In the latest installment of Bright Founders Talk, we had the pleasure of diving deep into the entrepreneurial journey of Nater Youngchild, the current CEO of D8aDriven. With humble beginnings in the Pacific Northwest, Youngchild carved a niche for himself in the E-commerce space, tackling the untapped market of island grocery delivery while still in college.
The venture led to lessons in consumer behavior and ultimately pivoting towards leveraging Amazon’s marketplace. What began as a service-based Amazon agency transformed into D8aDriven, a software platform that empowers Amazon sellers to maximize their growth potential.
Youngchild’s ingenuity didn’t stop there; he channeled the lessons from D8aDriven to solve industry-wide issues, achieving a 10x increase in account management efficiency. The company’s journey came full circle earlier this year with its acquisition by Carbon6, allowing it to scale its impact even further. For anyone fascinated by E-commerce, technological innovation, or the art of scaling a startup, Nater Youngchild’s candid revelations offer a masterclass in business adaptability and growth. Stay tuned as we unfold the story behind one of the industry’s most dynamic leaders.
Nater’s Journey from Island Groceries to Data-Driven Amazon Success: How One Man’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Defied the Odds
“You know, they say necessity is the mother of invention, but in my case, it was sheer inconvenience that led to innovation,” quipped Nater, the CEO of D8aDriven. Picture this: A young guy, island-hopping to deliver groceries in the Pacific Northwest, tackling ferry schedules and tolls just to get fresh produce to isolated communities. And then—boom!—Amazon Fresh enters the ring, and he’s stuck wondering how to compete. After his company faced off against Amazon in a local news segment and won in both speed and pricing, Nater found himself with a sudden spike in web traffic but only a handful of conversions. Talk about a reality check!
“It was the most inspiring Friday and humbling Sunday of my entire life,” he said, recalling the weekend when his website saw 300,000 visits but only netted three paying customers. Unlike many entrepreneurs who would have thrown in the towel, Nater pivoted. He learned the inner workings of Amazon while on the job there and went back into entrepreneurship to develop a software that could help other businesses flourish on the platform. He understood that in the ever-changing landscape of e-commerce, the key to survival was adaptability.
But Nater’s story doesn’t end with him simply founding a successful Amazon agency. He experienced another ‘lightbulb moment’ that led him to create D8aDriven, a software platform that optimizes Amazon sales by leveraging data science. With this tool, account managers could handle ten times more brands, elevating D8aDriven to a new level of efficiency. And then came the cherry on top—the business was acquired by Carbon6. His best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Sometimes what got you here won’t get you there. Keep adapting, keep innovating.” Because if anyone knows about embracing change and turning inconvenience into opportunity, it’s Nater.
Nater Unveils the ‘Secret Ingredient’ to Entrepreneurship and the Grace of Beginning New Chapters
“99% of the battle is just showing up,” says Nater, a seasoned entrepreneur who’s fought in the trenches against giants like Amazon. But he’s quick to add that showing up is just the beginning. While many founders are caught in the perpetual race to the bottom, drowning in cutthroat competition, Nater believes that consistent “showing up” lets you tread water while you scout for the next big wave. It’s less about fighting the current and more about riding it. After all, Nater has not only competed against Amazon but has also learned and adapted from their hiring practices when he built his own team. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
“When it was just my co-founder and I, our first employee was his sister. So it was not just figuratively family; it was actual family,” Nater reflects on his entrepreneurial journey. Those early hiring days? Oh, they were the hardest, he admits. Because you see, handing off parts of your ‘baby’ to someone else? That’s a pill harder to swallow than any venture capitalist’s termsheet. Yet, as the team grew to 30 or 40 people, Nater embraced Amazon’s meticulous hiring mantra: “Be slow to hire and quick to fire.” It’s about getting the right people on board and then? “Get out of the way of great contributors,” Nater insists.
If entrepreneurship was a book, Nater would tell you it isn’t a single chapter with a start and finish; it’s an anthology of stories—each contributing to the saga. As the founder and a post-acquisition observer, he’s seen it all: the highs, the lows, and everything in between. “I used to think I was starting a marathon,” he muses, “but what I’ve learned about myself is to handle the ups and downs; you need to give yourself the grace to start a new chapter and close an old one.” A lesson not just in business acumen but in life itself. It’s about being prepared to turn the page, to begin anew, all while respecting the chapters that have been written. Amen to that.
From Frontline General to Sideline Cheerleader: Nater on Navigating Transitions and Finding Balance
“Man, when you close one door, you’re not just staring at a wall; you’re looking at other doors ready to swing open.” That’s Nater for you, our eloquent guest who recently navigated the high-stakes sale of his company, D8aDriven, to tech powerhouse Carbon 6. And don’t think for a second that he’s ready to rest on his laurels. “I still have some work to do. D8aDriven is a rocket ship, and I’m all-in on helping it soar to greater heights,” he says. Here’s a guy who’s switched from being the warrior on the frontline to a cheerleader on the sideline, still as invested as ever. Carbon6 recently wrapped up a beefy $66 million Series A and is gunning for Series B, making the whole transition all the more exhilarating for Nater.
But hold up, it’s not just about the boardroom for this guy. Nater opens up about the personal odyssey he’s been on, especially when it comes to love. With the “closed like shut” U.S.-Canada border, Nater faced a rom-com level obstacle: he couldn’t even make it to his own wedding. “Yeah, COVID shut us down. Couldn’t cross the border. Imagine planning your wedding and realizing not just your guests, but you can’t show up!” It’s crazy, right? But Nater and his Canadian wife finally tied the knot this last year, highlighting the man’s ability to navigate life’s curveballs.
Quote-worthy and definitely something to chew on, Nater sums it up: “While it appears you have work-life balance as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to forget the life you wanted outside your pursuits.” That’s Nater, folks, a man who’s not just about opening new doors in business but also unlocking the gates to personal happiness and balance. Whether it’s leading a tech venture or finally saying ‘I do,’ the guy knows how to move from one chapter to the next without losing sight of what really matters.
Love, Business, and the Art of Living: Nater on Seizing the Green Lights in Life
Let’s talk about love and life for a minute. While many entrepreneurs remain trapped in the unending loop of work, Nater managed to chase a different kind of dream: love across borders. Despite facing significant hurdles, including an international border closure that derailed his wedding plans, Nater and his wife managed to hold on for the perfect moment. And he got it—delayed gratification at its finest.
See, when Nater speaks, it’s not just about the grind, but about finding the beauty in life’s intricate tapestry. His dedication to redefining work-life balance is not just commendable but deeply relatable. He understands the struggle of shifting gears from an entrepreneur to an employee at a larger company, from being the “guy on the front line leading into battle” to cheering from the sidelines.
Finally, let’s chat role models. It’s fascinating to find out that Nater draws inspiration from a range of personalities, like Richard Branson and Matthew McConaughey, to Russell Brand. You know, it’s a pretty colorful bunch when you think about it! What they all share is a raw, unfiltered approach to life and the courage to press the gas pedal when they see a green light. Nater’s embracing that philosophy in his own unique way, and you can’t help but admire the guy for it.