We’re all deal news this morning, aren’t we? Lot18 raises money, Groupon has a surprisingly-healthy trading day and Juice in the City launches in New York. Gilt Groupe, another subscriber-based deals business, is also growing like gangbusters, apparently. Although you gotta wonder where all these business will be after the recession ends and people remember that discounts are gauche.
BuyWithMe wasn’t the only local company hemorrhaging jobs this week. Betabeat has learned that TheLadders laid off about 30 employees this week, across all departments.
“It was like Black Wednesday,” said the source of the overlapping job losses. However, where BuyWithMe let go of 55 percent of its staff, TheLadders downsizing was less severe, with seven percent of its 420 employees, according to our source who was familiar with the situation.
Until a month ago, TheLadders focused exclusively on the $100,000+ jobs market–its key differentiator in the market. The source said the layoffs were related to flat revenue growth at about $80 million, adding that the company’s two biggest expenses were people and marketing costs. “They already cut marketing significantly,” said the source, who called the job losses “cost cutting to reforecast budget due to lower than expected revenue growth.”
What’s life like for Rob Deeming, Kevin Ryan’s “chief of staff” at Gilt Groupe? In a word: busy. The 33-year-old’s job centers around what seems like Gilt’s primary objective these days: launching new verticals as its core discount business matures and e-commerce competitors multiply.
In an interview with Mr. Deeming, a Brit with a Harvard MBA, The Street reports that the majority of Gilt growth comes from “a dizzying array” of new full-priced verticals, such as Jetsetter, Gilt Taste, and Park & Bond, which are expected to rake in $100 million combined within the next fiscal year. Gilt City, meanwhile, will account for 10 percent of overall revenue.
Dizzying seems like the right word to describe the pace. Mr. Deeming told the Street, “Now we plow through 100 ideas a week,”
10Gen is not a startup you hear discussed often at cocktail parties, even the kind full of engineers. But Kevin Ryan has told Betabeat on more than one occassion that he believes 10Gen –which provide commercial support for MongoDB, the increasingly popular open source NoSQL database– is the AlleyCorp company with the most potential in the long term.
10Gen has just raised a $20 million series D from Sequoia, FlyBridge and Union Square Ventures.
Co-founders Jerry Guo and Michael Waxman like to joke that Grouper is a Y Combinator-funded startup. That’s because they didn’t come up with the idea for Grouper–a social service that sets you and two friends up with three strangers based on your Facebook profile–until they got rejected from YC. “We took our $400 travel reimbursement check from YC and used that as seed capital for Grouper,” Mr. Guo told Betabeat via gChat.
Does that mean Grouper is a pivot?? “Lol,” he wrote, “It’s a completely new concept. We applied to YC with paperbuff.com. In the 36 hours before our interview, we ditched paperbuff and built qomments.com, were rejected, then decided to build a product people would actually want (*measured by charging for it).”
Indeed, Grouper, which just launched out of beta in New York today, was profitable after just 60 days.
Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
Looking back through the all-too-brief annals of New York tech history, DoubleClick is arguably the city’s most successful exit. The company has always been less-famous for the unsexy business of what it does (dynamic ad serving) than for the fact that Google plunked down a jaw-dropping $3.1 billion for it in 2007. It was the spoils from Doubleclick that enabled Kevin Ryan to go on to launch Gilt Groupe, which begat GroupMe, and so on and so forth. Now, another New York City ad-tech startup is hoping to follow DoubleClick’s lead.
Yesterday DoubleVerify announced that it picked up $33 million from the likes of First Round Capital and JMI Equity. As co-founder Oren Netzer told VentureBeat, “We had half a dozen offers, but JMI was the best choice for a new partner because they know the space so well. We want to be the next DoubleClick and JMI helped DoubleClick grow and eventually be sold to Google for $3.1 billion.”
Tech Bubble Watch
Gilt Groupe just announced that its new men’s site, Park & Bond‒ a name that practically drips with the silver-spooned sound of privilege‒ will be partnering with Conde Nast’s GQ magazine on an e-commerce strategy. Not only will Park & Bond host an online store that features products “handpicked from the pages of the magazine by the editors of GQ.” But starting with the September issue, GQ is also promoting the venture in its pages and on GQ.com to drive readers to Park & Bond. Betabeat talked to Park & Bond president John Auerbach (Gilt employee no. 5), on the phone from the Pitti Immagine Uomo show in Italy, about the partnership‒and the genesis of that name.
Kevin Ryan was behind New York’s biggest tech exit, DoubleClick, which sold to Google for billions. So he has a little more gravitas than most when talking big zeros, declaring today that Facebook will one day be valued at $1,000,000,000.