Co-founded by retail veterans from Blue Nile, Zulily formed to build children’s retail e-commerce business that will offer exclusive access to great brands at discounted prices
Seattle, WA, December 17, 2009 – Zulily (www.zulily.com) today announced a $4.6 million investment led by Maveron LLC, the consumer-focused venture capital firm formed by former investment banker Dan Levitan and Starbucks' chief executive Howard Schultz. Led by Blue Nile veterans Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon, Zulily will use the funds to create a significant online private-sale retail e-commerce business focused on kids, babies and busy moms.
Cavens, who most recently spent a year at Microsoft after leading the technology and marketing teams during an eight-year tenure at Blue Nile, will serve as CEO and president running the day-to-day activities. Vadon, co-founder, former CEO and current executive chairman of Blue Nile, is an investor and will serve as chairman of Zulily. In conjunction with the Series A financing, Jason Stoffer of Maveron joins Zulily’s board.
With big plans to create the best private-sale destination offering products for kids, babies and busy moms, Cavens has compiled a strong senior team of retail and e-commerce veterans with experience at Nordstrom, Red Envelope, Eddie Bauer and Newsvine/MSNBC. Together, the proven team will tap into their business, e-commerce, and marketing experience to help build a superior private-sale retail Web site for busy moms to learn about new brands and get access to high quality products at great prices.
“In retail, success comes from great execution and doing a thousand little things everyday to delight your customers, and I have brought together a team that believes in that philosophy,” said Cavens. “Bringing together Maveron’s experience in establishing consumer brands like eBay, Pinkberry, and Drugstore.com and our experienced team, we plan to deliver the best products at great prices, along with an amazing site that integrates compelling design with community.”
The Private-Sale Shopping Market
The private-sale shopping market is becoming a fast-growing business. According to a recent article in CNN.com, the combined revenue at the top four players in the U.S. private-sale market is expected to be approximately $510 million this year. Sucharita Malpuru, e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research, says in a BusinessWeek article titled “Psst! Private-Sale Shopping Sites Are Hot,” that revenue from the top sites combined with sales at other private-sale sites make up a significant portion of the estimated $1 billion a year in online sales of luxury apparel. In addition, JPMorgan retail analyst, Brian Tunick, is also quoted in the BusinessWeek article stating that specialty retail stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach, and Tiffany’s have declined an average of 5 to 7 percent this year, while sales at the top private-sale sites are growing fourfold and fivefold during the same year.
“With parents looking to buy quality products at value prices, Zulily is in a unique position to capitalize on a tremendous opportunity,” said Jason Stoffer, a principal at Maveron. “Darrell played an instrumental role in helping transform the diamond industry while at Blue Nile and we’re confident the Zulily team will leverage their e-commerce experience to turn Zulily into the private sale category leader targeting kids, babies and busy moms.”
Zulily will go into beta in Q1, 2010 and membership is free. To become a founding member, busy moms should register today at www.zulily.com.
Zulily is changing the children’s retail market with a new members-only private-sale store with products for kids, babies and mom. Zulily provides exclusive access to daily sales on best-loved and up-and-coming brands, at significant discounts off retail prices. Based in Seattle, WA and formed by retail and ecommerce veterans, the Zulily team works with quality brands to help them engage with an exclusive members-only audience. For more information, please visit www.zulily.com.
Maveron is a leading venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington. Dan Levitan and Howard Schultz founded Maveron in January 1998 with the goal of building a firm that would be recognized as the premier financial and strategic partner to leading consumer-based businesses. Maveron’s mission is to partner with entrepreneurs in the creation of extraordinary companies in order to generate outstanding financial returns. Current representative Maveron investments include fast-growing consumer companies, such as Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pinkberry, Altius Education, VideoEgg and LiveMocha and monetized investments, such as eBay, Capella Education Company, Shutterfly, Cranium (acquired by Hasbro), Qsent (acquired by TransUnion), Quellos (acquired by Blackrock), Good Technology (acquired by Motorola) and lucy activewear (acquired by VF Corporation). Maveron has approximately $750 million under management and 23 active portfolio companies nationwide. For more information about Maveron, visit www.maveron.com. .
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