Wish Founder Revamps ‘Culture And Operations’ To Tackle Walmart, Amazon

Wish Founder Revamps ‘Culture And Operations’ To Tackle Walmart, Amazon

Peter Szulczewski has had a brutal wake-up call. In the last 12 months a handful of senior executives at his $8.5 billion e-commerce startup Wish have resigned, the company confirmed to Forbes, leaving him busy filling holes in the upper ranks of customer support, content management and logistics and supply chain management. Wish had been operating at breakneck speed to scale up, and the exodus gave Szulczewski pause. He's chasing the opportunity of becoming a trillion-dollar-a-year marketplace, and sees himself going head-to-head with giants like Walmart ($247 billion market cap), Alibaba ($546 billion) and behemoth Amazon ($833 billion). Wish's own valuation is nothing to scoff at. They include Yuri Milner's DST Global, and Hans Tung's GGV Capital. Wish sells rock-bottom goods on its addictive, Pinterest-like website, directly from Chinese manufacturers. Around 80% of his one-million merchants are in China. Hd credits his experience at Google with making him a more data-driven entrepreneur. While other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs might have tried prodding their users to go for higher-margin items, Szulczewski and Zhang were struck by their customers' behavior.

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Wish CEO and co-founder, Peter Szulczewski.

Peter Szulczewski has had a brutal wake-up call.

In the last 12 months a handful of senior executives at his $8.5 billion e-commerce startup Wish have resigned, the company confirmed to Forbes, leaving him busy filling holes in the upper ranks of customer support, content management and logistics and supply chain management.

Wish had been operating at breakneck speed to scale up, and the exodus gave Szulczewski pause.

“It made me realize we needed to make some changes around the culture and operation of the company,” he says, without elaborating on how those changes might play out in practice.

But the Polish-Canadian entrepreneur has lofty ambitions for Wish. He’s chasing the opportunity of becoming a trillion-dollar-a-year marketplace, and sees himself going head-to-head with giants like Walmart ($247 billion market cap), Alibaba ($546 billion) and behemoth Amazon ($833 billion).

Wish’s own valuation is nothing to scoff at. After its last funding round, reported by Forbes late last year, it reached $8.5 billion.

Revenues have been doubling annually for the last eight years, and topped $1 billion in 2017. The company isn’t profitable yet, but it also hasn’t spent the $1.3 billion raised from investors. They include Yuri Milner’s DST Global, and Hans Tung’s GGV Capital.

Wish sells rock-bottom goods on its addictive, Pinterest-like website, directly from Chinese manufacturers. Around 80% of his one-million merchants are in China.

Wristwatches sell for $1 and men’s sweaters go for $8, with customers typically finding the site through Facebook ads flashing those hard-to-believe price tags.

Many items like toys and toiletries are advertised as “free,” with…

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