China’s LightInTheBox acquires Ador, the Seattle-based social commerce site formerly known as Lockerz.


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LightInTheBoxBox (NYSE:LITB), the China-based e-commerce and sourcing company, has acquired Ador, the Seattle-based social e-commerce startup, for an undisclosed sum. Both parties have confirmed the acquisition with Tech In Asia.

As a result of the acquisition, Ador and its staff have officially become a part of LightInTheBox and will serve as that company’s first office in the United States. Ador co-CEOs Mark Stabingas and Quinton Shay, both of whom are Amazon alumni, will join Light In the Box as president and vice president, respectively.

Alan Guo, chairman and CEO of LightInTheox, said in a statement:

Through our acquisition of Ador, we are excited to add the executive talents of Mark and Quinten to our executive team. The addition of these individuals to the LightInTheBox team underscores our ambition and commitment to build a global flagship e-commerce company. Mark and Quinten bring to LightInTheBox tremendous global leadership and extensive domain expertise, which will be critical for the company’s long-term growth. Further, the establishment of a U.S. office for LightInTheBox through this transaction brings us closer to our customers, and provides us the opportunity to acquire an extremely talented team. We are excited to welcome Ador’s talented employees to LightInTheBox and are pleased to use this acquisition as a means to bolster talent and further maximize our global e-commerce sales opportunity.

The acquisition is quite an interesting one. Ador appears to be in a state of constant transition, and a relationship with LightInTheBox – which, as a business and a brand, is pretty far from a sexy social e-commerce firm – will likely bring about further changes in its business model. Meanwhile, Light in the Box can leverage Ador’s expertise in social and its existing partnerships with US retailers to move beyond its reputation as a seller of high-quality, inexpensive Chinese goods. In addition, the Ador team’s experience at Amazon will bring along knowledge and industry connections.

I wanna be Ador’d

Ador is the latest incarnation of Lockerz, a startup that was founded back in 2009 and has since struggled to find its legs. Originating as a social photo sharing service, it later pivoted to social e-commerce once Instagram and Twitter cornered that market. The company hit some roadbumps in 2013 when it closed its San Diego office and laid off 30 percent of its Seattle staff. It also sold two of its previous acquisitions – the photo-sharing API Plixi (which was rebranded as Lockerz Photos), and analytics service AddToAny.

The Lockerz team then launched Ador last April as a site where users could follow celebrities and models, track what they wear, and then purchase goods from retailers that provide Ador with a cut. The original Lockerz site, meanwhile, remains operational, but it’s currently spam-ridden.

Despite its rocky history of late, Ador has received a steady stream of funding since its original inception over four years ago. Back in October, months after the rebranding, it reportedly raised another $9 million in investments, which, if you track the company’s history, ought to bring its total funding to about $50 million.

LightInTheBox was the first Chinese company to complete an IPO in 2013, and it raised $79 million on its first day of trading. Bloomberg reports that once news of the acquisition first hit the press, its stock price jumped 20 percent to $9.81, its highest since November.

(Editing by Paul Bischoff)

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