Earlier this week, PandoDaily reported that BeachMint’s CMO, John Volturo, had left because, the blog argued, “something about BeachMint was no longer hot, sexy, or groundbreaking enough to keep Volturo’s attention.”PandoDaily also suggested Volturo was looking to sell his shares to investment firm Millennium Technology Value Partners.
We got on the phone with BeachMint president Diego Berdakin. He clarified what’s going on at his company.
BeachMint is a network of fashion-focused e-commerce sites. The startup is two years old and based in Los Angeles; it has raised $75 million to date.
Berdakin was adamant: There is nothing wrong with BeachMint. Volturo departed to start his own company, not because he was disgruntled or lost faith in the startup. Berdakin says he gave the company adequate notice before his resignation.
“It’s normal that people turn over. When you have a city like Los Angeles that is really buzzing and there are lots of exciting things happening, people want to start their own journeys,” says Berdakin.
Also, none of Volturo’s shares have been sold since his departure. “Nothing has come through our desks. He’d have to inform the company; it’s not like he can sell them and not tell us,” Berdakin says.
The association PandoDaily mentioned between Volturo and Millennium probably stemmed from BeachMint’s latest round of financing, says Berdakin. “Millennium was involved in our last round. Its involvement was all primary, which means it invested directly in the company. It wasn’t used to get John liquidity,” he says.
Berdakin acknowledges the CMO role changed while Volturo was still at BeachMint.
“Before, marketing was all run at the BeachMint parent-company level. Now we have broken the company out into six parts because we have gotten a lot bigger,” he says. “As the company grows, we needed to make every individual company more autonomous to really give it the best chance to be successful.”
For that reason, the CMO position hasn’t been filled. Volturo’s former role no longer exists.
As for BeachMint, Berdakin says the startup is doing “phenomenally well.” He says it has never had a down quarter in terms of both revenue and members, although he declined to share metrics.
“Everything continues to grow up and to the right. We had our biggest quarter last quarter; the quarter before that was our best—even better than Q4, which tends to be the best quarter for fashion and retail companies,” says Berdakin.
BeachMint currently has 150 employees and Berdakin says Volturo is the only executive who has left. The founding BeachMint team is still in place.
In addition, BeachMint has made some impressive new hires, like COO Greg Steiner, a 12-year veteran of eHarmony. It also gained software developer Carl Trudel from Live Nation, Jason Reuben of Gemvara, and serial entrepreneur, Michael Broukhim.
Volturo couldn’t be reached for comment, but yesterday he tweeted this: