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Big returns for VC firm founded by Starbucks CEO

October 8, 2013: 12:03 PM ET

Maveron scored big on last week's Potbelly IPO. And Zulily should be even bigger.


FORTUNE -- Things just keep getting better for Maveron, the Seattle-based venture capital firm co-founded in the late 1990s by Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz.

The first big hit came last week, when sandwich shop chain Potbelly (PBPB) went public and saw its shares more than double in the aftermarket. Maveron is the company's largest shareholder, with around a 20% stake that opened trading today at a value of $195 million. Not too shabby, considering that the VC firm invested less than $20 million.

But the second hit may be even larger.

Zulily, a Seattle-based ecommerce company focused on clothing and products for babies and children, this morning filed for a $100 million IPO. And, once again, Maveron is listed as the largest shareholder with a 23.6% ownership stake.

Maveron invested approximately $6 million for its shares, and already recouped $32.5 million via a late 2012 stock repurchase by the company. Zulily has not yet publicly disclosed its pricing plans, but this certainly is going to be a popular offering. The fast-growing company is profitable with $272 million in revenue for the first half of 2013, compared to a $6 million net loss on $127 million in revenue for the year-earlier period.

The company received a $1 billion private valuation in its last private funding round in early 2012, and it should easily be able to clear that hurdle in the public markets. That likely puts Maveron's overall return at better than 50X, which also works out to a dollar amount larger than any single fund the firm has ever managed to raise.

Both the Potbelly and Zulily deals were led for Maveron by Dan Levitan, who co-founded the firm with Schultz in 1998.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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