Late last month, Amazon announced to the world that it was buying PillPack, an online pharmacy startup and one of Silicon Valley Savant Shervin Pishevar’s investments. The news was both surprising and not surprising. For a while now, experts have been wondering whether Amazon was going to go into the online pharmacy business, and CNBC threw gasoline on the hot rumor in October of last year.
By the time Amazon pulled the trigger on the announcement in June, Pillpack was close to becoming one of the Pishevar’s exits, which currently sits at a hyper-successful 16. With Pillpack, Amazon customers will be able to order their prescription drugs and other items right through the online seller, and most likely at a cheaper cost than what you’d find at CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. Naturally, when the deal was announced, stocks in all three companies took a hit.
But beyond Pillpack, what were some of Pishevar’s most successful exits? Here’s a list that shows how Pishevar has all the right moves:
IKEA buys TaskRabbit in 2017
TaskRabbit’s premise is simple: Find people in your neighborhood to help you move, put together furniture, and take on other things you’d rather not waste time doing. For the person who curses every time their IKEA hutch requires the use of that horrid little Allen wrench, TaskRabbit is a Godsend, connecting them with vetted and verified people who can take a bunch of flat pieces of wood and screws and turn them into something they’re proud of. Under the leadership of Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO, TaskRabbit has apparently doubled its market presence to 40 across the United States and UK, and has big plans to expand even further in the upcoming years. Score one for Shervin Pishevar.
Lyft buys Cherry in 2013
Before Lyft bought Cherry for an undisclosed sum, Cherry was a service that allowed customers to park, check in online, and then have their car washed and dried – right in the spot where they left it. By the time Lyft stepped in and bought Cherry’s assets and absorbed their employees, the San Francisco car wash service had been shut down, despite having raised $5 million. As part of the Lyft aqui-hire, Cherry was re-launched in Seattle, but not before critics took swipes at the car wash service, including Techcrunch’s Semil Shah, who claimed that Cherry’s leadership over-estimated how often users would need their cars washed.
“My sense is that in the SF Bay Area right now, and for the past year or so, many folks around here have a tendency to assume “scaling offline” is complex but as controllable as “scaling online.” While scaling an infrastructure and system online is certainly difficult, I would say right now it’s much harder, more expensive, and more time-consuming to scale these types of business offline and into new locations” Shah said.
Despite the critique, Pishevar made a smart choice. Lyft moved in, took over, and everyone lived happily ever after.
LinkedIn buys Rapportive in 2012 (for an estimated $15 million)
Shervin Pishevar helped put up the seed money for this little gem, and it was a smart move. Billed as a contact management startup, Rapportive was a Gmail-integrated service that showed the social network accounts of people contacted through the mail service. If you use Gmail, this meant that if you wanted to track down, say, a company executive, you could enter any email address you came across that presumably belonged to the executive, and immediately see the big boss’s Twitter accounts, Facebook and more. Rapportive went a long way to showing users that they found the right person, and it was tool tailor-made for employment social network LinkedIn. Rapportive was apparently evaluated at $3 million, so when it was sold, company leadership had good reason to pass the champagne around.
Pixel Labs acquires Hoodline
Neighborhood news networks are hardly the high-profile operations that investments are usually made of, but Shervin Pishevar saw some promise in Hoodline, which is why he helped bring in $1.6 million in the San Francisco startup’s seed round. To be fair, though, Hoodline definitely had their operation locked down, and the service was routinely covering The Castro, North Beach, both Haights and other key neighborhoods. Positioning itself as the ‘nearby button’ of the internet, the startup uses a machine learning platform to deliver the most relevant content to their users, all within a .2 mile radius. Pixel Labs was the perfect buyer for Hoodline, and since the sale, the location-based news and discovery network has helped Hoodline build solid partnerships with some of the largest national news outlets including ABC television, TripAdvisor, and Vice.
LiveRamp acquires Circulate in 2016
By the time LiveRamp bought Circulate in 2016, Circulate was already helping SDK, app and web publishers make money from first-party data. The key to Circulate was not just the ability to help drive monetization strategies, it was the company’s focus on privacy. In other words, it gave Circulate users the ultimate omnichannel view of customers, ultimately delivering marketing initiatives based on customer want and need, using a platform called IdentityLink. Circulate definitely showed promise before the acquisition and had raised almost $17.5 million in four rounds. And Pishevar, once again, showed the world that when one sees a good investment, they must jump on it.
All-in-all, Shervin Pishevar boasts 16 exits and has infused numerous promising startups with funding, from Munchery to Warby Parker to Kissmetrics. Though the investor recently moved far from Silicon Valley and to the balmy shores of Florida, his influence continues to inspire VC and startup founder alike.