Jetsetter, the luxury travel site that Gilt Groupe put up for sale for around $50 million back in October, has been acquired by TripAdvisor, according to a press release published to PRNewswire. A Gilt Groupe representative confirmed the acquisition to Betabeat. Skift reported back in March that Jetsetter was close to an acquisition, most likely by the travel reviews site.
Skift broke the news today that former Jetsetter cofounder Drew Patterson was named the new CEO of Room 77, a hotel price comparison startup that raised almost $44 million in funding from investors like Expedia, Concur, Bob Pittman, and General Catalyst Partners.
Mr. Patterson was CEO of Jetsetter–a flash sales luxury travel site operated independently under the Gilt Groupe umbrella–for more than three years until Gilt Groupe chairman Kevin Ryan asked him to step down last May. The move by Jetsetter’s board followed an exodus of senior executives, low morale, and fears of a “mutiny” among staffers.
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.
The “pre-launch” page for new startup called Harry’s features a handsome image of a razor emblazoned with an “H” logo and the slogan, “RESPECTING THE FACE AND WALLET. SINCE LIKE…RIGHT NOW.” Sign up to learn more and you’ll be directed to what looks like a package deal on shaving supplies, including the historically-themed “Truman Handle” and the “Winston Shave Set” How mid-century! But why not just label it the Don Draper special?
According to a source, Harry’s is actually tied up with the marketing experts at Warby Parker. Jen Rubio, head of social media at the eyeglass retailer, shared the site on her Facebook page with the message, “Remember in 2010 when I said Warby Parker was going to be big? This is kinda like that.”
A little more than a year ago, Betabeat reported that despite his lofty role as chairman and chief executive officer of 10gen, the company behind the MongoDB database language, Dwight Merriman was still mixing it up with his developers, drinking beer and writing code with the company’s engineers.
While browsing our Google Reader this morning, we came across this list of wacky interview questions compiled by Glassdoor.com. You know the drill: “How many cows are in Canada?” (Correct answer: Who cares?) However, we were reminded of our favorite party game, which we haven’t played in quite some time, wherein we investigate God-only-knows-how-reliable Glassdoor reviews of our favorite startups.
Let’s just say there are some very unhappy underlings running around Silicon Alley.
As 2011 came to a close, we looked back at our most popular posts. But this year, we’re a little older (a mature year and nine months!), a lot wiser, and thought we’d try something a little different. Thank you for reading!
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Take a Hard Line on the Internet at Rally of 40,000 Men (And Me) In which our intrepid reporter sneaks into Citi Field in drag.
Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set It’s the end of the world as we know it, and they feel fine.
Earlier this afternoon, Gilt Groupe named a new CEO to replace founder (and current CEO) Kevin Ryan. Michelle Peluso, formerly the president and CEO of Travelocity, will take the top slot at the flash deals site beginning in February. Ms. Peluso, who currently serves as the chief marketing and Internet officer at Citigroup, is also the only outside member of Gilt Groupe’s board who isn’t an investor. She joined the board in October 2009.
“There aren’t that many people that you would trust to become CEO of a company that you’ve spent five years building and that has a thousand people,” Mr. Ryan told Betabeat by phone. “She’s always been my first choice. But in the process, midway through, you can’t say ‘Oh my God, I really want Michelle,’ because she hasn’t said yes yet; we haven’t made an offer yet.”
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.”
Silicon Alley Smackdown One of the many tech events on rain delay because of Hurricane Sandy was the Big Apple Smackdown ping pong tournament, whose guest list included an impressive number of familiar names from the New York tech scene. (Betabeat is one of the media sponsors, so we may be a little biased.) Among the techno-athletes scheduled to play was Gilt Groupe CEO–and soon-to-be Gilt Groupe chairman–Kevin Ryan. Apparently, we missed quite a show.
The tournament was scheduled for Sunday, “and I played on Friday and on Sunday just to get ready for it!” Mr. Ryan told Betabeat. Really? “Oh yeah, because I won a tournament about a month ago.” That was an invitation-only affair for ping pong ringers at the Hamptons manse of ABC Carpet & Home’s Ken Pilot. “You had to put $100 into the pot and the winner got two-thirds of the pot, so I was pretty excited about that,” Mr. Ryan enthused.