Zulily co-founder Mark Vadon in a rare appearance at the GeekWire Summit
Mark Vadon is on the prowl for the next e-commerce superstar.
Vadon, who previously co-founded Zulily and Blue Nile and served as chairman of online pet products retailer Chewy, is the CEO of a new “blank check” company called Big Sky Growth Partners that just raised $300 million via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker BSKYU, Big Sky shares fell slightly from its $10 offering price on its first day of trading, yet another signal that the red hot SPAC market may be cooling.
Even still, Big Sky now has $300 million to go after a retail or direct to consumer company. The newly-formed SPAC, created in February, said it has yet to identify an acquisition target.
“Our management team has an extensive network of founder, entrepreneur, board, C-level and venture investor relationships from which to source opportunities, and we believe that the experience and capabilities of our management team will make us an attractive partner,” the company wrote in a SEC filing.
In addition to Vadon, Big Sky’s team consists of former Blue Nile general counsel Lauren Neiswender and San Francisco venture capitalist Paul Ferris.
Former Zuily and Blue Nile executive Darrell Cavens serves as a director of Big Sky, as does Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Joseph Zwillinger and venture capitalist Michael Smith of Footwork who serves on the boards of Stitch and Ulta Beauty.
Vadon is not quite as well known as some of the other tech luminaries from Seattle, but his success in creating groundbreaking consumer-oriented companies can’t be questioned. In an appearance at the GeekWire Summit in 2014, he noted his rationale for keeping things quiet when business is going well at a startup. He’s also an investor in companies such as Rad Power Bikes, Allbirds, Flyhomes and Crowd Cow.
And Vadon is not the only Seattle tech entrepreneur jumping on the SPAC train. Former Isilon Systems CEO Sujal Patel is looking to take his new company, Nautilus Biotechnology, public via a SPAC as is Aaron Easterly, the CEO of online pet sitting marketplace Rover.