14. November 2013–
German serial entrepreneur Roman Kirsch, who sold shopping club Casacanda to Fab in early 2012 in the first of that company’s international acquisitions, is starting a new venture – online discount store Lesara.
The new company, set up in September 2013 and based in Berlin, currently employs about 20 people. It went live today in Germany, offering a relatively small selection of clothing, jewellery, electronic and home goods, with Austria up next.
Kirsch, 25, helped lead Fab’s expansion in continental Europe and spent about a year as its Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He left the company before the mass layoffs in Berlin and New York in July and October 2013.
“I left the company at the end of last year to start looking for new ideas,” Kirsch said. “I travelled a bit, I went to Silicon Valley and all the different hot spots and decided to go back to Berlin. It’s the most exciting place to start a company.”
His aim now is to create the online-only equivalent of stores such as Target, Aldi, Lidl and Tchibo. There are three pillars to that strategy: a best-price guarantee, enabled by exclusive deals with manufacturers around the world, backed by heavy internal use of business intelligence to identify trends.
Unlike Amazon, the obvious giant in the room, Lesara will only stock between 200 and 300 goods at a time to reduce the complexity of the shopping experience. This is seen as particularly important for Lesara’s target group of women over 35. “We want to be a pioneer when it comes to easy shopping online,” Kirsch said.
Is he taking anything with him from Fab – apart from a few team members? “We know how to scale a company in the eCommerce world in a short amount of time quite well,” he said. “The second thing that we learned, that we’re going to use, is easy shopping and emotional commerce – deep social integration, which leads to high average time on site, lots of cross-selling of products and viral sharing.”
Kirsch’s sale of Casacanda to Fab took place as an all-stock deal, thought at the time to be worth about $10m. He will be supported in his new venture by a major investor in the “offline retail space”. The legal details aren’t yet finalised.
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