After bringing on a new global business lead from Google, Square is making another key executive hire today. The payments company is announcing that Alex Petrov, a former PayPal exec, will be Square’s Vice President of Partnerships.
Petrov was most recently the vice president of retail marketing at PayPal, where he was responsible for merchant marketing and helping launch PayPal into offline retail. He was previously the vice president of consumer brands at Safeway, where he led the marketing and growth of Safeway’s private brands portfolio, including launching over 1,000 new products. Petrov was also a marketing executive at Nestlé.
“Square’s passion for innovation and its relentless focus on the customer experience completely change how retailers can do business,” said Petrov in a release. “I look forward to bringing Square to merchants of all sizes, from local businesses to the largest retailers in the world.”
Square, who just updated its iPad register app to be more restaurant-friendly, says that its adoption among merchants is growing at a faster rate on iPads, where customers are using Square as a full point-of-sale system. iPad customers now represent nearly 50 percent of total payments processed by Square. The average payment volume processed by these customers is also more than double the average volume processed by Square customers using smartphones.
More high-profile brands and partnerships like the Starbucks deal could be helpful for Square when it comes to marketing and branding. We’re told that Petrov will be working on forming these types of partnerships, as well as strategic business development and customer acquisition for Square.
Design-focused retail site Fab has announced its new pivot, along with an acquisition and much more.
As we reported last week, Fab now has 12 million users and is continuing to grow at a fast clip after its initial pivot. Last year, the company saw $150 million in revenue, and revealed in February that sales were up by nearly 300% in January 2013 over January 2012. International is also a huge potential growth area for the company.
Fab has 1 million members in the UK, which is generating nearly 40% of its sales in Europe and is its fastest growing market outside the U.S. The company has sold more than 7 million items, with one product sold every seven seconds. Mobile is also a huge growth area, with one-third of sales being placed via mobile.
According to the company, Fab will double revenue in 2013, and should reach $250 million in 2013 sales. Interestingly, Fab says that most of its revenue is not derived from flash sales, which was the initial model Fab adopted after its pivot in 2011. As we wrote in this profile of the company, Fab infamously pivoted from Fabulis, which was a social network for the gay community, into a flash sales site. Fab says that two-third of sales are currently not from the flash-sales on the site.
This second pivot is less dramatic but definitely meaningful. Fab is now branding itself as a design store, and now has a unified technology experience across its iPad, iPhone and web apps. The company is revealing a complete redesign which makes it more of an integrated e-commerce site. You can now access design pages by room, type of furniture, color, designer and more.
Another twist in the pivot: Fab is partnering with designers to manufacture and sell home furnishings exclusively through Fab. Fab is also producing and manufacturing its own line of products and home goods. Additionally, Fab has acquired German custom furniture store Massivkonzept, which the company says is profitable and has a $10 million revenue run rate. The idea behind Massivkonzept is that it allows you to essentially design your own furniture online. You configure shelving, table, and seating systems online and choose the dimensions, color, and materials on your designs. The company turns this into actual, well-designed furniture.
Lastly, Fab, like Warby Parker and other e-commerce sites; now has a brick and mortar presence with a new retail store in Hamburg, Germany. Fab will test physical retail environments and different types of retail formats in Hamburg and in other markets. Germany isn’t a huge surprise for the first in-store presence; 60% of European revenue comes from Germany and Austria.
Clearly this is a big part of co-founder Jason Goldberg’s vision for how Fab will compete in e-commerce in a post Amazon world Fab sells products that aren’t listed on Amazon, and with this pivot, the company continues to focus its retail efforts away from Amazon’s core business. In fact, 90% of Fab’s products sold cannot be found on any other major website.
So how is Fab funding this expansion? We’re hearing the company is raising more than $100 million in funding at a $1 billion valuation. The company previously raised $171 million from Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, SoftTech VC, Menlo Ventures, Baroda Ventures, Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary, Thrive Capital, Kevin Rose, SV Angel, The Washington Post and others.
The HTC One, the Taiwanese company’s flagship smartphone device, goes on sale today across the U.S. at retail stores including AT&T, Sprint, Best Buy, Walmart Target and more, as well as online via those retailers, HTC itself, Amazon and beyond. The phone has already been highly praised by early reviews and anyone who seems to have gotten their lucky mitts on one, but will that be enough to sway consumers?
HTC has arguably not made a truly bad phone in at least the past two years, and last year the HTC One X truly excelled. But that hasn’t stopped HTC’s earnings from sliding for five consecutive quarters now. The One, which is as significant a break from tradition in terms of how Android smartphones are designed as any we’ve yet seen, is the company’s big bet to turn things around, and they appear to have spared no effort.
The One has a unibody full metal body design, a first for a smartphone, as well as speakers that don’t suck, itself an achievement for any kind of phone. Reviews of the UltraPixel camera have been good, too, with Mobile Syrup calling it “the best low-light camera you can buy.” And the HTC software features, including BlinkFeed and HTC Zoe, are also drawing praise from press and reviewers.
HTC has a big mountain to climb in terms of coming anywhere close to competing with Android juggernaut Samsung, or Apple and its iPhone in terms of market share. But the HTC One is the best chances anyone has had of doing so in a long time. If only they’d left Van Der Beek out of this.
For those looking to pick one up today, here’s a full list of its current U.S. availability direct from HTC:
The new HTC One in silver is available nationwide at:
- AT&T: Online and in retail with 32GB of memory for $199.99, or online with 64GB of memory for $299.99 with a two-year commitment.
- Sprint: Online and in retail with 32GB of memory for $199.99 with a two-year commitment.
- Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart, Target, Amazon.com, Costco, Car Toys, Sam’s Club, HSN.com andHTC.com.
- Coming soon to T-Mobile in silver with 32GB of memory, and available in the coming weeks in black at AT&T and Sprint with 32GB of memory.
Online commerce is splitting into haves and have-nots as software eats up not just the world, but the mall. For every meteoric success story like Warby Parker’s or even Zulily’s, you have the bumpier narratives of Shoedazzle or Gilt, or the quiet defeat of hundreds of subscription commerce startups you’ve never even heard of.
We’ve brought together some of the leaders in the space to talk about issues like mobile, customer acquisition, the Pinterest effect and how to succeed in a post-Amazon world. Warby Parker’s Dave Gilboa, Everlane’s Michael Preysman, Nasty Gal’s Deborah Benton and Wanelo’s Deena Varshavkaya will join us at Disrupt New York to shed some light on how the Internet can do better than brick and mortar.
And speaking of purchasing stuff online, buy your Disrupt NY tickets here.
Founder, Warby Parker
Dave Gilboa is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker, a transformative fashion brand offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.
Prior to Warby Parker, Dave was an Associate at merchant bank Allen & Company and, earlier, worked at Bain & Company. He also served as Special Assistant to the Founder and CEO of the TriZetto Group, and has held strategy and business development roles at Genomic Health and Crescendo Bioscience.
Dave has worked extensively with non-profit organizations, and serves as a founding member of the Entrepreneur Board of Venture for America, an organization dedicated to mobilizing graduates as entrepreneurs in low-cost cities.
Born in Sweden and raised in San Diego, Dave graduated with a BS in Bioengineering with Honors from UC Berkeley and holds an MBA from Wharton Business School.
Michael Preysman is the founder and CEO of Everlane.
Prior to starting Everlane, he was an investor at Elevation Partners for both their New York and Menlo Park offices investing in media and entertainment companies.
Michael enjoys sitting at the intersection of design and technology.
He graduated from Carnegie Mellon with degrees in Computer Engineering and Economics.
Deborah is a seasoned consumer retail executive with a specific passion for industries focused on women. As president and COO of Nasty Gal, a global online retail destination for fashion-forward, free-thinking women, Deborah is focused on delivering an incredible shopping experience to each and every customer as well as ensuring the company has the infrastructure, resources and technology required to scale the business through tremendously rapid growth.
Prior to Nasty Gal, Deborah was COO of ShoeDazzle, an online women’s fashion retail site that provides stylist curated selections within personal showrooms, where she oversaw Merchandising, Client Services and all sourcing and operations. Earlier, Deborah served as Executive Vice President, Operations and Inside Sales at Teleflora, managing a $100 MM P&L and over 125 employees across multiple departments.
Deborah began her retail career as part of the pre‐IPO team at eToys as Director of Customer Service Strategy, managing large-scale call center and operations initiatives. Deborah’s business career began as a management consultant at the Mitchell Madison Group. Deborah holds an MBA and BA in Health from Queen’s University (Canada).
Deena Varshavskaya is the founder and CEO of Wanelo (“wah-nee-lo,” from Want, Need, Love), an online community for all of the world’s shopping. Wanelo is democratizing and transforming the world’s commerce by reorganizing shopping around people.
Originally from Siberia, Deena launched her first web startup straight out of college, only to learn that she loved designing websites, but knew nothing about design. She then pursued user experience design working for a social network and later established her own design agency.
After realizing the need for a radically different shopping experience that empowers the individual, Deena launched Wanelo in late 2010. Today, Wanelo is an advertising-free shopping environment with hundreds of thousands of stores and is a growing movement of millions of people.
Image via Judy Baxter
Samsung has thrown down another gauntlet in its battle with Apple. This time, the Korean electronics giant is going head-to-head with Apple stores by opening retail boutiques, called ‘Samsung Experience Shops,’ in 1,400 Best Buy locations by the beginning of June. Stores will start operating in all of Best Buy’s big-box stores by May 1 and at smaller stores by June 1, around the same time as the Galaxy S4′s release date in the second quarter of this year.
The new stores will join Samsung’s first prototype location in Lewisville, Texas. Samsung previously had no retail spaces of its own in the U.S. and its Best Buy stores are intended to help it grab customer eyeballs and dollars away from Apple and Microsoft’s own stores (Apple also has retail spaces in Best Buy). Each of Samsung’s boutiques will be about 460 square feet and offer Samsung smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and accessories. The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung’s spaces will be larger than Apple’s and allow customers to purchase Samsung items without having to go through the main checkout line.
Samsung hopes having its own boutique spaces will boost its brand recognition among U.S. customers and allow staffers to show how its smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs can work together, potentially boosting sales of devices. In turn, Best Buy may be able to gain an edge on competitors like Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and Target by offering boutiques where customers can see demos and try out products. Sales at Best Buy stores open for at least 14 months fell 2.9 percent last year, its third straight annual decline.
The rest is here: Samsung To Open Retail Boutiques In 1,400 Best Buy Stores