Dwolla*, the Des Moines-based payment platform that has a strong presence in NYC, announced today that it has received a $16.5 million Series C investment led by venture capital behemoth Andreessen Horowitz, with contributions from NYC firms Thrive Capital* and Union Square Ventures. The fresh funding will allow Dwolla to double its staff of 40 to 80 and open a third office in San Francisco, according to The Next Web. Andreessen partner Scott Weiss will be joining Dwolla’s board.
Fab famously got traction once the cofounders pivoted from gay Yelp to design-focused flash-sales site. But now that flash sales are no longer the darling of the tech industry, Fab is moving on. Hence the company’s announcement at its kindergarten-like West Village HQ last night: ”We’re going to do a little pivot again,” CEO Jason Goldberg announced.
“We’re redesigning Fab as the world’s number-one design store,” he said. “We’re going from flash sales to design store, and we’re going there in a really big way.”
That means a revamped website, products sold exclusively on Fab, brick-and-mortar stores, and the acquisition of a German company offering customizable furniture.
Exit This Way
A tipster contacted Betabeat to let us know that Ben Fischman, the founder and longtime CEO of lifestyle and fashion ecommerce site Rue La La, had stepped down from his role. A press release obtained by Betabeat confirms the news: Mr. Fischman will be replaced by Steve Davis, Rue La La’s president.
Fab.com has made more costume changes than a drag queen. Launched in 2011 as a social network for gay men (name: Fabulis), the company then transformed itself into a flash-sale site selling arty farty tchotchkes. Now, Business Insider suggests, Fab might be gearing up to design its own products. According to a blog post written by Read More
ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me
If there were a word cloud for recent ecommerce reports, it would be shaped like a mushroom cloud with “over-hyped” “implosion,” “froth,” “down rounds,” and “suck it, America, Europe does it better,” all in extra large font.
So we weren’t expecting to hear that JackThreads, the men’s ecommerce site acquired by Thrillist in 2010, had its best revenue month ever in February, even bigger than typically high-selling holiday months. Growth in new members was up 366 percent year-over-year and double the growth in number of new users joining in November and December of 2012.
Good news for tech bros who still have a soft spot for their jam band past: everyone’s favorite musician from high school is now joining Justin Bieber and Will.i.am in the angel investor game. Dave Matthews has backed SpotTrot, an ecommerce app that allows musicians to sell merch on mobile phones.
Hey, this almost makes your firedancer tattoo relevant again.
Step away from the “purchase” button. According to an investigation from The Wall Street Journal, shopping sites run by companies like Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone and Home Depot show customers different prices and deals based on what they know about you, including geolocation.
Seed Stage Slaughter
“It’s harder to act in a disciplined way in summer. All around you, you see excess and nonsense, companies being bought or funded for zillions of dollars without traction.” Eric Ries, the pioneer behind the Lean Startup movement, wrote those words back in August, 2011, warning that in the cyclical startup business, “what goes up will eventually come down.”
Startupland, he explained, can only stay insulated from broader economic forces–like, say, today’s warning about a new global recession--so for long: “The LP’s that fund booms are, after all, pension, municipal, and sovereign wealth funds. Consumers need disposable income to invest in the latest products, as do the companies who serve them and advertisers who reach them.”
Exit This Way
New York-based street style social network Thre.ad announced in an email sent out to users today that it will be shutting down. The company’s owners would probably rather you think of it as a pivot, however: According to the announcement, they’re folding Thre.ad into a new ecommerce site called That’s Foxy, which will deliver “shop-able products that are inspired by what’s trending in the community.”
Weeks after news broke that flash sales giant Gilt Groupe put its travel deals site, Jetsetter, up for sale, the Wall Street Journal reports that Gilt is looking for a new CEO to replace company founder Kevin Ryan. Sources told the Journal that Mr. Ryan and the Gilt board agreed two months ago to quietly begin the hunt for a new CEO who can help usher the struggling e-commerce site towards a successful IPO.
Despite flailing forays into verticals like menswear and travel, Gilt is still eyeing going public within the next 18 months, and wants a CEO who can revamp Mr. Ryan’s business strategy in order to “generate sufficiently predictable profits.”