It is not often that an entrepreneur has a successful business twice. Most entrepreneurs have one major exit and then they become Angel investors. While they are building their business for the second time they either take money off the table from investors or the take their companies public. Michael Rubin in my opinion is one of the most unmentioned commerce entrepreneurs there is currently. However don’t let the lack of press coverage fool you – he is a serious heavyweight from Philadelphia.
Rubin sold his enterprise commerce business to eBay for $2.4 billion. GSI commerce as it was called then had some serious retailers as clients. eBay had a massive weakness in the enterprise space and fixed that by acquiring Magento and GSI Commerce.
Rubin pioneered an innovative pay-for-performance business model that fueled GSI’s organic sales growth, which he then complemented in recent years with 11 strategic acquisitions. GSI became one of the largest publicly-traded Internet companies, facilitating billions of dollars of merchandise sales for its customers, with 2010 revenues of $1.4 billion and more than 5,000 employees. As part of the transaction, eBay divested certain assets to Kynetic, specifically all of GSI’s online licensed sports merchandise business (Fanatics) and 70% ownership in Rue La La and ShopRunner.
Magento for me is the trojan horse for eBay as that business is used globally and has commerce partners in emerging markets. GSI Commerce was and still is the big success that Michael Rubin had. How he convinced eBay to spin ShopRunner, Rue La La and Fanatics into a new business (Kynetic) is worth a book. I hope Rubin decides one day to write a book..