New leadership named for Walmart’s Jetblack startup

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 1,333 views 

Jetblack has come under new leadership with Nate Faust taking over as CEO from Jenny Fleiss, who has been in charge since the personal shopping service was launched last year. Bloomberg first reported the leadership change on Tuesday (Oct. 29), and Walmart confirmed the change with Talk Business & Politics.

“Jenny Fleiss shared with the Jetblack team her plans to transition away from leading day-to-day business operations to focus her entrepreneurial expertise on new areas of our business. She’ll continue to support Jetblack as an advisor, spokesperson and ambassador, and will join the Walmart Customer Organization as an advisor, reporting directly to New Jersey-based Janey Whiteside,” a Walmart spokesperson said.

Walmart said Faust has worked with Fleiss on the business over the past few months leading up to this transition. The leadership change comes on the heels of spinoff speculation about this venture as Walmart looks to trim the losses in its e-commerce segment. Faust was a senior vice president for Walmart U.S. eCommerce supply chain and logistics. He was a co-founder at Jet.com and joined Walmart with that acquisition in 2014. He has a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Princeton.

Fleiss came on the Walmart scene in March 2017 working in the Store No. 8 incubator as co-founder of Jetblack. She also co-founded Rent the Runway in 2008 where she managed business growth and long term strategy planning including key partnerships, sponsorship sales, and long-term strategic growth opportunities. Jetblack is a members-only concierge shopping service that combines the convenience of e-commerce with the customized attention of a personal assistant. She has said the average spend by members is roughly $1,500 and that does not include groceries.

“Our vision is to create a new standard of shopping with the fastest, most delightful end-to-end consumer experience,” Fleiss notes on her LinkedIn page.

The concierge service is believed to be losing money on each transaction. The cost for the membership is $50 per month and the pilot has about 600 members with a waiting list. The losses per customers per year are pegged between $10,000 and $15,000 per subscriber according to the Wall Street Journal. Walmart has not provided financial results to the media on this start-up venture which is still part of the Store No. 8 incubator.

Walmart has not yet confirmed, nor denied, plans to spin-off or divest the startup, though Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, has said the company has received outside interest for the venture and others.

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