Maynard Webb, eBay’s COO, did invest as an angel early on, but Tilenius says that the $28 million of venture capital she raised didn’t all come from within the eBay network. However, she too, notes that she felt like an entrepreneur within the organization during her time there as well as by the global community.
“I was inspired by the consumers and businesses that were using eBay to live out their dream, put their kids through college, make a living doing what they love,” she says. “I feel honored to continue in that tradition with Vida, where we are helping people transform their lives through better health.” Tilenius says currently more than 40,000 individuals have used Vida to prevent, manage, or overcome their chronic conditions. “It’s all about the mission,” she says, ” it’s what keeps me going.”
Networking Every Step Of The Way
Ritu Narayan spent three and a half years as group product manager for the seller platform at eBay before she launched Zūm in 2016. “We are backed by Sequoia Capital,” says Narayan, for which she also credits her eBay network for making investor introductions, as well as for recruiting and finding vendors and service providers. So far, according to Narayan, the business has grown 300% year over year and with a very capital efficient model of growth.
She says that eBay’s culture of innovation, hackathons, and product demo days influenced her during her tenure. “My choice [of business] was very largely influenced by my background in marketplaces at eBay and the impact I had seen it can make it at both the user and seller side,” she observes. “I used my experience to solve my own and 53 million families’ problem in the U.S.: how to find safe, reliable, and flexible rides for their children to schools and activities while still at work.”
Make A Meaningful Impact On People’s Lives
Lorna Borenstein can remember during her four years at eBay that she launched eBay Canada out of her guest room with a newborn. “My parents were thrilled,” she quips. A number of years after that she founded Grokker in 2012. The on-demand network allows employees to tap into wellness programs through video, experts, and community. The digital subscription service expanded to on-demand through leading cable-TV providers such as Comcast and Sky in the U.K. Led by a team that is half women today, Grokker is available as a total wellness solution for enterprise clients in 172 countries.
“I financed the first six months of Grokker and then reached out to individual investors I knew from my eBay days, including Josh Kopelman, who was a close friend from eBay and founded First Round Capital, and Vinod Khosla, who I met through an introduction in the early 2000s from Maynard Webb, eBay’s then-CTO,” she explains. Although these introductions and connections helped Grokker raise $22.5 million, Borenstein says being part of a founder-led company was really inspiring.