Walmart’s former e-commerce boss Marc Lore said he was ready to make big bets in digital retail when he teams up with baseball star Alex Rodriguez at a new venture capital firm.
In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” the serial entrepreneur said they will write larger checks and acquire larger stakes in early-stage companies. For example, he said, they invested $ 10 million in a 40 percent stake in NOW // with, a start-up that connects Instagram followers with brands.
The new company, called Vision Capital People, or VCP, will start with $ 50 million from Lore and Rodriguez’s own money. The couple are also in talks to buy a professional basketball team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He said giving promising startups a larger amount of money sooner to hire talent and invest in the company “gives the company a much better chance of success so that it is self-fulfilling.”
“Owning 40 to 80% of a company means you don’t really need that many hits,” he said. “A big win at 40% pays for everything else. That’s why I like the idea of these focused bets instead of just scattering dollars. We have the ability to actually influence the area the company is in and to be leaders in the face of the capital and the kind of people we can bring in. “
He said that when choosing companies, they will look for “retail megatrends” such as social commerce and conversational commerce.
Lore is a serial entrepreneur. He joined Walmart when the big box retailer acquired its online delivery startup Jet.com for $ 3.3 billion in 2016. The acquisition was largely seen as a way to poach the digitally savvy entrepreneur and team when Walmart tried to boost its online business to catch up with rival Amazon. He had previously sold another start-up he founded, Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com, to Amazon for about $ 550 million.
Walmart officially retired Jet.com a year ago. Lore left his Walmart position in January and will serve as a strategic advisor through September. At the time, he told CNBC in an interview that he intended to return to his startup roots, invest in new businesses and start others.
CNBC recently reported on one of these companies: an investment in Wonder, a company made up of part Food Truck and part Ghost Kitchen. The company is in stealth mode in an affluent suburb of New Jersey. A fleet of purple trucks cooks gourmet meals outside of customers’ homes and serves them on a table by the door.
He and Rodriguez agreed to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves in April for $ 1.5 billion, but the deal isn’t final.