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.
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.
So last week I did this blog post highlighting The 16 SXSW Parties You Really, Really Don’t Want to Miss. And I got a ton of email from you guys & gals saying a) “Thank you, you’re a life saver!” and b) “We want more, more, MOARRR!”
For the hardcore partier, I’ve put together the ULTIMATE Guide to all the SXSW Parties (a whopping 300+ and counting!). Print this out before your trip and you’re golden, my friend. And as you can see, there’re a ton of events that don’t even require a SXSW badge.
Journalism 101 It looks like somebody is gunning for a spot at Nick Denton’s soon-to-relaunch Silicon Valley gossip site Valleywag. TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis wrote an impassioned post about why tech journalism needs another Valleywag, “a watchdog with enough independence and daring to call it as it is.” Writers at blogs like her own, Ms. Tsotsis argues, are simply too embedded in the ecosystem to properly perform their jobs, unwilling to report on certain unseemly aspects of Valley business and culture for fear of having to, get this, sit next to those she’s written about at a demo day.
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.
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.
After the Storm
Last week, startups across New York City galvanized to help support the victims of Hurricane Sandy, establishing coworking spaces, volunteer groups and easy ways for users to donate to recovery efforts. But it’s a new week, one where the subways are mostly running normally and many across the city have their electricity back. As the sense of helplessness brought by Sandy fades, the internet’s penchant for irony and offensive jokes has come roaring back. The first (and undoubtedly not the last) company to fall into this tasteless trap? New York-based daily email service Thrillist.
Healthy Hills? Everyday Health, the SoHo-based and more successful version of WebMd, has acquired EQAL, the creators of Lonelygirl15 and the owners of LaurenConrad.com. Everyday Health’s ad revenue grew 40 percent in the first quarter, compared to WebMD’s decline of 20 percent. This coincides with Everyday Health’s announcement that they’re moving beyond YouTube and launching a version of it’s web show “Recipe Rehab” for ABC stations around the country.
Diller Brings Back Dog Ben Silverman’s multimedia entertainment studio Electus, part of Barry Diller’s IAC, just sold ten episodes of a new show starring Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife Beth to CMT. “Dog and Beth are not only great television characters,” said Electus CEO Chris Grant, ”They are the best bounty hunters in the world, and this show is a natural evolution of their life story.”
For the Thrill of It
Fresh off the heels of the news that Thrillist had raised a $13 million Series A, its men’s clothing retailer, JackThreads, announced exclusively to Betabeat today that it has hit one million orders.
“Our growth has been insane,” said Devon Giddon, Thrillist’s director of communications. “In 2010, we were processing approximately 8,000 orders a month and now we’re doing around 13,000 orders a week! And 60 percent of those orders are from repeat buyers.”
It’s hard to be heads down when it’s hot out. Exhortations to “just keep shipping” trigger fantasies of sailboats; Friday afternoon happy hours just aren’t as appealing as sangria on a terrace in Spain. Besides–is there any surer sign of a healthy startup sector than tech stars taking lavish vacations?
For the Thrill of It
It was a very busy morning for Ben Lerer, the 30-year-old Lerer Ventures scion and CEO of men’s lifestyle brand Thrillist. The company announced yesterday that it had closed a $13 million series A, the first outside financing since Thrillist raised a $2 million seed round way back in 2005. Growing Thrillist from a Daily Candy-like daily newsletter to a men’s lifestyle empire with little venture capital in just seven years is no small feat.
“That’s the cool thing for me,” Mr. Lerer told Betabeat by phone this morning, his voice still colored with the excitement of closing a solid round. “That we were able to legit boostrap a business to 200+ people and $60 million in revenue without the money. It really gives me confidence that we have the right habits and the right discipline so that now that we have this money, we’re going to know how to spend it the right way rather than spastically run around spending it.”