Photo: Flickr/eBay Ink
What’s the deal with ShopRunner, the company that just hired former PayPal boss and Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson as its chief executive officer?Just under two years ago, eBay bought GSI Commerce, a company founded by entrepreneur Michael Rubin which runs e-commerce websites for bricks-and-mortar retailers like the Sports Authority and Toys R Us. As part of the deal, though, eBay divested three businesses to Rubin: Fanatics, a retailer of licensed sports merchandise; Rue La La, a fashion flash-sales site; and ShopRunner, which offers a membership-based two-day shipping program that’s very similar to one run by Amazon.
Businesses which sign up to be part of the ShopRunner network give free two-day shipping ot ShopRunner members, matching what Amazon Prime offers. More recently, it started a program called PickupPoints, which lets ShopRunner partner retailers deliver online purchases to any ShopRunner-affiliated store—so you can have a GNC.com purchase delivered to a Toys R Us store, for example.
It also has a PayPal-like universal checkout service, PayRunner. And the company acquired a Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup, ShopSanity, which offers data analytics to retailers. During his brief tenure at Yahoo, Thompson was a big advocate of increased use of data.
The acquisition was handy in another way: Thompson will be splitting time between ShopSanity’s office and ShopRunner headquarters in Pennsylvania, he told BusinessWeek.
ShopRunner is still private. eBay kept 30 per cent of Rue La La and ShopRunner as part of the GSI purchase and spinoff. Thompson, who was then running eBay’s PayPal unit, joined ShopRunner’s board.
In September, Rubin said that he expected his three businesses to hit $1 billion in collective revenues this year.
“Each of [the three] businesses has a chance to be one of the largest private businesses in the world,” Rubin told the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Thompson’s hire is awkward in one regard: He quit his job at PayPal with one day’s notice to take the CEO job at Yahoo. At the time, eBay CEO John Donahoe declared himself “shocked” by Thompson’s decision.
But maybe the two have patched things up. During the scandal over Thompson’s claim to have a computer-science degree he never earned, Donahoe declared himself “Scott’s biggest fan.”
Good thing, since he’s now one of Thompson’s biggest shareholders.
Update: An earlier version of this story listed Foot Locker as a GSI customer. It is not. Business Insider regrets the error.