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AlleyWatch the largest organization focused on NYC Tech, in partnership with Marketing Architects celebrates the work of these individuals that serve as a catalyst for nextgen commerce innovation within the NYC Tech ecosystem.

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Marketing Architects

Marketing Architects is an advertising agency with a 22-year history of helping companies reach major milestones. By investing our own capital into each TV campaign, we disrupt the high costs and low accountability of traditional agencies to move performance brands forward and company growth upward. Fast-growing brands such as Touch of Modern, Brandless, Coursera, and Simple Habit work with us to drive high-impact business results from TV.
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Mariah Chase

ELOQUII

65% of women in the US wear clothing sizes 14 through 24, a segment of the fashion industry that represents a $17.5B per annum market. But that $17.5B is only 16% of the total spend on women's clothing.
Mariah Chase, the CEO of ELOQUII and a noted expert in fashion, retail, and digital commerce, is on a mission to provide fast-fashion to this underserved market. ELOQUII was initially launched by fashion brand The Limited in 2011 and later closed when the parent company restructured. Chase was recruited as CEO, by former employees that had worked on the brand, to re-open and revitalize the brand as an independent direct-to-consumer brand following an outcry from the plus-size community in 2013. Last year, Chase led the sale of the ELOQUII to Walmart for a reported $100M.
Intensely focused on customer engagement, under Chase's direction, ELOQUII pioneered several technologies and channels such as strengthening customer relationships through personalized messaging, data-based marketing, and cart abandonment reminders that are now omnipresent in the e-commerce customer experience. With Chase at the helm, ELOQUII raised a total of $21M in funding from investors that include Greycroft, FJ Labs, Acton Capital Partners, Grace Beauty Capital, Female Founders Fund, Max Ventures, Blue Sky Private Equity, HDS Capital, and Karlani Capital.
ELOQUII wasn't Chase's first entrepreneurial venture. A repeat entrepreneur, prior to ELOQUII, she cofounded Send the Trend, an e-commerce site for personalized accessories that was acquired by QVC in 2012. The Harvard graduate started her career in various business roles both in-house at and working with leading accessory and fashion brands that include Jimmy Choo, Cole Haan, David Yurman, and John Hardy.

John McPheters

Stadium Goods

The sneaker resale industry is booming; no longer a cottage industry for hobbyists. According to Bain & Co., the sneaker luxury market crossed $4B last year, with sneakers outpacing overall luxury sales growth. The sneaker resale market is estimated to be approaching $1B per annum and shows no signs of slowing down. A trip down to lower Soho confirms this as you'll see several specialized sneaker stores with scores of sneakerheads popping in and out, waiting to get an opportunity to buy and sell the latest sneakers. The growth of several sneaker marketplaces has created a burgeoning formal sneaker economy.
Stadium Goods and its Cofounder and Co-CEO John McPheters are one of the reasons for the systemic birth of this nascent industry. Nascent may be the wrong word as Stadium Goods was acquired for $250M last year by European E-commerce giant FarFetch. The aftermarket for sneakers continues to grow and Stadium Goods sits at the forefront. McPheters is no stranger to the sneaker business as he held roles at Flight Club and ran social on the Nike account for an agency, prior to launching Stadium Goods.
With McPheters at the helm, Stadium Goods had raised a total of $17.1M from prominent investors that include LMVH Luxury Ventures and Forerunner Ventures before its acquisition. In the summer of 2019, McPheters orchestrated a partnership with luxury auction house Sotheby's to auction off 99 of the 100 rarest sneakers. The lot fetched over $1.3M.
Today, Stadium Goods consignment resale operation is thriving; the company receives approximately 2,200 pairs of just Yeezys DAILY from hopeful resellers. The company takes a percentage of each sale and given that sneakers are constantly being bought and sold, there's a good possibility that a sneaker can end up being sold multiple times on Stadium Goods' platforms or in its Soho store. How's that for LTV?

Ilir Sela

Slice

If you think about your favorite slice of pizza, chances are that it comes from a local mom and pop pizzeria. Most of these local shops are paying closer attention to sourcing local fresh ingredients and perfecting their sauce rather than leveraging technology effectively for their businesses. The growth of delivery and ordering platforms have meant more revenue for many pizzerias but at a significant cost, where often they are paying fees of up to 30% of the price of an order.
Ilir Sela, CEO and Founder, of Slice knew that this would not be sustainable for the long term. The US pizza market is $45B and local operations count for 62% of the market. When Sela's parents and close associates asked for help in digitizing their menus and then inquired about online ordering options for their pizzerias, Sela had his ìAHAî moment. The Staten Island native launched Slice in 2010, after selling his first company Nerd Force, to formalize the work he was doing for his family and friends.
Today, users on the platform can order pizza through the Slice app from over 11,000 pizzerias in over 2000 cities across the entire United States. For pizzeria owners, Slice is an easy-to-use seamless platform that brings their cherished offerings to the masses through the power of the internet, handling order, payment, and customer service. Slice charges a mere $1.95 per order to restaurants, a night and world difference between the various percentages that the typical food delivery platforms charge.
Slice's success didn't happen overnight. Sela for the first several years operated the business alone, manually calling in orders, and building up the brand and restaurants on the platform. In 2015, the company's bootstrapped efforts started gaining momentum and Sela secured a seed investment. Since, Sela has grown the team to over 500 and has closed additional investment from investors that include RiverPark Ventures, GGV Capital, and Primary Venture Partners.

Marketing Architects

Marketing Architects is an advertising agency with a 22-year history of helping companies reach major milestones. By investing our own capital into each TV campaign, we disrupt the high costs and low accountability of traditional agencies to move performance brands forward and company growth upward. Fast-growing brands such as Touch of Modern, Brandless, Coursera, and Simple Habit work with us to drive high-impact business results from TV.
LEARN MORE

Fabrice Grinda

FJ Labs

Serial entrepreneur-turned-investor Fabrice Grinda is one of the Founding Partners at FJ Labs, which he cofounded with Jose Marin in 2015. Grinda is a noted expert in marketplaces and consumer-facing startups. His deep understanding of the e-commerce landscape and where it is going becomes readily apparent in seconds if you ever get the chance to hear him speak.
A graduate of Princeton, Grinda landed a role at McKinsey out of college. It wasn't long before his entrepreneurial bug hit. He launched three successful companies in 8 years including Aucland, one of the top auction sites in Europe that was acquired for $80M. His last company OLX, the alternative to Craig's List and eBay outside of the United States, was acquired by Naspers in 2010. After the acquisition, Grinda remained at OLX and oversaw the expansion of the business through consolidation and acquisition of various online marketplaces globally. OLX alone was reported to be worth approximately $8B earlier this year.
An early investor in notable marketplaces like Alibaba, Lending Club, and Delivery Hero, Grinda formalized his investment activity through FJ Labs in 2015, which is primarily comprised of the partners' capital but does have some external LPs. The firm today invests globally and has made over 400 investments with 110 exits exceeding $300M. FJ Labs invests in anywhere from 50-100 startups per year with 70% in the US, 70% Seed, and 70% in marketplaces.
Notable NYC Startups in the portfolio include Adore Me, FanDuel, Letgo, and Penrose Hill. A champion of bringing transparency to previously opaque markets, in true spirit, Grinda is a part of a very limited number of investors that list all investments, both successful and unsuccessful, in an era where a failed investment is routinely deleted from a website portfolio page before the business is wound down. In fact, both Grinda's and FJ Labs failed investments have categorized their unsuccessful investments for the world to see on their sites. It helps that the Grinda's knack for selecting winners overshadows the ones that didn't make it.

Marc Lore

Walmart eCommerce

Marc Lore is the President and CEO of Walmart eCommerce in the US - an impressive title in and of itself. However, it's the path that Lore, a serial entrepreneur, took to get there that's even more impressive. Lore along with his childhood friend Vinit Bharara founded Quidsi, the parent company to Diapers.com. Amazon acquired the company for a cool $545M in 2011.
After two years at Amazon, in late 2013 Lore left Amazon to build his next venture Jet, an e-commerce destination positioned to be a direct competitor to Amazon and wholesale clubs like Costco. Lore was able to raise an impressive $200M+ for the company prior to its launch. Jet offered a new optimized pricing model to benefit both merchants and online shoppers by offering several types of pricing based on factors like quantity purchased, method of payment, and waiver of return rights. This model had never been used before in e-commerce at this scale. In its first year, Jet sold over $1B worth of merchandise. After 15 months, the company was acquired by Walmart for an even cooler $3.3B; $3B in cash and $300M in stock, yielding a very healthy return for early investors which included NYC venture firms Bain Capital Ventures, Primary Venture Partners, Thrive Capital, and Citi Ventures.
Upon the acquisition, Lore joined Walmart to lead its US e-commerce operations. Under Lore's stewardship, Walmart has acquired several digital-first brands to bolster its e-commerce growth including Bonobos, ELOQUII, and Bare Necessities. Lore also oversees Walmart Labs, the tech-focused division of Walmart that builds, invests in, and acquires technology to support Walmart's e-commerce infrastructure.

How to Use TV to Drive Your Acquisition

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SHARE THE 2019 E-COMMERCE TECH INFLUENCERS