Our investment in CSN Stores

Yesterday, CSN Stores announced their first institutional round of capital. Our firm, Spark Capital, led that financing. My partner Alex who now sits on the CSN board wrote the following guest post that I’d like to share.

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Spark is very proud to announce our investment in CSN Stores (www.csnstores.com).  CSN Stores is not your typical venture backed company and that is what makes it so special.  The company is now the second largest privately held eCommerce company.  The company was founded by Niraj Shah and Steve Conine.  Niraj and Steve are friends from Cornell who have built a number of successful companies before founding CSN Stores.

With CSN Stores, Niraj and Steve set out to do what is hard.  They picked an eCommerce vertical that others didn’t want to play in, home and garden.  They partnered with over 3,000 manufacturers and taught many of them how to drop-ship so CSN Stores didn’t need a meaningful warehouse.  They hired over 700 employees, most of which are in Boston, a city in which many said a big technology company could no longer be built.  They built web sites that attract over 10 million visits a month.  They expanded into Europe where they are growing very quickly.

Most incredible though is that CSN Stores is a bootstraped company.  Niraj and Steve have built everything without ever having raised capital and have been profitable from day one.  A truly rare feat.

Niraj and Steve set out to do what is hard and their results speak for themselves.  CSN Stores will generate well over $500 million in revenue this year, growing at a 50+% rate, all while being profitable.

As Niraj and Steve launch their Wayfair.com brand in the coming months and continue to build out their company, my colleagues and I at Spark are thrilled to join them during their next stage of growth.