with over 130 million contacts. The ZoomInfo platform assists in finding potential customers, contacting those potential customers, and refining each phase of the workflow.

 

To help break down ZoomInfo, host Jesse ...

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Today, we will be diving into Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative asset manager. Founded in 1985 as a boutique M&A advisory business with $400,000 of seed capital. The firm now manages over $600 billion across private equity, real estate, credit, and hedge fund strategies. In this breakdown, we will start by discussing Blackstone’s business model and how it has taken advantage of a structural tailwind in the form of low...

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Today, we will be covering the endlessly fascinating market of Space. While we typically focus on an individual company for Business Breakdowns, we thought an industry primer was the best approach for this expanding market. With Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos directing so much energy to the promise of space, it is impossible not to dream about what lies ahead. To cover this endless topic, I’ll be joined by a previous guest, Tren Griffin...

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Today, we will be breaking down pet care giant, Petco. Founded in 1965 as a mail-order business, Petco has evolved into a one-stop-shop pet care solution across its nearly 1,500 locations.

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To help break down Petco, I am joined by Greg Kamstra, current CEO of pet care provider, Riverdog and former private equity investor. We will discuss how Petco evolved into its current big-box model, how pet care store economics differ from gro...

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Today, we will be diving into Cardlytics. Founded in 2008, Cardlytics operates as an advertising platform integrated with the digital channels of banks. It allows advertisers to identify potential customers from their spending habits and reach those customers directly within their mobile banking applications. Today, Cardlytics is one of the largest digital ad platforms, seeing data on 50% of every card swipe in the US.

 

To help br...

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