Former DoubleClick CEO Takes the Reins at Benchmark Capital-Backed 1stdibs
David Rosenblatt has taken a seat in the chief executive’s office again, this time at online luxury marketplace 1stdibs in New York. Rosenblatt, former CEO of DoubleClick, was appointed CEO of 1stdibs on Nov. 3 in conjunction with an undisclosed investment from Benchmark Capital. Rosenblatt says this is 1stdibs’s first outside funding since its founding in 2001.
1stdibs sells high-end antiques, estate jewelry, and furniture from dealers. “Our customers are decorators and prosumers [professional consumers],” Rosenblatt says. Others are welcome to shop at 1stdibs—if, for example, they are ready to drop $18,900 for a set of Harry Winston Tahitian pearl, diamond earrings.
Rosenblatt says he was drawn to the market opportunity that 1stdibs has as a seller of hard-to-get luxury items. He will remain as chairman of Group Commerce and retain his seats on the boards of Twitter and IAC. Matt Cohler, general partner with Benchmark, also joined the board at 1stdibs in conjunction with the investment.
Rosenblatt was CEO of DoubleClick, a provider of online ad management and ad serving technology, through its sale in 2008 for $3.1 billion to Google. He says though he worked in a different type of industry, his experience growing DoubleClick may serve him well at 1stdibs. “We scaled [DoubleClick] from the 40 or 50 people it was when I joined to more than 2,000 people in 25 countries,” he says.
1stdibs currently has a staff of 50, which Rosenblatt says he plans to expand. The company will grow its ranks in marketing, technology, operations, and sales he says. “We have a great collection people who understand this market,” Rosenblatt says. “My job is to build a team of people who are equally good at building and scaling Internet businesses.”
Currently 1stdibs primarily serves customers in North America, Rosenblatt says, though the company also does business in Britain, Mexico, and France. Rosenblatt says an iPad app is in the works for 1stdibs, since many dealers use the tablet device to show off items to their clients.
Rosenblatt says his goals as CEO include offering the website’s services to more customers around the world. Rosenblatt also wants to increase the breadth of products made available from abroad. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t be in 50 to 60 countries over the next couple of years,” he says.
Rosenblatt also wants to add new product categories, though the company has not yet determined what it will introduce. “We have an art business, a jewelry business, a fashion business,” he says. “What are other things that our customers look to us for?”
1stdibs sells items that range from an American flag from the 1876 centennial to a pair of Spanish marble side tables. “One of the promises we want to fulfill is aggregating the world’s supply of beautiful, one-of-a-kind products,” Rosenblatt says. The site adds new inventory every Wednesday.
Rosenblatt says 1stdibs sets itself apart by gathering selections that would otherwise be hard for buyers to find on their own. “I think it’s an incredible opportunity to bring the luxury market into the digital age,” he says. The company said it expects its gross volume of goods sold by the dealers on the website to top $500 million this year.
While 1stdibs offers some sale items, most products are not listed at a discount. That makes the site different from other e-commerce sites such as New York-based Fab.com, which offers discounts up to 70 percent off for certain items. Gilt Groupe also offers curated luxury items with discounts for its members.
Michael Bruno started 1stdibs in 2001 to offer what the company describes as “the experience of a flea market in Paris,” albeit a rather high-end flea market.
Bruno will remain active with the company, Rosenblatt says, and will likely focus on strategy, new markets, new products, and relationships with the company’s key customers. “[Bruno] is definitional to this business. It’s his voice that is expressed in every product,” Rosenblatt says.