Sean Dollinger is an e-commerce wizard who has taken two companies public with eight-figure IPOs.
His current company, PlantX Life Inc. is on a mission to make a plant-based diet accessible and convenient to consumers across North America. The Vancouver-based company offers groceries, meal plans, and more. Often likened to an Amazon-meets-Postmates rival, it makes for a vegan’s paradise. Sean’s newest e-commerce venture follows his reign as founder of Namaste technologies where he helped lead the company to a $1 billion market cap and multi-million dollar IPO in just two years. The company debuted its IPO on the Canadian Securities Exchange and moved up to the Toronto Stock Exchange.
On Feb. 15, Sean hosted a Founders Network global keynote that provided tips for how to develop and package a business that catches the eye of the market.
Believe In Your Creation
Sean has been a serial entrepreneur since the age of 16. The first company he developed was a food delivery service for places that didn’t have delivery. When you talk with Sean, he’ll joke that if you fast forward 25 years that company would have been known as Uber. But he does so in stride.
For Sean, the key to a successful business of any shape or size is the passion and belief of its founder.
“Believe in your idea and put effort into it, even if it starts off slow,” says Sean.
The experience that he’s earned in scaling brands over the years propels Sean to keep searching for his next great success. Over the last 20 years, he’s worked in more than five different industries. And, whether it be tech, fashion, agriculture – or now the vegan food space – he incorporates all of his learnings from each venture into launching the next.
“I kind of have a 20-year headstart on anyone else,” he says. “That’s the way that I see it.”
A Plant-Based Revolution
Sean’s idea for PlantX came when he was 30 and turned to a plant-based diet to focus on improving his health. He immediately realized that the change meant eating foods with ingredients that he could actually pronounce and a welcome spike in his overall energy.
“I stuck with a plant-based diet and lost over 30 pounds,” Sean says. “Over the last 10 years, I learned that a plant-based diet is a major part of wellness and longevity. That’s why what PlantX is offering is for everyone.”
PlantX is an e-commerce hub that offers an online plant-based food marketplace, wellness products, and a simple and convenient way for customers to access nourishing foods. The site also allows users to connect with like-minded eaters and discover the best local restaurants for vegan eats.
The model is a proof of concept. In two short years, PlantX has opened five different brick-and-mortar locations, built a revenue stream of over $20 million, and is on a path to making a profit in the coming future.
“I think that we’ve built something absolutely incredible here. August 2023 will mark our three-year anniversary of being public, and two full years in operation since doing our first raise,” he says.
The Keys To Success
Sean’s success with PlantX and Namaste Technologies has given him new learnings and experience to add to his toolbelt when it comes to scaling brands.
“When I started the vaporizer company known as Namaste, I built it from zero dollars to a $1.5 billion value in a year and a half. Really, at the end of the day, all I was doing was taking products and bringing them around the globe quicker and faster by using strategies that I had developed over a decade,” says Sean.
“What I have learned is the importance of intention when scaling your teams. It’s important to be thoughtful about growing your company, and not just worry about topline. You will hit moments of downward turns and instead of worrying about growing so quickly, really focus on building your foundation,” he shares.
Before an entrepreneur hires and scales, Sean believes it’s essential to ensure their verticals are working and focusing on new projects that add value.
“Otherwise, if you don’t have the deep pockets to survive, you will fail,” he says.
In his global keynote, Sean drilled down on what leaders must get right when scaling brands rapidly in order to come out ahead in today’s business landscape.
Sean also covered:
- How to leverage e-commerce strategies to rapidly scale your business
- How to develop and package a company that catches the eye of the market
- Lessons learned in sustainable growth, effective hiring, and inventory management
- Operational mistakes to avoid as a founder