Zulily Shares Jump 71% After IPO; Zulily has sheltered itself from having to compete with crosstown rival Amazon.com by focusing on flash-sales merchandise from specialized vendors.

Zulily Shares Jump 71% After IPO


Nov. 15, 2013 7:13 p.m. ET

Shares of online retailer Zulily Inc. jumped 71% in their debut Friday, a strong start as the Seattle company tries to compete in a space crowded by Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. Zulily has sheltered itself from having to compete with crosstown rival Amazon.com by focusing on merchandise from specialized vendors. The company sells items like charm bracelets and zebra-print pajamas primarily through short-term discounts, known as flash sales.The company is growing rapidly. Revenue in the first nine months of the year more than doubled to $438.7 million, and the company reported a narrow $155,000 profit, according to recent regulatory filings. By contrast, Twitter Inc., which had the year’s most hotly anticipated IPO last week, had $422.2 million in sales and lost $133.9 million over the same period. Its shares notched a 73% first-day gain.

Zulily made its debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market NDAQ -0.32% under the zymbol ZU. The company Thursday settled on a $22 initial price, aiming to raise $140 million, after boosting the price range to between $18 and $20 from $16 to $18.

It ended Friday at $37.70, giving Zulily a market capitalization of roughly $4.6 billion.

It was headed for one of the stronger e-commerce debuts this year. RetailMeNot, a coupon site, and ChannelAdvisor, an e-commerce strategy adviser, both jumped by about a third on their first days of trading.

“This shows that an e-commerce company with a strong, specific focus can be a success,” Chief Executive Darrell Cavens said in an interview. “It’s a good sign for others.”

Mr. Cavens said he’d use the funds to hire more workers and focus on new markets, such as so-called tweens, who are children not yet in their teenage years.

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz, an investor in Zulily through his venture capital firm Maveron, raked in about $58 million by selling 2.63 million shares—about 10% of his stake, based on the $22 offering price. Investors August Capital and Andreessen Horowitz each sold about 800,000 shares, netting them at least $17.6 million.

Mark Vadon, a co-founder of both Zulily and the jewelry website Blue Nile, is the single largest shareholder with a 30.3% stake. Mr. Cavens holds a 20.9% stake.

The flash-sales model could bolster IPO prospects for other e-commerce startups like Gilt Groupe and Wayfair, which has said it could release plans to go public as soon as late next year.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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