What are Some Non-Sexy but Profitable Ecommerce Businesses?

What are Some Non-Sexy but Profitable Ecommerce Businesses?

Question:

Our first question comes from our/entrepreneur and this user asked What’s a good example of a non-sexy but surprisingly profitable business venture?

Answer:

John: Twilio, well Twilio is probably than unsexiest business and, you know, publicly traded billion plus dollar valuation, so for those who don’t know of Twilio, it’s just basically an A.P.I. service for developers to build S.M.S. messages, I mean how boring is that, you know, but one of the best software services businesses built in a long time. What else?

Blake:  Look at like SendGrid? 

John: Yeah, SendGrid.

Blake: Companies like SendGrid or Postmark that are mail services that developers tie into that are intently profitable and growing hugely, but they’re not really…like you’re not going to go read up on postmark or SendGrid or that sort of thing 

John: and neither of those are very sexy and you take like the e-commerce businesses as well if you find ‘Hey I want to go sell athletic shoes online’, Well good luck, that’s pretty sexy but you’re competing against Nike or Zappos and a hundred others. I mean find something in the e-commerce space that is overlooked and not sexy. A couple people that we’ve talked to…I mean two good examples, people I know in this e-commerce forum I was at in both New York and in San Francisco and you will get Care/of. Craig used to be with Bonobos and now he does these vitamin packs, that’s pretty…that’s not really super sexy but it’s doing extremely well, they raised a lot of venture capital and have a good success and the pill pack, even on a larger scale, I mean how boring is that, you take a bunch of seniors who take a bunch of medicines and you give them daily packs of pills, again not sexy, but highly, highly profitable and fast-growing businesses.

John Max: Yeah I mean I think that to cap the answer off, I mean, the majority, especially since the internet, like a lot of people view entrepreneurs, especially tech entrepreneurs, as some sort of like, rock stars like you look at Elon Musk, look at Snapchat founder Mark Zuckerberg… Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg but you look at all these founders and they’re billionaires, but the majority of wealthy people have created things and you will never know who they are, you will never know what they did, they created a solution and they found a need that has been out of service and gone after that and if you’re looking for a need look in…look in the old, stale industries that are ripe for innovation and you’re going to find much larger ideas with a lot less competition.

Written by
John James, M.D. is the CEO of Engine, a modern cloud-hosted ecommerce platform. I paid for medical school with an ecommerce business I founded in my dorm room over twenty years ago, and eventually raised over $100 million in venture capital running Acumen Brands. Email me -- john at enginecommerce dot com.