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.
Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Sooooo…it’s that time of the year again. SXSW (a.k.a. Spring Break for Geeks) is right around the corner, running March 8 to 12 in Austin, Texas. And you know what that means: Parties, parties ‘n more parties!! So, once again, we’re putting together what we hope will be THE definitive guide to all this year’s SXSW Interactive parties. We’ll be updating this list regularly, so check back often. And email me if you’re organizing an event or a party.
New Startup On the Block
Picture the cash-grab hustle of eBay with the stylish sensibilities of Tumblr’s fashion community and you have The Cools, the latest entrant to the social shopping fray, which offers users a chance to express themselves–and the ability to sell their stuff.
The site launched yesterday, with $2.5 million in funding from private investors including MTV founder Bob Pittman and a roster of big-name advisors, including LVMH heir Antoine Arnault, Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, and Fab.com COO Beth Ferreira (as far as we know, not an heiress).
As you might expect from the presence of those names, browsing the site today reveals a lot of vintage and a lot of painfully fashion-forward clothing.
Naughty By Nature
Fab.com’s single bestselling product of all time? It’s not a pair of earrings, or a clever little teapot, or a framed poster about typography. According to CCO Bradford Shellhammer, speaking onstage at this morning’s session of Le Web in London, it’s a vibrator. Not only that, the site has sold “thousands and thousands” of vibrators–maybe even tens of thousands, he said. That’s a whole lot of sex toys.
Michael Arrington looked a little poleaxed and followed up by sharing that little data point on Twitter. Business Insider seemed even more flustered. “We’re not sure why” a vibrator would be so popular, the blog wrote through pursed lips. “Could be part of Fab’s former self shining through,” pointing to the site’s origins as a “Groupon-like startup with deals for the gay community.”
Frankly, we’re perplexed by all the prudishness. This is the same planet clamoring for 50 Shades of Grey, right?
Fab took another step toward design-savvy world domination today, with the announcement that the company has acquired the British Isles’ own Llustre, which will become Fab UK. The move follows the February purchase of Casacanda and relaunch as Fab.de.
In a statement released this morning, Mr. Goldberg also announced that Maria Molland, previously of Thomson Reuters, will now be Chief European Officer for Fab, a role which is clearly on a growth track.
Shortly after the news broke this morning, CEO Jason Goldberg and CCO Bradford Shellhammer appeared across the pond at Le Web, where they were grilled good-naturedly by Mike Arrington about the announcement. Curious to know more about the team’s U.K. plans, we caught the talk via livestream.
Most of all, Mr. Arrington wanted to know why Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Shellhammer decided to buy “a clone” rather than “crushing” Llustre. The Fab.com certainly hadn’t responded well to the existence of the Samwer brothers’ copycat Bamarang; why give quarter to this company?
Justin Long, Richard Dreyfuss and John Hodgman at the 16th Annual Webby Awards.
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), Founder & CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Fab.com got its latest revamp this morning, introducing a host of snazzy new social features. We hope your Facebook friends have good taste.
Fab CEO Jason Goldberg walked us through the changes via phone, boiling them down to improving the product discovery experience. Though the site adds new features regularly, the changes going live today are the first big revamp in “quite a decent amount of time,” says Mr. Goldberg. “There’s a hundred-plus new enhancements.” He explained that it’s all “about how do you help people discover stuff better than just throwing up a catalog.”
Unless you’ve gone off the grid, you probably already know that Internet Week 2012 launches on Monday. But with a dizzying number of events to attend, it’s hard to figure out which ones are worth the time, effort and subway fare. Betabeat guest blogger Gary Sharma, something of an events truffle hound, already penned his personal list of recommendations. But consider this Betabeat’s official to-do list: blogger tested, Betabeat approved.
Wilkommen! This is part one of Betabeat’s new mini-series, Die Startup-Szene, a peek at the up-and-coming tech hub of Berlin. We sat down with entrepreneurs from three leading young companies here in the city that is only very, very occasionally referred to as Silicon Allee.
Roman Kirsch, who skipped two grades, has studied in Los Angeles and London, backpacked in Australia and interned at Goldman Sachs. In July 2011, he and two cofounders started an Internet company most recently reportedly valued at $10 million. About six months later, he sold it to one of the hottest startups in New York. He is 23.
It’s enough to make you wish for some Schadenfreude. Until you meet Mr. Kirsch, that is, who gave Betabeat a hug when we met with him on Monday morning at Wohnzimmer Bar, or “living room bar,” a quiet and quaintly-decorated cafe in Berlin’s startup-heavy Prenzlauer neighborhood. Wrapped in Abercrombie, he ordered a hot mint tea with honey in place of coffee. He struck us immediately as, well, calmer than the average starry-eyed 20-something New York startupper, an even speaker with wry, smiling eyes. Still, he described his company’s acquisition by Fab.com as “the best thing that could ever happen.”
Another month, another milestone for master pivoter Jason Goldberg and his go-go daily deals for design startup, Fab. Today, the company announced that it has acquired Casacanda, a Berlin-based flash sales company. Along with the acquisition, Casacanda will relaunch as as Fab.de, serving Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Last November ccTLDInvestors, “the online magazine for global domain investors” noted that a company called Sedo made a tidy profit by selling Fab.de for $50,000. That same week, Fab also purchased Fab.eu for 35,000 Euros, so expect more updates for Fab’s fabulous European adventure.
According to Mr. Goldberg, Casacanda has been on something of a roll. The site has 250,000 members and grew by 90,000 in just the last 30 days. Add that to Fab’s existing membership, and the company has won over more than 2.3 million users in the past 8 months.