Fab’s Jason Goldberg Talks Design And The Art Of The Pivot At Disrupt Europe

TechCrunch Disrupt Europe is taking place from 18-21st October 2014 in London. You can grab your ticket right here. A free Hackathon kicks off the event, which you can apply for here.

Then, on the following Monday and Tuesday, we’ll have Startup Battlefield and an awesome lineup of speakers and panels. Among them will be Jason Goldberg, co-founder and CEO of design portal Fab, and now Hem.

Goldberg knows a thing or two about starting companies — he’s done it five times now — and he knows about the art of the pivot when things don’t go quite the way you planned for them to — there are several of these under his belt, too. And he knows about building businesses in the U.S. but also in Europe.

Goldberg’s latest company, Hem, is a prime example of how Goldberg takes lemons and makes lemonade. A vertically integrated, online furniture portal, Hem designs, sells and distributes a selection of tables, chairs and other pieces, inspired by simple, modernist aesthetics. Hem is not headquartered not in the U.S. — where Goldberg is from — but in Berlin, Germany. Hem launched just this week.

It didn’t start out of thin air. Goldberg’s last/other company, Fab, saw rapid growth after it opened for business in 2011, reaching a $1 billion valuation by 2013. Goldberg rode his unicorn into Europe and built up the business there, fast.

But then, Fab and Goldberg stumbled on to a problem. Scaling a marketplace — where you work with hundreds of third-party merchants and have to maintain consistent stock and meet fluctuating demands — proved to be too much of a challenge. Yet instead of shutting up shop, Goldberg rethought how to go forward. With the backing of his investors, he bought a few companies that had been leaders in the furniture space, pared down the older business massively, repositioned and rebranded.

The result is Hem, selling hundreds rather than thousands of items, with a much tighter grip on what is sold and how it is distributed. It’s a new roll of the dice for Fab, which has now ceased to exist outside of the U.S. Goldberg is now basing himself in Berlin, doubling down on the new venture.

Join us in London to hear from Goldberg about the ups and downs of the e-commerce, what happens next to Fab, and why furniture and vertical integration are his chosen way forward. Whether your particular interest is at the e-commerce end of the startup spectrum or somewhere completely different, Goldberg is a great talker with miles (ahem, kilometers) of experience, and someone you will want to hear.

Before Goldberg takes the stage as part of the two-day conference, Disrupt will kick off with the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon 18th and 19th October.

TechCrunch Disrupt Europe will also bring the Startup Battlefield and Startup Alley to London.

Startup Battlefield competitors pitch their companies live and on stage to innovators, investors and influencers in the tech community. TechCrunch identifies emerging companies to demo and compete for a prize of £30,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup. Last year Lock8, the London and Berlin-based startup behind the world’s first smart bike lock, was the winner and has gone on to launch its product.

Previous Battlefield competitions have launched companies such as Dropbox, Mint.com, Yammer and Fitbit.

Startup Alley offers another way for early-stage companies to gain exposure with a format that encourages both exhibiting and networking, as well as high visibility. Roughly 200 invited startups make up Startup Alley with companies showcasing on the Monday and Tuesday of the event.

Find all the latest information on the Disrupt Europe website.

Grab a ticket and before they sell out.

To request media accreditation, email tcdisruptlondon [ @ ] balloupr.com