In less than a year after leaving Amazon, Quidsi co-founder Marc Lore began work on a new startup called Jet.com. Today, the company is officially announcing it has raised an additional $20 million in growth capital from Western Technology Investments, and a $5 million asset-backed facility from Silicon Valley Bank, bringing its Series A round to a total of $80 million at its close.
Previously, Jet.com had raised $55 million from NEA with participation from Accel Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and MentorTech Ventures.
Lore, who sold Quidsi (the company behind a number of single-word e-commerce brands like Diapers.com, Soap.com, Casa.com and more) to Amazon for $550 million in 2010, is returning to his e-commerce roots with Jet.com, which he’s building along with two other Quidsi co-founders, former VP of special operations Nathan Faust, and project director Mike Hanrahan.
The new startup has been fairly stealthy about what it’s up to, but Lore reveals a little more today in a blog post posted to his Tumblr, where he talks a bit about Jet’s “new kind of e-commerce experience,” which he describes as “uniquely grounded in transparency and customer empowerment.”
Though he doesn’t expose what exactly Jet.com will do, he hints around the problems it’s solving, by asking questions that Jet aims to answer, like:
“What are the hidden costs in e-commerce? Are there aspects of e-commerce that don’t make sense? And most importantly, how do we expose these inefficiencies and empower customers to eliminate them?”
In an earlier blog post, Lore touted the logistics inefficiencies that Quidsi had helped solve, which is how it achieved a large and passionate customer base, but noted that there is “still more we can do” to bring more transparency and efficiency to the e-commerce market.
According to reports, Jet.com will differentiate itself from larger competitors by focusing on pricing products by how close they are to the buyer, allowing customers to choose lower cost items that arrive faster. This fits in well with the shift toward local commerce and same-day delivery, which a number of companies are now experimenting with, including Amazon, Google, eBay, Walmart, Instacart and others, in varying degrees. However, these services today are mainly satisfying on-demand shopping needs in denser urban markets, rather than something that could scale to serve the larger e-commerce marketplace.
Jet.com will also have a mobile component, it appears, based on job postings for iOS and Android engineers.
Amazon, a fierce rival which effectively strong-armed its way into buying Quidsi, is also tackling these so-called inefficiencies in e-commerce with rapidly shrinking delivery windows, so it’s unclear at this point how Jet.com’s online marketplace will compete. But given Lore’s background and experience, it should be a notable company to watch.
Jet.com’s website today promises the service is “coming in 2015.”