Comcast brings its style to 30 Rock (

Cable operators buff up guides for Internet age (AP via Miami Herald)

Philly Tech People News 6/9/2013

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San Fran law firm continues Philly expansion (Philadelphia Business Journal)

NBCUniversal hires former Disney executive Russell Hampton (LA Times: Company Town)

UNIT4 appoints former SAP exec as its new CEO (Information Age)

QVC Appoints Ted Jastrzebski As Chief Financial Officer
Former Hershey Executive Succeeds Retiring CFO Dan O'Connell
(PR Newswire)

Arraya Solutions Welcomes Christian Gingras as Director of Sales
Technology sales veteran well positioned to grow the company's core business and managed services offerings
(PR Newswire)

Fiber-Line Strengthens Corporate Staff to Drive Growth and Operational Excellence
(Business Wire)

Looking at Kynetic LLC, with new Fanatics Inc. valuation

Tom Paine

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If I included all the holdings of Michael Rubin's Conshohocken-based Kynetic LLC as one Philly-based company, it would easily top Philly Tech News' Young Companies to Watch based on Fanatics Inc.'s remarkable new valuation of $3.1 billion ( as reported by the Wall Street Journal) alone. The Journal, citing Rubin and other sources, said that Fanatics had just raised another $170 million at that valuation, doubling the valuation at its last capital infusion one year ago. The new funding came from Singapore's state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd., and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Rubin said. He expected the online giant of licensed sports merchandise to achieve revenue of about $1 billion in 2013, up from $800 million last year.

However, Fanatics is based in Jacksonville, FL, though it may have a few people in Kynetic's Consohocken headquarters (actually, almost 80, a Fanatics spokesperson tells me). The Journal's article initially mistakenly said Fanatics was based in Conshohocken.

Rue La La, the flash sales shopping site, is based in Boston, and was on track for about $400 million in annual sales in 2012, Rubin told the Business Insider last year. However, early this year the Boston Business Journal reported that Rue La La had laid off about 11% of its 550 employees, perhaps indicating some issues there.

ShopRunner, the third unit of Kynetic, is based in Conshohocken, and also has offices in California and New York. ShopRunner offers a competitive option to Amazon Prime for other retailers, providing two day delivery with free shipping for an annual membership fee. Its CEO is Scott Thommpson, who's brief reign as CEO of Yahoo ended over controversy about an inaccuracy on his resume. Of course, Thompson had previously served as President of eBay's PayPal unit. Thompson still makes California his primary residence so commutes to Conshohocken; in fact, the company had a helipad built next to the Schyulkill to speed Thompson's commute from the airport, though the publication More than the Curve recently reported that the borough's council was still debating operating hours for the helipad.

So for my purposes, I considered ShopRunner the only Philly-based startup of Kynetics' holdings, and am not sure how high to rank it on Young Companies to Watch (though it is #30 for now) because of the lack of much definitive data. Kynetic is basically a holding company who's two largest units are based elsewhere

So how is ShopRunner doing? Hard to say, exactly. The company did issue a release earlier in the year that said that orders across the network increased 2.5 times over 2011 in 2012, but no mention of what that 2011 base was. Nor have they publicly disclosed (to my knowledge) its membership numbers, which would be a meaningful benchmark. Amazon Prime has over 10 million members, according to reports. My guess is that ShopRunner has had to compete to match the constant promotional pricing of Amazon Prime. There have also been reports that Google is readying an Amazon Prime competitor.

Kynetic LLC grew out of Rubin's $2.4 billion (cash and debt) sale of GSI Commerce to eBay in 2011. ebay spun off 70% of GSI properties ShopRunner and Rue La La to Rubin's ownership group,and all of the sports licensing business (Fanatics). Prior to this most recent transaction, Rubin had sold 10% of Fanatics to Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz a year ago for a $150 million investment. This latest investment presumably involved the sale of slightly more than a 5% stake in Fanatics.