Please forward this error screen to sharedip-160153131193. Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. 11, 2013, Fab CEO Jason Goldberg gathered a dozen executives in the eighth-floor conference room of the company’s New York City headquarters. When the executives filed in, they were handed a five-page document. Goldberg sat at the head of the table, his expression how To Invest In A Startup In Berlin beneath his salt-and-pepper scruff.
900 million just three months previously, was about to change drastically. Two-thirds of the company needed to be fired. Its European division would more or less be shuttered. 336 million it had raised, and it had failed to find a sustainable business model. We are going to make this work,” Goldberg’s five-page missive began.
It has to start with brutal honesty. Goldberg advised everyone to “acknowledge that we have a serious problem. 200M in the past 2 years. 200M and we have not proven out our business model. 200M and we have not proven that we know precisely what our customers want to buy. Goldberg’s rallying cry could not save Fab. Later that month the company laid off some employees. Key executives, including Goldberg’s cofounder, Bradford Shellhammer, departed.
This month, that deal is expected to close. 50 million based on PCH’s stock. How does a billion-dollar business go bust in three years? Why didn’t Goldberg see this coming? Why did investors keep giving him hundreds of millions of dollars? Over the past few weeks, we’ve conducted a dozen interviews with people intimately familiar with Fab’s business, and we asked them those very questions. Many wished to remain anonymous, to avoid legal ramifications, but they had a lot to say.
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I don’t think everyone who worked for Fab realized what a true Titanic it was,” one former Fab employee said. Here’s how the “world’s fastest-growing startup” exploded quickly — then crashed. Jason Goldberg, 42, has experienced failure before. A graduate of Emory and Stanford’s MBA program, Goldberg began his career in the White House. He spent six years as a special assistant to the chief of staff under Bill Clinton and later became the marketing director of T-Mobile.
Goldberg’s political and marketing backgrounds make him perfect at selling a vision and rallying others around it. He prides himself on being transparent — although he occasionally tells half-truths to sound more compelling. Others describe Goldberg as a polarizing figure whose behavior can seem manic. Goldberg was once out of the office for so long that all of the checks on his desk needed to be reissued.
Other times he wouldn’t sleep, spending days on end just cranking. He’s a hype man who sometimes struggles to execute. He is so talented at getting an idea off the ground. Bar none, the best I’ve ever seen,” said a former colleague of Goldberg’s. But he can’t operate a company. You can’t hate the guy for that — you just wish it would have worked out the way he said it was going to. Despite his shortcomings as an operator, Goldberg has founded several businesses.
Goldberg served as chief product manager and accumulated personal wealth. In 2010, Goldberg founded another company with his friend Bradford Shellhammer, his Socialmedian cofounder, Nishith Shah, and Shah’s wife, Deepa. They created Fabulis, a social network for the LGBT community that pivoted to become a daily-deals site. Fabulis finished the year with only 150,000 users.
1 million into Fabulis’ seed round, that they needed to shut down. I’m a big believer in ship it fast, iterate it quickly. But you can’t iterate your way to a business model,” Goldberg said of Fabulis at a Berlin conference in 2011. Goldberg and his cofounders spent three weeks building what would become Fab. Fab would feature and sell third-party items from small design shops all over the world and use a flash-sales model, which had proved successful for sites like Gilt Groupe and Ruelala. Flash sales allow e-commerce companies to sell a limited amount of inventory quickly by offering it at a discount for a short time, usually one day.