Morning Report

What you need to know one minute before daylight

Going Public Made Easy and Sierra Nevada Buys Sufferfest Beer

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Good Wednesday Morning,

DAYLIGHT  

The SEC wants to make it easier for companies to explore going public: “The 2012 JOBS Act allowed small companies to talk to investors before beginning that process, a provision that would be expanded to all companies—including investment firms—if Tuesday’s proposal is completed.

“Making it easier and more appealing for companies to go public has been a central goal of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. The number of public companies has fallen by nearly 50 percent since the late 1990s. Several startups valued at above $1 billion, including Uber and Airbnb, have held off on going public, though there are signs that some of those companies might make the move in 2019.”

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

In New York City, the impact of Amazon’s canceled deal on local businesses is just beginning to register: “Elijah Kliger, the founder and CEO of InstaVet, chose Long Island City to build his company’s first brick-and-mortar animal hospital before Amazon announced its pick for its HQ2. Upon learning of the new headquarters, he opted to lease twice the square footage. Now he’s locked into a 12-year lease for a space he’s no longer sure he can afford.

“’Initially, we had budgeted to hire about 25 to 30 people,’ says Kliger, noting that the plan was to offer a 24-hour service. To make ends meet now, he is cutting down the hours his facility will be openand that means fewer jobs. ‘Now we are [hiring] about 10 to 15,’ he says. ‘We are going to do what we can to keep our heads up.’”

ZACK ELLER’S DEAL OF THE DAY

Caitlin Landesberg, CEO of Sufferfest Beer Co., has decided to sell the craft beer company she launched in 2016 to Sierra Nevada, the nation’s third-largest craft brewery. Based in San Francisco, Sufferfest is sold in Colorado, Oregon and Washington and posted around $4 million in revenue last year. So why sell? “Sierra Nevada ‘is an operational powerhouse that will allow us to keep innovating and meeting the demand for our tribe of customers,’ Landesberg said. ‘We’ll be able to take off right away, and since they already have the distribution and expansion infrastructure, they’ll help us think thoughtfully about where the best places for us are, not just what we can get by with and afford.”

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STARTUPS

Grailed, a second-hand men’s fashion marketplace, has thrived in the shadow of eBay, says CEO and co-founder Arun Gupta, by organizing the goods into a brand hierarchy and ferreting out counterfeits: “We have some pretty sophisticated fraud algorithms,” Gupta told the Washington Post. “We do a pretty good job reducing the amount of fakes that are there. We have a team of part-time moderators in different time zones who are combing through every listing. Every new item gets approved by them. So they’re like, ‘Hey, send me a photo of the backstitching of this thing or send me a photo of the tags.’”

Gupta said brands used to get angry about seeing their goods wind up on the second-hand site, but not anymore: “Now it’s like we just have so many consumers who are in their teens to early 20s getting into clothes and getting into fashion. I think brands recognize that we’re a gateway.”

What began as an “online craft fair” for Iowa artisans has been transformed into an e-commerce platform for mom-and-pop businesses of all types. Shop Where I Live currently operates in three regions in Iowa and Nebraska with plans to expand to 120 communities in five years, partnering with each area’s chamber of commerce, one by one.

“‘It’s a one-stop shop making it easier to find local businesses and buy from them,’ Cherie Edilson said. ‘You can discover what a new business makes or what special services it has.’ With the revamped platform, service providers such as web developers and photographers experience the same e-commerce functionality as the original marketplace, with options for listing their services and providing examples of their work. Instead of a shopping cart, [businesses] can opt for a ‘send inquiry’ button to promote lead generation.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Instagram is getting into the non-profit game. The picture-sharing social network has a donation sticker allowing users to search for causes and organizations to contribute to and add the button to their stories so followers can participate:  “Such a tool would certainly be a redeeming feature for Instagram, which has of late been plagued with headlines surrounding bullying, political propaganda and dangerous influenceand it’s got a lot of development potential.”

OBITUARY

“I love when people say horrible things because it gives me the freedom to be worse.” Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died at 85 yesterday. His claim to fame was reinvigorating the Chanel brand in the 80s, but his career all started when he won a coat design contest in 1954. The man knew how to brand himself as well since he “was rarely seen without his dark glasses, a silver ponytail and fingerless glovesgaining him the reputation as the most recognizable man in fashion, and one of its most outspoken…Not only did his designs turn [Chanel] into one of the world’s most valuable couture houses, but Lagerfeld’s business savvy made him an early proponent of the now ubiquitous luxury collaborations with high street brands.”

SPOTLIGHT

Check out Cliff Oxford’s podcast with Jerry Wootten, CEO of HomeTex, who shares his remarkable story on how he started out selling concert t-shirts and now has over one million sq. feet of manufacturing space.

FEEDBACK

We got a response from Larry Stevens to Cliff Oxford’s Take from yesterday regarding the bank freezing a company’s credit line: “This is a good story for a business case in working with companies in dealing with lenders and in fixing business issues before they become a crisis.  As a matter of fact, you should develop a series of business cases from all the war stories that Cliff has.”

Millennial Matt now has some options on the best chicken spots in Atlanta for the next time he visits. The first comes from a friend of the Oxford Center, Mark Goldman: “Best chicken in The ATL, by far…Gio’s off Hemphill and part of the Antico Pizza group. Nothing close.” Chris Dardaman says to unbuckle the belt a notch or two if you go to Tupelo Honey Cafe.

From Howard Benson: “Try Gus’s Hot Chicken in Chamblee, it’s great! Also, the Collonade on Cheshire Bridge Rd. has long been known for its awesome Southern fried chicken, plus all the other comfort food. Oh, and they have a full bar.” Howard, mentioning a full bar at the end of the pitch is a perfect selling point. The Collonade it is!

And that’s what’s ahead.

Please send comments and suggestions to mattg@oxfordcenter.com and lfeldman@oxfordcenter.com.

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