Marc Lore on ‘upsetting’ Diapers.com sale: ‘Investors got scared off by Amazon’s attack’

Way back in 2010, Marc Lore struck a more than half-a-billion-dollar deal to sell Quidsi — the company behind Diapers.com and Soap.com — to Amazon. The blow-out acquisition helped turn Amazon into “the everything store,” but 12 years later, Lore described the sale as “upsetting.”

“We sold out,” said Lore — who co-founded both Quidsi.com and Jet.com — at Disrupt 2022.

“With Walmart, we were happy to sell; we saw that as a way to accelerate our vision,” said the billionaire of the 2016 sale of Jet.com to Walmart. The “Amazon situation was different. It was a forced situation. We did not want to sell,” Lore said onstage in conversation with TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden.

To stick it to the competition, Amazon “cut the price of diapers by 30%, right? Which is unheard of,” recalled Lore. But in the face of ratcheting pressure, the former Quidsi executive claimed his now-defunct business was “still growing nicely.” Lore claimed this was among the reasons why Amazon ultimately decided to snap up the brand.

But before that point, Lore believed that Quidsi needed to raise at least $100 million more to challenge Amazon adequately — an especially hefty sum at the time. Only, he couldn’t secure it. (In all, Quidsi raised around $79 million in equity and debt from investors, including Accel, Bessemer Venture Partners and Pinnacle Ventures.)

“That’s what it would have taken to feel like we had enough capital to really do it,” said Lore. “And yeah, the investors got scared off by Amazon’s attack.”

In a side note, Lore claimed that Quidsi also “had an offer from another company” for “like $100 million more,” yet the co-founder enigmatically declined to share additional details.

A day after the Amazon-Quidsi transaction closed, Lore said that he and others from the company went to a bar, “drinking our tears away” over “how upsetting it was, because we sold out.”

“We were building something really special,” Lore added, citing Wag.com and other sites under the now-extinct Quidsi umbrella. In the eyes of the co-founder, Quidsi’s customer experience back then “was a lot better than you’d find on Amazon or anywhere else.”

But $100 million “was a lot of money” back then, and Lore concluded: “People were just scared of Amazon.”

Marc Lore on ‘upsetting’ Diapers.com sale: ‘Investors got scared off by Amazon’s attack’ by Harri Weber originally published on TechCrunch