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How Phillip Duong Disrupted the Food Industry and Now Helps Startups Scale to Sell

After successfully starting and scaling a 7-figure health-focused food brand that disrupted the food industry in three short years, Phillip Duong’s Company was acquired by Warpfy (Ycombinator S21) and he has now moved on to helping other startups realize their potential with Scaled Consulting. Phillip and his team offer tailored startup guidance on how to scale, maintain growth, and prepare for an exit. 

Phillip Duong’s Start

As a first-generation American, Phillip has always been close with his family. The family came from Vietnam as refugees, for that reason Philip got his start with very little means. He had always had an interest in health and wellness and desired to find ways for himself, his family and community to live healthier lives. He worked on his diet and discovered the excessive amount of carbs that were in the foods he consumed every day. 

This led Phillip to stumble upon Konjac noodles. These noodles contain zero calories and only a few carbs per serving, and they taste just like the real thing.   

Phillip made the switch and lost 50 pounds. He was so astounded and impressed that he wanted to build a company selling konjac foods that could help other Americans get healthy and lose weight too. So Phillip started Well Lean, a company that strictly focused on selling a perfected version of these noodles that were organic and infused with oat fiber to give them a better appearance and texture. He was extremely passionate about the business because he had directly experienced great health benefits and expanded the business into rice and pastas. 

Phillip bootstrapped the company from nothing. He built it from the ground up with money he had saved, credit cards and angel investors from the University of California San Diego.

His passion and drive to get the noodles on the market allowed him to quit his job as an electrical engineer and fully focus on growing the company after one year in business. After another year of exponential growth, Well Lean was acquired by Warpfy, a YCombinator Tech Startup, with a huge success. YCombinator has incubated majorly successful companies such as AirBNB, Dropbox, Twitch, and Coinbase to name a few. Now Phillip coaches other startups on the path to success and acquisition through his consulting business. 

Phillip Duong Today

While Phillip’s journey was very fast paced, he learned an enormous amount about what it takes to succeed and scale a business quickly. Following are some helpful tips Phillip gives the entrepreneurs he works with today.

Tip 1

“To be successful, you have to think and do fast. I tell my clients it’s important to try a lot of things like minimum viable products, then test and fail them fast. For the ones that do work, even a little bit, put your whole heart into it, which takes us into scalability. You want to take those working products and create a five-year growth plan that focuses on retention and development.  Find what sticks with customers and having an exit strategy will help guide you to what is truly valuable about your business. Having a clear vision is important, even if it changes a bit over time.”

Tip 2

“If you think you are looking to exit at some point, I would say, you want to start pivoting in ways that contribute to the overall value to your business and start thinking in the perspective of a buyer. Key metrics that are looked at in successful acquisitions are EBITDA, CAC, CLTV, and number of customers. Anything unique that could be of value to someone else’s company or portfolio is critically important.”

Tip 3

“A pretty common problem I see is that many entrepreneurs don’t know how to sell their business and how to find a buyer with an aligned company vision. Finding the right business broker to guide you to an aligned buyer is most important. At the end of the day, it’s your business and there needs to be an alignment of trust that the vision will be pursued.” 

Of course, Phillip has many more great ideas, pointers and ways to organize that will help entrepreneurs achieve their goals. To learn more about how to start a business or scale your company to exit, connect with Phillip on LinkedIn or scaledconsulting.co and start a chat today!

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