Chewy.com — one of the fastest growing private ecommerce companies in the United States, according to a recent feature by Forbes — is opening an office in Boston with plans to hire 200 people.
BOSTON IS AN AMAZING TECHNOLOGY HUB AND STARTUP HUB, WITH DOZENS OF UNIVERSITIES.
Ryan Cohen, CEO and founder of Chewy, told The Boston Globe that the online pet supplies retailer already has a small team working out of a temporary office, and it will eventually move into a 20,000-square-foot space. The company is initially looking to make hires in recruiting, design and software development. One of its early local hires is former DataXu Director of Engineering Mike Surilov.
“Boston is an amazing technology hub and startup hub, with dozens of universities,” Cohen told the Globe, adding that he chose the city after looking at “all of the major U.S. cities.”
Beyond that, Chewy’s other local connection is Volition Capital, a Boston-based growth equity firm focusing on mostly bootstrapped ventures that became Chewy’s first investor with a $15 million round. Formed by the former Fidelity Ventures leadership team, Volition last summer raised a $250 million fund, its third and largest yet.
“We’re fundamentally challenging the notion that you have to take on more risk to have outsize returns,” Larry Cheng, Volition’s managing partner, told me at the time, speaking about the firm’s strategy of seeking fast-growing companies that have raised little to no venture capital.
Cohen didn’t have any luck with VC firms when Chewy was in its early days, according to the recently published feature in Forbes. After failing to even get past the reception desks of six VC firms, Cohen eventually met Cheng, who was impressed with Chewy’s growth metrics and eventually had Volition invest its $15 million. Other investors followed, including T. Rowe Price and BlackRock, bringing Chewy’s total funding to more than $200 million.
Cohen told Forbes that Chewy is now on track for $900 million in revenue for 2016 and more than $1.5 billion for 2017. Headquartered in Dania Beach, Fla., the company has approximately 4,000 employees.