Top Ten E-Commerce Startups in LA: 2nd Edition

Back in July I released the first edition of My Top 10 List of E-commerce Startups in LA. A lot has changed since July, and below is an update to my list.

Startups based on the subscription model have slipped down the list – despite the massive amounts they have raised – in favor of startups with proven business models (e.g. NastyGal). There have been several articles documenting some of the struggles of the subscription model. Most notably Brian O’Malley’s article in AllThingsD.

Notably, the below startups have raised over $350M. See the chart at the bottom of this post for additional key facts about these startups.

  1. Nasty Gal – Nasty Gal is a global online destination for both new and vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories.
  2. The Honest Company – The Honest Company is a consumer products company that delivers non-toxic, eco-friendly diapers and biodegradable wipes, organic bath/skin care and green cleaning products. Co-Founded by Jessica Alba.
  3. Beachmint – BeachMint is a social commerce company specializing in celebrity-curated direct-to-consumer products.
  4. JustFab – JustFab designs and sells its own brand of shoes, jewelry and handbags, and charges subscribers a flat $39.95 for each item.
  5. Shoedazzle – ShoeDazzle offers personalized shoe, handbag and accessory recommendations chosen by a team of A-list stylists, including co-founder Kim Kardashian.
  6. Little Black Bag – Social shopping and trading for designer handbags, jewelry, accessories, beauty and home decor
  7. Dollar Shave Club – The Dollar Shave Club is a service that delivers fresh razors to your doorstep, monthly, for a fraction of the cost of the grocery-store equivalent.
  8. Wittlebee – Wittlebee is a kids clothing club that creates custom packages for parents based on their child’s age, color preferences, geographic location and more.
  9. Shop-Hers – Shop-Hers is a socially-inspired, user-driven, e-commerce, marketplace where women sell and buy premium label, pre-owned clothing and accessories
  10. Daily Look – DailyLook sells one new fashion look every day for under $100.

Eleventh Man Award: TripleThread – Launched this week out of the Science Incubator in LA, TripleThread is a push-based commerce platform that allows retailers to offer stylist-selected, shop at home service to customers.

Twelfth Man Award: StyleHaul – StyleHaul is the largest original video content network on YouTube for fashion and beauty. Not quite e-commerce but relevant and interesting.

Key Facts:


Fashion Fridays: November 2, 2012

After over a month off, I’m returning to the Fashion Fridays series. See this post for some background on Fashion Fridays. This week’s outfit includes a woman’s touch, as it was compiled by my wife Natalie – check out her blog here and enjoy this week’s look.

ONE. =  Burberry Brit – Chunky-Knit Check Merino Wool Sweater, $695, Mr.Porter
TWO. = Club Monoco – Baseball Cap, $59.99, Club Monoco
THREE. = Loro Piana – Lightweight Plaid Cashmere Scarf, $800, Mr. Porter
FOUR. =  J Springs – Automatic Retro Future Mens Watch, $230, eBags
FIVE. =  Acqua di ParmaColonia – Eau de Cologne Travel Spray, $80, BergdorfGoodman
SIX. = J.Crew – MacAlister Upcountry Boots, $185 , J.Crew
SEVEN. = Lee – “Powell” Jeans, $200, TOPMAN


UofM’s Entrepalooza 2012

The University of Michigan‘s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies will host their annual entrepreneurship conference, Entrepalooza, tomorrow in partnership with the Ross School of Business and the Entrepreneurship and Venture Club.

Anil Arora, President and CEO of Yodlee will be our keynote speaker, and should provide a very interesting perspective. Anil is a ’84 UofM MBA grad. He started his post-MBA career at Kraft and eventually moved on to Gateway Computers before taking the top job at Yodlee. At Yodlee he grew the company from 10 employees to 1,000.

There are also four panel discussions that will happen after the keynote address. I have the privilege of moderating a panel titled “Financing Your New Venture: The Structure of a Deal”. The panelist consist of Marcia Hatch – Corporate and Securities Partner at Gunderson Dettmer, Tony Grover – Founder and Managing Director at RPM Ventures, and Jen Baird – CEO Accio Energy. A further description of the panel is below. Feel free to tweet any questions you have for the panel using hashtag #UMGunderson. I will post a link to a recording of the panel early next week.

Panel Description:
Financing Your New Venture: The Structure of a Deal
Calling all prospective VCs, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and startup groupies: come learn the key economic and oversight rights that are negotiated during a venture capital financing. Whether you are planning to raise venture funding in the near future or you simply want to better understand the startup ecosystem, you need a firm grasp on the structure of a venture financing. A diverse panel made up of a seasoned venture capitalist, a serial entrepreneur, and an established Silicon Valley startup lawyer will discuss the most important terms of an early-stage venture financing. They will also provide advice on how to negotiate specific terms. Don’t delay – it’s never too early to understand the key terms of raising venture capital.
Jennifer Baird, CEO, Accio Energy

Tony Grover, Co-Founder & Managing Director, RPM Ventures
Marcia Hatch (JD ’97), Corporate & Securities Partner, Gunderson Dettmer
ModeratorMatthew Newman (MBA ’13), Ross School of Business



Top Ten E-Commerce Startups in LA: #6 DailyLook

Returning to my list of the Top 10 E-Commerce Startups in LA, DailyLook is ranked #6.

DailyLook is a flash sales site that sells one new look each day, and the look remains available for 36 hours. Meaning that on any day you can shop up to 3 different looks. Customers can purchase the entire outfit or select pieces. The entire outfits retail for $100 or less.

DailyLook’s approach to flash sales allows it to change the focus from steep discounts to fashion and personal curation.

DailyLook was founded by Brian Ree (CEO), Michael Kim (CMO), and Eric Marston (CTO). Brian Ree was previously the Founder of PokerLetter, the largest poker strategy newsletter in the world, which was acquired by FullTiltPoker in 2007. The company has gained 250K members since launching in October of 2011, and recently raised an undisclosed seed round.

Key Points:

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Founded: June, 2011
  • Launched: October 2011
  • Initial Venture Funding: Undisclosed
  • Total Amt Raised: Undisclosed
  • Current Investors: Undisclosed

I’ll be sure to update the above funding stats once the company goes public with this information.


Fashion Fridays: August 31, 2012

Today is my last day as an intern in the Jewelry and Watches Category at Amazon. Thought I would feature all products from Amazon’s J+W category in honor of my last day. Take a look!

1.) Ettika – Men’s Silver Colored Pure Denim Braided Leather Bracelet, $44.00 $28.09, Amazon
2.) Breitling – Chrono-matic 1461 Automatic Chronograph Men’s Watch, $9,940.00 $6,162.80, Amazon
3.) Ettika – Men’s Onyx Stretch Bracelet w/Large Brass Cornerless Bead, $45.00,  Amazon
4.) U-Boat – Men’s 1905 Flightdeck Watch, $3,950.00, Amazon
5.) Michael Kors – Men’s Classic Canvas Strap Watch w/Black Chrono Dial, $225.00 $188.50, Amazon
6.) M.Cohen Handmade Designs – Multi-Wrap w/Sterling Silver Anchor on Wax Cord, $220.00, Amazon
7.) Diesel – Men’s Advanced Watch, $195.00 $156.09, Amazon
8.) Oxford Ivy – Braided Dark Brown Leather Men’s Bracelet, $49.95 $14.95, Amazon


Fashion Fridays: August 24, 2012

I’m currently looking for a new cardholder so I thought I would share some options as this weeks Fashion Fridays. I think I’ll go with the Mismo.

My final presentation at Amazon is this Monday…I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging more often later next week.

1.) J.Crew – Leather Card Holder, $29.50, J.Crew
2.) Mismo – Canvas with Leather Trim Cardholder, $80, Park & Bond
3.) Tod’s – Flat Card Case, $125, Barneys New York
4.) Jack Spade – Mozan Leather Credit Card Holder, $75, Jack Spade
4.) Burberry – Tonal Check Card Case, $150, Park & Bond


Fashion Fridays: August 17, 2012

While putting this weeks Fashion Fridays together I was reminded that Zara’s e-commerce browsing experience is the best on the web. If you haven’t shopped their site, do so now. Also, download their iPhone app, it is equally impressive.

I also noticed that Nordstrom rolled out a “dressing room” feature, which allows you to add items you like to your virtual dressing room where you can see them all on a virtual canvas (i.e. style board). It is an interesting feature, but not quite as good as H&M’s virtual dressing room. H&M’s “dressing room” feature allows you to put clothes on a model and see how they look. This is a much better feature, but of course H&M doesn’t allow you to buy online.

Check out this weeks look:

1.) Gant Rugger – Unstructured Cotton-Piqué Blazer, $600, Mr. Porter
2.) Citizens of Humanity – Sid Straight Leg Jean, $172, Park & Bond
3.) J.Crew – Slim Secret Wash Lightweight Shirt In Bridgeport Plaid, $69.50, J.Crew
4.) Zara – Brushed Oxford Shoe, $99.90, Zara


Top Ten E-Commerce Startups in LA: #7 Wittlebee

Wittlebee is number seven on My Top Ten List of E-commerce Startups in LA. Wittlebee is a subscription commerce clothing retailer that sells clothes for kids six and younger.

Like most subscription services, Wittlebee has you take a quick survey when you sign up, and this survey is then used to determine the size and style of the clothes you will receive. A Wittlebee subscription costs $39.99 per month and can be cancelled at any time. Each subscription includes one monthly box of six clothing items that are said to retail for approximately $100. I actually tested the service a couple months ago and enjoyed the experience. I am sure the experience is even better now that they’re an additional two months into their development cycle. Check out some pictures from my test below.

Wittlebee was founded by Sean Percival, ex-VP of Online Marketing for Myspace.

Wittlebee, like Dollar Shave Club (#8 on my list), was spun out of the Science incubator in Los Angeles. Wittlebee raised a $2.5Mil seed round in March 2012 from Rincon, SoftTech, Google Ventures, and others.

Key Points:

  • Location: Santa Monica, CA
  • Founded: January 2012
  • Launched: February 2012
  • Initial Venture Funding: March 2012
  • Total Amt Raised: ~$2.5Mil
  • Current Investors: Rincon, SoftTech, Google Ventures, Matt Coffin, CrossLink, and Morado

Pictures from test:


Top Ten E-Commerce Startups in L.A.: #8 Dollar Shave Club

The Dollar Shave Club is the eighth startup on My Top Ten List of E-commerce Startups in LA. The Dollar Shave Club is the first, and one of the only, men’s e-commerce sites to be featured on my list.

Dollar Shave Club offers a monthly subscription service for men’s razors. The company offers three types of razors: The Executive ($9/month), The 4x ($6/month), and The Humble Twin ($1/month).

The company was started out of the founders’ frustration of paying too much for razors and the hassle that resulted from forgetting to pick up razors when at the grocery store. It was also founded at the perfect time as the subscription model had been gaining steam across all e-commerce categories. The Dollar Shave Club doesn’t manufacture or design its own razor blades, it instead  buys them in bulk from “white-label” manufacturers. At this point, the main reason to use Dollar Shave Club is for its value and convenience, but I imagine they are building a much bigger brand around men’s personal care supplies.

The Dollar Shave Club has done a fantastic job marketing its service. The company is best known for the viral video they released at their launch. The video has since received 5.8Mil views on YouTube and has been recognized as a benchmark for viral marketing. Check out the video below:

The company was launched out of the Science incubator in Los Angeles. The founding team consists of Michael Dubin, ex-Sports Illustrated – Digital Marketing Director, and Mark Levine.

Dollar Shave Club has raised ~$1Mil from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, Forerunner Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Felicis Ventures, and a few angels.

Key Points:

  • Location: Santa Monica, CA
  • Founded: January 2011
  • Launched: March 2012
  • Initial Venture Funding: March 2012
  • Total Amt Raised: ~$1Mil
  • Current Investors: Kleiner, Andreessen Horowitz, Forerunner, Shasta, and others