Kathy Savitt
Lockerz founder Kathy Savitt left the company to join Yahoo in 2012.

Remember Lockerz?

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.

Comments

  • Thomas R.

    Great followup on Lockerz John. Nobody else seems to follow the breadcrumbs after well funded companies all of sudden flame out. Makes you wonder if all their press releases on monthly visitors and growth were all just smoke and mirrors to hide an unprofitable, unsustainable business with no clear direction. To this day I have no idea what this company and its spin offs even do.

    Given the amount raised and how small the acquirer is, would it be fair to say that investors lost money on this investment?

  • Kevin McCarthy

    Yeah great follow-up.
    Everyone involved wants to run away and never speak of it again, but this is a great example of “smart” money being really friggin stupid.

  • mandersons

    More fall out from Savitt spin

  • Guest

    And the fire has burned this building to….the…..ground.

  • Kathy Diamond

    This company had less real traffic than most of us have on Twitter. About 1/2 of the traffic was made up; the other half came from about 100 Eastern European hackers who made up thousands and thousands of fake accounts to bot the site, rack up points or “PTZ”, then bot the site again to use their fraudulent PTZ during Lockerz “redemptions” to buy free stuff. Some of that stuff then made its way onto eBay, so the hackers were literally making a lot of money. There was also a lot of fraud in terms of the supposed sales and business development deals the company closed… some of the companies couldn’t be found on Dunn & Bradstreet because they were made up in an effort by the company to look viable to investors. Savitt continually created a facade that investors bought hook, line and sinker. It’s a terrible shame, an eyesore for Seattle’s tech ecosystem, and a cautionary tale for investors.

    • Guest

      About time someone said it. The company is a contaminated wasteland.

    • Thomas R.

      Wow! It’s information like this that should have been covered by the tech blogs a long time ago. It’s too bad these days that most tech news articles are rehashes of press releases instead of investigative journalism with professional skepticism.

      • Adam

        It’s not hard to do investigative journalism on the Lockerz mess. Journalists are obviously too afraid to go there. This story about Savitt and Lockerz and the fact that they got away with it is a known topic of conversation in town.

    • Guest

      Good story! Any proof?

      • Adam Savitt

        Lots of proof. Just interview any former employee and you will get the skinny on everything.

        • Guest

          Would you kindly bring one in to the discussion? Kathy Diamond, according to LinkedIn, has not worked for Lockerz.

          Kathy’s comment is piquant, but without proof, I’m afraid we’re not allowed to use it.

          • Tricia

            Look up ex employees on LInkedin and contact them.

  • charm

    Stabingas was an SVP? Hmm, you might want to check with Bezos, John Cook. Your data is about as clean as Lockerz’.

    • johnhcook

      Just to be clear, that information comes directly from the press release, which I posted in full.

  • Adam Savitt

    Someone really should do an investigative piece on all of the shady practices of Lockerz. From extramarital affairs (cough cough, does my name tell you anything?) to the lengths they would go to get funding and the extreme churn, Lockerz was one of the most disgusting startups known to man, all at the hands of Kathy Savitt.

  • long9052

    John – Do your homework and focus on this company’s past, not what they’re doing now. You’ll uncover *a lot* more this way. *hint hint*

    • johnhcook

      Agreed. There is a lot more to this story.

      • Guest

        The fact that Kathy Savitt went through four CMOs (you read correctly, FOUR) in a span of a year will tell you something. By the end, she gave up and didn’t hire a replacement because nobody in their right mind with an ethical marketing background wanted to spit out her lies Her entire HR team also left within a year, because, HR has a conscience, and that of course, didn’t go over well with a CEO who loved to believe her own lies.

        It’s an outrage this woman is the Yahoo CMO. She can’t use Lockerz has her springboard because Lockerz failed miserably (a failure we all saw coming about 4 years ago). And with a company that received more than $60M in funding, that is pretty inexcusable and irresponsible.

  • Kelly

    Someone in the Bay area will break this story. Too many people with first hand knowledge of what happened are starting to talk because they are outraged by the fact that Savitt has bamboozled yet another set of people at Yahoo! ….and is getting away with it. It’s very unsettling to a lot of people.

  • Former Lockerz Accountant

    I feel really bad for Yahoo! and LITB. I just wish people were actually aware Kathy asked us to ignore GAAP and “cook the books”.

    • Former Lockerz Employee

      Or that time where some insiders created a “fake” company, bought ads at an extraordinarily high rate from Lockerz and then showed off to investors how many ads they were selling.

  • Former Lockerz Employee

    These posts make me sick as a former Lockerz employee even though I was not part of management. Robin is the woman behind it who went psycho on Kathy and Mark and was fired along with her flying monkeys. Before she went though and even now (two years later), she continues to call us ex-employees for “coffee” to trash the company and management with these lies. Sure, I would have loved to make some money but Lockerz was ahead of its time and sadly missed its window. Kathy is brilliant and honest. She had a vision and we put everything we had into trying to build it. Mark was a great financial guy from amazon and Robin’s bullshit routine is a sham.

    • Truth Teller

      “Sure I would have loved to make some money but Lockerz was ahead of its time and sadly missed its window.” Quite an ignorant and dismissive comment considering the fact that this company received more than $60M in funding, was completely unethical in its marketing practices and the fact that its founder and CEO left after merely three years. Now this company has been acquired by a no name commerce company based overseas selling imitation tablets. What a real success!

      Spit out your defensive pathetic lies elsewhere. All of Seattle and Silicon Valley know the real truth.

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