A little over two years ago, Lockerz founder Kathy Savitt declared that the heavily-funded social commerce startup was poised to be “the homepage for Generation Z.” People in that demographic — aged 13 to 30 — were supposed to use the service to browse the Internet, upload photos, watch videos and listen to music — earning PTZ (pronounced points) that they could then turn into discounts on products.
But things didn’t go quite as planned. Savitt left the startup to take the chief marketing officer gig at Yahoo in August 2012, and the company subsequently underwent a string of layoffs and executive departures.
Now, after an attempt to transform itself under the brand Ador, the startup has been acquired by Chinese e-commerce company LightInTheBox Holdings in a transaction of undisclosed size.
Founded in 2009, Lockerz raised more than $65 million from marquee investors such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, former Microsoft CFO Greg Maffei; DAG Ventures, Live Nation and others.
The company was always a bit of an enigma, with huge backers and off-the-charts Web traffic claims. In 2011, the company said it was attracting 37 million unique visitors per month.
In recent months, as the company shifted to its focus to Ador, CEO Mark Stabingas kept a relatively low profile, declining our attempts for comment.
In an email, Stabingas said that they’ve been evaluating options, but he declined to go into details about the transaction itself.
“We had a number of conversations with interested parties in the last several months. Ultimately, Light in The Box stood out as the best match for all our stakeholders. It allows us to continue developing Ador as a product. The whole team will become part of the LITB working on both Ador and broader company priorities and we’ll be growing the team locally. Lastly, we think LITB is building an interesting global commerce platform and is still in its early days with plenty of opportunity and we’re excited to be part of establishing their U.S. presence.”
Re/code reported that both Ador and Lockerz will continue as part of the acquisition by LightInTheBox, which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and describes itself as a “global online retail company.” It now has a market value of $456 million, with the stock up more than 14 percent since the deal was announced.
Here’s the full press release from LightInTheBox.
Beijing, China, January 6, 2014 – LightInTheBox Holding Co., Ltd. (NYSE: LITB) (“LightInTheBox” or the “Company”), a global online retail company that delivers products directly to consumers around the world, today announced that it has acquired Seattle-based social e-commerce company, Ador, Inc. (“Ador”) in an asset transaction for an undisclosed amount of cash.
As a result of the transaction, the Ador executive team and its employees will join LightInTheBox and will represent the Company’s first on-the-ground office in the U.S., an important growth market for the Company. Ador’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Stabingas joins LightInTheBox as President and Quinten Shay joins LightInTheBox as Senior Vice President. LightInTheBox’s co-founders Kevin Wen and Liang Zhang will both become Executive Vice Presidents (EVPs) and their responsibilities will remain unchanged.
Mr. Alan Guo, Chairman and CEO of LightInTheBox, commented, “Through our acquisition of Ador, we are excited to add the executive talents of Mark and Quinten to our executive team. The addition of these individuals to the LightInTheBox team underscores our ambition and commitment to build a global flagship e-commerce company. Mark and Quinten bring to LightInTheBox tremendous global leadership and extensive domain expertise, which will be critical for the Company’s long-term growth. Further, the establishment of a U.S. office for LightInTheBox through this transaction brings us closer to our customers, and provides us the opportunity to acquire an extremely talented team. We are excited to welcome Ador’s talented employees to LightInTheBox and are pleased to use this acquisition as a means to bolster talent and further maximize our global e-commerce sales opportunity.”
Mark Stabingas commented, “Q and I and the Ador team are thrilled to join LightInTheBox. We believe that there is still huge opportunity for innovation as to online commerce and becoming part of LightInTheBox is an exciting next step for us. Alan and his team have built a unique global e-commerce platform in a short period of time and we’re looking forward to being a part of its bright future.”
Mark Stabingas has been COO, CEO/co-CEO, and a board member of Ador since 2011. Prior to Ador, Mark worked for Amazon.com, Inc. and was General Manager of Amazon Payments, Senior Vice President of Business and Corporate Development and Vice President of Finance for Amazon.com’s U.S. retail business. He was also a member of the Management Committee at Amazon.com. Prior to Amazon.com, Mark was an executive at PepsiCo, Inc. from 1991 to 2000, where he served as Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Management in Finance from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Quinten Shay joined Ador as CTO in December 2011, and became co-CEO in 2013. Prior to Ador, he worked for Amazon.com, Inc. for 7 years starting from 1998, with responsibilities that ranged from leading Amazon’s entire international technology team to expand Amazon’s presence into Europe and Asia, running its Japan retail business, and establishing A-to-Z Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon that established new Amazon Web Services businesses in remote development centers around the globe. Prior to joining Amazon.com, Inc., Quinten worked in engineering roles at Hewlett-Packard on behalf of retail and logistics clients such as Wal-Mart and Federal Express. Quinten received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.
About LightInTheBox Holding Co., Ltd.
LightInTheBox is a global online retail company that delivers products directly to consumers around the world. The Company offers customers a convenient way to shop for a wide selection of lifestyle products at attractive prices through its www.lightinthebox.com, www.miniinthebox.com and other websites, which are available in 27 major languages and cover more than 80% of global Internet users. In 2012, the Company ranked number one in terms of revenue generated from customers outside of China among all China-based retail websites that source products from third-party manufacturers. For more information, please visit www.lightinthebox.com.