Onnit founder Aubrey Marcus started from less than nothing and leveraged his one idea into a 9-figure exit to the supergiant corporation Unilever.
Aubrey started Onnit with a series of ones. He decided to delve into the supplement market, which he knew had some pretty hefty company names dominating the space. After raising a very modest $80K to help his start-up, he built Onnit with one product, Alpha Brain. Alpha Brain, which is still sold on Onnit's website today, is a cognitive supplement that helps support memory and focus.
So, how was he going to get the word out to his target audience?
Aubrey decided to sponsor Joe Rogan's podcast to be his sole influencer. In 2010, Rogan was not as popular as he is today, but the decision proved to be a wise one for Aubrey in the end. As Rogan gained popularity, so did Onnit.
Eleven years after founding Onnit, the product line has expanded. Now there are many supplements, nutrition products, fitness products, apparel, and more.
Ryan and Aubrey talk business and personal development.
Keep in mind, Aubrey did all this on a shoestring. He started by raising $80K in loans. So, in reality, Aubrey started with a 5-figure deficit.
Aubrey wisely used that money to keep inventory in stock. His relationship with Joe Rogan created brisk sales. As ecommerce brand owners know, the last thing you want to do is run out of stock. As problems go, that's a good one to have - but it still causes snags as you scale. If you've got an inventory problem, it's a lot like driving with the gas and the brake at the same time. Building momentum becomes really hard because it feels like you're constantly starting over with promotions.
As reported on April 26, 2021, on Bizjournals.com, Onnit agreed to a buyout with Unilever. Unilever trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol UL. It's the parent company to some very well-known brands, including Ben and Jerry's, and Axe. Though terms of the remain undisclosed, many believe the deal was worth well over $100 million. Some estimate that number is closer to $250 - $400 million.
Now Aubrey's dream of building a company and doing so with only one product has come full circle. He managed to take that deficit he started with and leveraged it into well over $100 million - all in a little over a decade.
There is no telling what Aubrey Marcus will do from here. He could certainly enjoy the rest of his life without a care in the world and plenty of financial freedom. Or he could go forward to replicate his Onnit success. But one thing is for sure - his Onnit success story can be a roadmap for others to follow for their own Onnit success story.
Aubrey had no idea his company would end up in a massive buyout for so much money. He had no idea that his one product and one influencer would allow him to build up a supplement company this big over time. He had no idea whether any of what he was doing would even work out in the short-term, let alone the long-term. But he did know his unwavering commitment could pay off one day – and it did in a big way.
If there's one quality about Aubrey that stands out, it would be that he is not just a determined individual, but he is also an inspiration. Starting something out of nothing is never easy and might lead to failure. But if Aubrey can do it - and he did - nothing is stopping you from doing the same.