He’s taking the long way around to do it, but Nir Shafrir is getting ever so close to returning to the distribution market.
Far away from his roots in the Canadian channel, Shafrir is living in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he has spent the last couple of years dabbling in the local real estate market and keeping tabs on Ideazon, a manufacturer of interchangeable gaming keyboards he helped launch in 2000. But when CDN called to check in on the man who set up what was once Canada’s most successful homegrown distributor, Shafrir admitted he’s thinking about getting back in the game.
“I’m in negotiations to acquire a local distributor,” he said, adding that there was nothing concrete that he was prepared to discuss. “I’d be crazy to try and start one up from scratch now.”
That’s because consolidation in the business has left only a few broadline distributors and a handful of boutique players. Shafrir contributed to some of that consolidation: he sold off Globelle, which he started out of his home as Computer Brokers Canada, to Tech Data in 1998. Even now, as he contemplates a second chance in the channel, he remains nonchalant about his achievements, and realistic about the challenges.
“It’s not that great a business. It deploys a lot of capital, the margins are low. Margins are so low you that if you have a couple of bad debts, it can really affect you,” he said. “It was new, it was growing, I just happened to be there.”