1999: Almost nothing
2000: $ 1.6 mm
2001: $ 8.6 mm
2002: $ 32 mm
2003: $ 70 mm
2004: $184 mm
2005: $300 mm (goal)
In other words, he’s more than doubled sales every year since 1999. And Jan, 2005 has already exceeded internal goals, he tells us. No, this isn’t some amazing technology; it’s just deft execution of a focused online business. Apparently, the company is profitable, because Hsieh writes: “…at this stage of the company we have decided to reinvest most of our profits back into our growth.”
Obviously, with Sequoia Capital on board, the odds have grown for an IPO filing. Hsieh, who started his company over on Van Ness Ave in San Francisco with no venture capital until the recent Sequoia investment, took most of his company to Las Vegas and Kentucky last year (though he says he still comes back to SF occasionally). As we understand it, he’s accomplished it all on the back of great customer service. We’re sure to hear more about Hsieh, who seems to have perfect timing: The Harvard grad (BA in computer science 1995), previously co-founded and then sold advertising company LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998 — well before the bubble burst.
Other interesting tidbits:
–“From a sales perspective, our goal is to get to $1 billion a year in gross merchandise sales by 2010”
–“I’ve never been part of a company that’s grown from 5 people to a staff of over 1000, which is where we plan on being by the end of this year.”
To top it off, he’s now selling handbags. Amazon, watch out!