Nearly 40 private-equity leaders and investment bankers gathered Oct 2-4, 2022, in Bozeman, Montana, for an invite-only conference that centered around identifying high-potential investments in the ecommerce space.
The event, titled, Mountains, Capital, and Commerce delivered participants concrete tools to manage value creation and create successful exits for ecommerce business investments.It also left ample time for networking with a full slate of “choose your own adventure” recreation activities including mountain biking, fly fishing, hiking and a brewery tour, as well as a private dinner and whiskey tasting at a Montana ranch.
The event was presented by Tadpull, a company that helps ecommerce brands use data science principles to grow and produce predictable results for private equity investors, and BigCommerce, a leading open ecommerce platform for fast-growing and established B2C and B2B brands. Additional event sponsors included Canaccord Genuity, ZaneRay Group, Klaviyo, and Bolt.
The intimate event came at a time when ecommerce opportunities show no sign of slowing down, despite economic headwinds hitting other industries.
“A boutique-style event provides a great environment for learning,” said event participant and presenter Lexia Schwartz, managing director of Canaccord Genuity. “You will actually remember the people that you met at this event. The caliber of the folks that are here, and what they're able to educate us on is really, really important and impressive.”
Recent data from the Federal Reserve shows ecommerce continuing its post-pandemic growth of 7 percent year over year. During the past 20 years, the ecommerce space has experienced positive growth across almost every recession.
"We're still in the early innings of ecommerce and much of the private equity playbook is being written as we speak,” said co-founder and CEO of Tadpull Jake Cook. “While the opportunity for investors and companies is enormous, in order for them to achieve great returns they must be able to harness a variety of datasets and execute flawlessly, especially in light of increasing competition. Tadpull is honored to help host these types of conversations so investors can hit it out of the park."
The conference topics and presenters were specifically curated for the audience. Prior to the conference, attendees took a survey, sharing what they hoped to take away from the event.
- 75 percent of respondents were interested in benchmarks for top-performing digital properties.
- 61 percent were interested in frameworks for creating digital business flywheels.
- 52 percent were interested in CEO perspectives for successful partnerships and ecommerce technology stacks for lowering costs.
Given this feedback, the conference opened with a keynote address by world-renowned marketing leader, Dr. Peter Fader of The Wharton School and co-founder of Theta, a leading predictive customer-value analytics company. Fader shared insights from his recent research that focuses on the use of customer behavioral data to drive more accurate company valuations.
This emerging–but widely recognized–modeling approach, called Customer Based Corporate Valuation (CBCV), is the process of valuing a company by forecasting customer acquisition, retention, repeat purchasing and spending in conjunction with traditional financial data.
Fader shared how the CBCV model enables private-equity firms to leverage deeper customer insights to better identify sources of value through every stage of the investment process.
"At Theta, we've honed a variety of analytical methods that can help investors make tough decisions on where to deploy capital by shedding light on inherent risks to growth and illuminating opportunities to create value,'' Fader said at the conference. "Having partners like Tadpull who can help companies act on these findings for value creation in ecommerce is truly exciting."
A second presentation by Robert Alvarez, BigCommerce CFO, discussed how private equity investors can see quicker returns by lowering capital and operational expenses by strategically employing software tools.
"Headless commerce means PE investors can modernize and scale remarkable B2C and B2B ecommerce businesses faster and for much less than legacy proprietary systems, which is obviously good news to any investor," Alvarez said. "However, achieving this vision requires a diverse team of true ecommerce experts, and we're excited to see BigCommerce trusted partners like Tadpull and ZaneRay leading this conversation in the private equity space."
Additional sessions focused on hidden variables in value creation for ecommerce exits and emerging trends for acquiring traffic to a site across paid, SEO, email/SMS, and influencers.
The conference concluded with success stories, highlighting opportunities during a downturn economy around managing diverse digital campaigns while also using predictive analytics to tackle inventory glut. Presenters shared how implementing these tactics resulted in significant growth across business sectors for boosting returning customer rates and operating cash flows.
Given the success of the inaugural event, Tadpull will host another event in 2023. Next year’s event is tentatively slated for Sept. 20-22. To request an invite for the 2023 event, click here.