15 Feb Case Study: How Home Improvement Product Company Docazoo Launched and Sold a Successful Amazon Business in Just 4 years
Whereas some successful startups are borne of necessity, others stem from the founders’ entrepreneurial vision: to find a gap in the market and create something they can quickly scale, sell, and move on from. Docazoo is a prime example of the latter.
Cade Benedict and Donald Taddia’s enduring friendship dates back to high school. After graduating, Donald became a successful serial entrepreneur and Cade began working as a consultant at McKinsey, but the pair always kept in touch over the years.
The idea of launching a business together always excited them and they began conducting thorough market research to identify the most promising opportunities. They quickly determined that the home improvement vertical had untapped potential in the cleaning and dusting space.
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Cade and Donald further refined their niche by developing a product that was differentiated from other solutions currently available on the market – the DocaPole. The DocaPole is a multi-function extra-long extension pole capable of hosting an expansive variety of dusting, mopping, and cleaning attachments.
The modular system is available in 12-ft, 24-ft, and 30-ft versions and is adaptable for nearly any home improvement application. After finding a manufacturer and finalizing the design, Cade and Donald went live on Amazon in 2017.
The 6-24’ DocaPole quickly emerged as the #1 Best Seller in its category. Several leading publications began spotlighting the company’s offerings, so they seized on the momentum to scale and expand the business. By 2020, Docazoo began selling the DocaPole and other products through Home Depot Online and eventually, inside Home Depot’s brick-and-mortar retail locations.
Docazoo Diversifies Its Product Offering
In the interim, Docazoo leveraged its robust infrastructure to launch complimentary brands in adjacent home improvement spaces. The company was able to replicate its earlier successes by launching DocaScreen, a custom insect protection screening, and DocaDisc , which manufactured metalworking disc attachments.
After experiencing several years of sustained exponential growth, during which the company doubled in size annually from 2018 to 2020, the founders recognized that all the pieces were in place to execute a lucrative strategic exit from the business.
Executing a High-Value M&A Transaction
Docazoo’s founders understood that process dictates the outcome, and in order to secure the maximum value from a sale, they would be best served by an intermediary with institutional-caliber acumen and decades of upper-market Investment Banking experience.
Bearing this in mind, Cade and Donald approached Global Wired Advisors to pursue a high-value M&A transaction on their behalf. We immediately set to work identifying an acquirer who shared their vision for Docazoo and could continue growing the business after the transaction’s close.
When I asked them what they felt were the most significant lessons they learned along the way, Cade and Donald felt there were three main areas that lead to their success.
“Don’t be myopic. View every decision through the lens of building sustainable competitive advantage.”
Since Docazoo’s inception, the founders had focused on cultivating a cohesive brand renowned for its exceptionally innovative product offering. Each item in the Docazoo catalogue blends accessible pricing with supreme quality and durability, featuring prominently in the first-page search results on Amazon.
This strategy paid dividends as it helped Docazoo achieve rapid short-term growth while substantially increasing the company’s valuation. Moreover, Docazoo was optimally poised to continue its growth trajectory across multiple sales channels, which ultimately resulted in more favorable deal terms.
“Without great execution, the best strategies are made in vain. If it’s not you, ensure someone at the top of the org chart will pursue it relentlessly.”
Intelligent implementation of high-level strategy is imperative, and it takes a village. Behind every successful business is an expert team of marketers, salespeople, customer service reps, and product development specialists. Cade and Donald believe in hiring the right person for the job, and they lead by example.
This approach empowered Docazoo to achieve phenomenal growth in just four years and laid the foundation for the company to continue expanding well into the future.
“The best partners aren’t always the biggest and most experienced. They’re often smaller and nimbler, enabling them to better adapt on-the-fly to the specific and evolving requirements of your business.”
The company also devoted considerable resources to developing mutually beneficial relationships with vendors and distribution partners. Cade and Donald endeavored to always make intelligent, informed decisions that fulfilled a need while sustaining Docazoo’s upward growth trajectory.
The Death of the Energizer Bunny and the Power of Micro Brands
Historically, impactful branding has been a core component of consumerism, as evidenced by companies like Duracell and Energizer investing heavily in campaigns engineered to boost recognition and engender loyalty. However, recent data indicates this strategy may not be as prudent as it once was.
From 2009 to 2016, Amazon Basics-branded batteries captured 30% of the battery market share – more than Duracell. The Amazon platform has proven that proximity, convenience, and accessible pricing are of the utmost importance in quickly launching and scaling successful e-commerce brands.
The lifecycle of brands is also much shorter, as evidenced by Docazoo’s meteoric rise. Cade and Donald established a clear vision and approached the business from the mindset of building for a future sale, investing in initiatives that helped the company rank well on Amazon and dominate the market.
They developed differentiated, defensible products and ensured they were in front of clients. In so doing, the company won customers over and developed a reputation as a premier home improvement brand. Most importantly, the founders were consistent in the steps they took to achieve their desired outcome.
As a case study in successful e-commerce businesses, Docazoo makes the argument for prioritizing great products that people actually need, strong partnerships, and well-established distribution channels over traditional branding campaigns. In doing so, entrepreneurs can create businesses that are primed to scale, then sell, in order to win at the business game in the 2020s.