The future according to Marc Lore

June 24, 20223 min read
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Nearly six years ago, Walmart announced it would be acquiring Jet.com for a whopping $3.3 billion – making it the largest e-commerce acquisition at the time. Created as a one-stop-shop for essentials, the retailer bought Jet.com to compete with Amazon’s presence in the digital space, a herculean task even then. One of the people at the forefront of the battle was Marc Lore, the founder and CEO of Jet.com. The purchase and Marc’s role as Walmart’s eCommerce chief has been recognized as playing a pivotal role in Walmart’s digital presence today. Now a billionaire with a track record of starting not one, but several successful businesses (he is the only person to have sold a company to both Amazon (Fortune 2) and Walmart (Fortune 1)), Lore isn’t close to stopping. On the horizon for the entrepreneur is expanding into the food delivery business with his newest venture, Wonder.

“The Human Calculator”

Born and raised in an Italian neighborhood on Staten Island, Lore was a natural-born businessman, showing signs of an entrepreneurial mindset even at the age of 6. As the story goes, in exchange for manning the slide projector showing Casper the Friendly Ghost frames, he charged 5 cents a frame for his services and even made up stories to entice viewers to join. Showing an aptitude for numbers early (his friends referred to him as “the human calculator”) Lore went on to major in Business Management and Economics at Bucknell University and worked at several leading firms as an investment banker in the early days of his career, including Credit Suisse First Boston in London. 

The heart is where the e-commerce is

Fascinated with the booming e-commerce industry at the time, Lore looked for a way to get involved. In what would become the start of a string of entrepreneurial endeavors, he co-founded The Pit Inc. in 1999, a sports stock market. He later sold it to The Topps Company, before joining them as a COO at one of the subsidiaries called ‘Wizkids Inc’.

Unable to put his vision for a bigger e-commerce marketplace aside, Lore returned to his entrepreneurial roots and co-founded Diapers.com in 2005, which later rebranded to Quidsi as they expanded into other retail verticals. Realizing early it would be hard to make a profit on diapers alone, the founders took a novel approach at the time: they’d take the loss on the diapers, but make up for it by selling other baby products. By 2010, Diapers.com was such a competitive threat that Amazon acquired the company for over $500 million.

Jetting off to better things

After Diapers.com, Lore spent two years working for Amazon before co-founding Jet.com in 2014. He sold the site to Walmart in 2016 and joined the retailer as CEO of U.S. eCommerce in the same year. Jet.com set out with the goal to become a new kind of e-commerce marketplace that offers not only a smart shopping platform but provides customers with ways to save money. Like Diapers.com, the business model for Jet was unique for its time – allowing shoppers to make “smarter” shopping decisions that saved the company shopping costs, ultimately returning those savings to the customer. Though the Jet.com site was eventually discontinued and customers were redirected to Walmart.com, the CEO of Walmart Doug McMillon credited the acquisition for “jump-starting the progress in the digitization of the wholesaler.” During Marc’s tenure at Walmart, he accelerated the company’s e-commerce growth and customer reach – making it the No. 2 online shopping site in the U.S., helping to increase the stock price by more than 100% during his tenure. 

The Future, according to Marc Lore

Since Walmart, Lore has become laser-focused on the food delivery business. He founded Wonder, a mobile restaurant business, and became CEO of its parent company, Wonder Group, in 2021. Wonder partners with world-renowned chefs and restaurant chains to create an “on demand home dining experience,” where freshly cooked meals are delivered to customers in mobile restaurants. Chefs-on-the-road then fire and finish the food right outside the customer’s door – allowing customers to enjoy the food the way it was intended. Wonder recently announced its Series B, raising $350M and is currently serving over 100,000 New Jersey households, with plans to reach 250,000 by the end of the year. 

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