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Adam Goldenberg

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Adam Goldenberg’s first successful entrepreneurial endeavor found funding from an unusual source: his Bar Mitzvah money. In 1994, at 13-years-old, Goldenberg started an online bulletin board service. Two years later, he turned the company into a gaming website, Gamer’s Alliance. Gamer’s Alliance caught the attention of Intermix founder and President Brett Brewer, who acquired it in 1997 without realizing that it’s founder was only 17-years-old. After some deliberation, Brewer hired the young Goldenberg, who quickly proved the soundness of that decision. He was promoted to COO of Intermix at 19, the youngest COO of a public company in history.

A year later, Intermix acquired FitnessHeaven.com, a health and fitness start-up founded by Don Ressler. Goldenberg and Ressler proved to by a dynamic team, pairing up to build ecommerce and performance advertising company Alena Media. Alena generated hundreds of millions in revenue and was Intermix’s only profit center. When Intermix was acquired by News Corp in 2005, Goldenberg and Ressler found themselves watching the profitable, successful ecommerce business they had built be ignored by the media conglomerate. Frustrated and not bound to the new company, the partners left to explore new opportunities.

Knowing that they had the skills to excel in the growing field of online performance advertising, the Goldenberg and Ressler decided to create a brand building enterprise they could execute autonomously. Gathering a group of former Alena team members, the co-founders held a brainstorming session in Goldenberg’s living room. Two-weeks later, Brand Ideas, later to become Intelligent Beauty, was born.

The direct-to-consumer brand building business’s first creation was DERMSTORE, an online skincare and cosmetics marketplace. Two years later, they launched weight-loss system SENSA, bringing in Dr. Alan Hirsch for product development and Intermix founder Brett Brewer as CEO. Though Intelligent Beauty doesn’t release its financial results, both SENSA and DERMSTORE are said to be highly profitable. After bootstrapping most of their funding for the first two years, the company accepted $43 million in funding from Technology Crossover Ventures in 2008.

In 2010, Intelligent Beauty launched a third company, subscription ecommerce fashion retailer JustFab. In 2011, JustFab received $33 million in funding from Matrix Partners. Kimora Lee Simmons joined the company as President and Creative Director in September of that year, and by December they had reached 4 million members. After announcing it had crossed the six million member mark in April 2012, the co-founders raised a second round of funding, securing $76 million from Rho Ventures, Matrix Partners, Crossover Ventures, and parent-company Intelligent Beauty that June.

Riding on the momentum of these successful first two years, JustFab started seeking opportunities to expand into new markets. Recognizing that many of their existing customers were parents, JustFab purchased children’s fashion subscription service FabKids on Jan 18, 2013. On May 23, 2013, JustFab acquired European fashion ecommerce site The Fab Shoes. The addition of The Fab Shoes brought with it 500,000 member in France and Spain, adding to the 1.5 million-strong European membership JustFab had built in Germany and the UK. By the end of 2013, JustFab had 3 million members throughout Europe. On October 1, 2013, after completing a $40 million Series C funding round, JustFab launched Fabletics, and athletic wear site developed in collaboration with Kate Hudson. They company also acquired rival shoe subscription service ShoeDazzle, bringing it into the JustFab family in August 2013. Finally, in addition to expanding services to include kids’ wear, athletic wear, and European markets, JustFab took their services offline, opening their flagship store in September 2013.

In August 2014, JustFab closed an $85 million round of funding led by Passport Special Opportunity Fund, and including existing investors Shining Capital, Matrix Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures. The round brought the company’s total capitalization to $250 million.

Companies and Investments

JustFab (Co-Founder, CEO), DermStore.com (Director), Intelligent Beauty (Co-Founder, Co-CEO), Intermix Media (Chief Operating Officer), Gamer’s Alliance, Inc. (Founder, CEO)

Lessons Learned

Because we have always been very metrics-driven, we have been able to learn quickly and adapt our business. We look at our numbers daily – sometimes hourly – which keeps us nimble. If we notice something isn’t working, we catch it right away and can make the necessary fixes. I have always been a big believer in full transparency within our organization. By sharing actual numbers, good and bad, with the whole team, it helps everyone understand the tactical changes we need to make and keeps us invested in the success of the business. (Goldenberg on constantly watching things evolve and adapting accordingly, in an interview with BuiltInLA.com)

From day one we made customer feedback a huge part of our business. Some of our early mistakes came from price points for new product categories like jewelry and sunglasses. We learned pretty quickly that while our value proposition held up with $39.95 shoes and handbags, our members were not willing to pay that for sunglasses and jewelry. We have a team dedicated to understanding our members and use their feedback to guide our product and merchandising decisions. (Goldenberg on the importance of listening to your customers, in an interview with BuiltInLA.com)

Above all else, we look for passion. A candidate may look great on paper with an amazing resume and education, but if they don’t come with a passion for what they do or for our brand, they won’t thrive here. Our culture is a big part of our success and one of our mantras at the office is “Be Passionate.” (Goldenberg on his top priorities in hiring, in an interview with BuiltInLA.com)

A lot of brands focus too much time on how to sell their product as opposed to what they are selling. Our website could look great, our commercials could be catchy and our social media channels could be a lot of fun – but if customers don’t like the product, they won’t shop with us again. We design and manufacture the product ourselves which helps us maintain a great quality at a great value to our member. We are proud of the product we are selling and we know that’s why our members keep coming back. (Goldenberg on central importance of a great product.)

Inspiring Quotes

Adam Goldenberg's Quotes

Be passionate about what you do, have a great product and, maybe most important, surround yourself with a phenomenal team.

Adam Goldenberg

Influential Books