As it continues to grow, OfferUp will have another guiding voice in its corner with experience building a fast-growing retail operation in the Pacific Northwest: Darrell Cavens, co-founder and CEO of Zulily, the Seattle-based flash sales site for moms and kids.
Cavens has joined OfferUp’s board as its first independent board member, the Bellevue, Wash.-based online marketplace said. Cavens joins the board at an important time for OfferUp, as the Craigslist competitor raised $119 million last September to put it over a $1 billion valuation and landed $11 million more in November.
Cavens joins the board composed of OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar, Jeff Jordan of Andreessen Horowitz, Justin Sadrian of Warburg Pincus, angel investor Serena Glover and Josh Breinlinger of Jackson Square Ventures.
Cavens told GeekWire that he has known Huzar for several years, and given him advice from time to time. Last summer, Huzar reached out to Cavens about joining the board, and the two began talking. Cavens said he was wowed by what OfferUp’s team has already done, as well as its potential.
“They are customer obsessed and laser-focused on creating the best customer experience possible, focused on the details, the simplicity of the experience, and are true innovators in their space,” Cavens said. “It reminds me a lot of Zulily in the early days, and I thought I could help them with some of the lessons I learned along the way about scaling a business.”
Cavens said he has not invested personally in OfferUp, but several of Zulily’s original investors have.
Cavens said there are lessons for OfferUp in both the ups and downs he has experienced with Zulily, which sold to home-shopping giant QVC in 2015 after a turbulent time where its stock sunk significantly, following a series of earnings misses. The two companies have different models, but are focused on the important details it takes to succeed and are doing so in non-traditional ways, Cavens said.
In a statement, Huzar praised Cavens’ career in e-commerce and said he can teach OfferUp a lot as the company continues to grow.
“As a successful entrepreneur in building consumer brands at massive scale, Darrell’s unique perspective will be invaluable to OfferUp as we set our sights on this next wave of local marketplace growth,” Huzar said. “We’re honored to have him join us as our first independent board member and look forward to adding his expertise as we work to build the simplest and most trustworthy local buying and selling experience.”
Cavens spent close to a decade as CTO and senior vice president at Blue Nile, and then went to work at Microsoft for about a year before co-founding Zulily in 2009. He also worked at Starwave, a Seattle-based internet company, where he helped put together web properties for companies like ABC and ESPN.
Cavens said he isn’t coming on board to run OfferUp and the board’s job is to help leadership in whatever way is needed. Cavens said he looks forward to using his experience building Zulily to guide the OfferUp team in its quest to become the premiere online market for buying and selling goods.
“I believe OfferUp is going after a huge market and I don’t think any of us yet know just how big the opportunity can be,” Cavens said. “They’ve invested and innovated in different ways to create a trusted and safe environment, which has differentiated their experience and I believe will be a key to their success.”