Zulily Is An IPO for Everywhere Else


There’s been a flurry of activity since Twitter filed their S-1 last week. Will it be a repeat of Facebook’s IPO? Why aren’t there any women on the board? Does that matter? And, by the way, isn’t the company still losing money?

So much digital ink has been spilled over the Twitter filing, it’s hard to remember what we wrote about before it.

Thankfully, the cycle has turned, and we have something new to write about. Two days ago another startup filed to take the IPO plunge. It’s probably safe to say that Zulily is much less well-known than Twitter and hasn’t had quite the same impact worldwide as the social media company. If you aren’t a mom, you probably haven’t heard of Zulily.

The Seattle-based flash sales site is the picture of a successful company from everywhere else. In 2009, founders Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon saw a problem: it was difficult to buy unique, inexpensive clothes for children. If they bought clothes from Target, 20 other kids had the same shirt, but if they shelled out more money, the clothes were stained or torn in a matter of hours.

The two dads figured out a fun way to solve the problem and how much users were willing to pay for it. When all the other daily deals and flash sale sites were struggling, Zulily doubled down and continued to grow.

3 years later, they’re running a company with the coveted $1 billion valuation and filing IPO paperwork.

Twitter and Zulily have completely different business models, but thanks to filing IPOs in the same week, the comparisons are inevitable. Twitter undoubtedly has more users and more impact worldwide. However, Zulily has figured out how to get cash from their customers, which means they bring in more revenue than Twitter at the moment. Money in the bank is always, always a good thing.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Twitter is a bad company or a bad investment. Without a doubt, Twitter is changing the way information is spread, and there’s plenty to like about that. And with millions of users worldwide the potential (social media’s favorite word) for revenue is massive.

Zulily’s story is an inspiration to companies everywhere else. Not everyone can–or should want to–build the next paradigm-shifting social media company. Silicon Valley has proven particularly good at that, and the world is different because of it.

However in the next 20-30 years, entrepreneurs everywhere else will prove very good at building black ink companies that solve problems in other aspects of life. Education, healthcare, government, and logistics are all ripe for disruption, and who knows what industries will be invented in the coming decade. Big problems will be solved in hubs all over the world, as well as Silicon Valley.

A flash sales site may not solve a “big” problem, but Zulily’s IPO is more step in proving the power of everywhere else.


Seattle Startup Zulily’s Valuation Reaches $1 Billion Dollars

Zulily,Seattle startup,startup,startups, billion dollar valuation,square,foursquare, instagramBack in September we brought you this interview with Zulily co-founder Darrell Cavens. Zulily is an online marketplace featuring daily deals for kids,mom’s and women. The company started out with just kids stuff and then expanded and started offering women’s clothing and accessories along with housewares.

It was announced on Thursday that the Seattle based startup has raised $85 million dollars from Andreessen Horowitz, one of the top valley venture capital firms that holds interests in companies like Instagram and Skype.

Jeff Jordan the former CEO of Open Table and partner at Andreessen Horowitz, characterized Zulily as an example of “e-commerce 2.0″ in a blog post.  He also said that Zulily was part of a renaissance in innovation among e-commerce players.

That wasn’t all that attracted Andreessen Horowitz to Zulily. The company’s founding team that’s already had tremendous success in the e-commerce arena in a niche market. Mark Vardon and Darrell Cavens were also the team behind Blue Nile which is the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and other fine jewelry. Jordan also cited the fact that Cavens was the head of both technology and marketing, ” a combination of functions I had never encountered before as an internet executive”, he wrote in the blog post.

Zulily has been very successful in carrying goods from lesser known designers who lacked distribution and then spun it into a business with over 10 million customers to date.

Last year Zulily raised $43 million dollars at a valuation of $750 million dollars. Although they didn’t report a valuation with today’s round, Business Insider quotes Fortune’s Dan Primack valuing the company at $1 billion dollars.  This puts Zulily in the same company as other startups like Square, FourSquare and Airbnb.


Check out Zulily here

Here’s our interview with Zulily

Source: BI

Are you coming to “everywhere else”?, you should.


Seattle Startup: Zulily, Daily Deals For Kids INTERVIEW

(photo: Zulily/people.com)

So what do two men who have entrepreneurial and technology backgrounds do when they become dads? Create a startup of course. That’s what Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon have done with Zulily. Zulily is an online marketplace that offers daily deals on stuff for kids.

Zulily offers a variety of products for any kid ages 0-8 and of course starts off with maternity needs for expectant mothers. With their daily deals, parents can save up to 90% on things that they really need for their kids.

A site like Zulily is a recipe for success. Just how successful? Zulily grew so fast last year that Cavens told Xconomy back in May that their backlog of orders was over 300,000 units deep “So we sat down in August of last year and said, `Oh shit—we’re in a world of hurt,’” Cavens told Xconomy. In June Zulily topped Seattle’s list of hottest startups, edging out StartupWeekend, Big Fish Games and even SEOmoz, which powers Zulily.

Zulily already has over 5 million email subscribers that get their deals everyday. They employ over 300 people and add 5,000 products to their private sale site daily.  Zulily keeps stock of products in house, which is a definite change from the way that most daily deals sites work. Those sites, when dealing in hard goods, drop ship merchandise via  the manufacturer or vendor.

This ride for Cavens and Vadon is so wild that it’s hard to believe we were able to get a chance to talk with a spokesperson from Zulily. Check out our interview below:

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