Brian Lee (entrepreneur)
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2014)|
Before his start-up career, Lee was an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP and a former manager at Deloitte & Touche, LLP with substantial experience in consulting on tax and accounting issues, with special focus on serving technology companies in the area. Lee graduated Magna Cum Laude with at B.A. in Economics/Business from UCLA and received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law.
Fame with startups
Brian Lee is famous for co-founding startups with celebrities.
His first startup, Legalzoom.com, was with Robert Shapiro of OJ Simpson fame. Legalzoom is an online legal documentation service or elawyering firm. His other co founders include Brian P. Y. Liu and Edward R. Hartman. Legalzoom provides online document assembly of legal documents, a legal education center and articles on the legal aspect of current events. It started offering legal services products to the public on March 12, 2001. Lee, Hartman and Liu felt that since they were unknowns, they needed to attach someone to the company that people trusted. They came up with a list of potential candidates and decided on Robert Shapiro. Lee got Shapiro's phone number from information and called him at 10 P.M. believing he would be leaving a voice mail, but Shapiro personally answered the phone and after discussion, liked the concept. LegalZoom was ranked #27 as World's Most Valuable Startups by Business Insider in 2011.
His second startup was Shoedazzle.com with reality show star and model Kim Kardashian. ShoeDazzle is a LosAngeles-based online personalized styling and retail service. Members pay $39.95 per month ($479 per year) for which they get one pair of shoes sent per month to own outright. The company's other co-founders include Robert Shapiro (lawyer) and MJ Eng. It was launched in March 2009. The service has more than three million members and nearly a million fans on Facebook. ShoeDazzle was ranked #21 on Most Promising Companies by Forbes Magazine. ShoeDazzle ranked #59 as World's Most Valuable Startups by Business Insider in 2011.
In November 2009, Polaris Venture Partners invested $7 million in shoedazzle. In April 2010, Lightspeed Venture Partners led a $13 million round. In May 2011, Shoedazzle secured $40 million in a Series C investment financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Huffington Post UK wrote the following about shoedazzle.com in July, 2011: "ShoeDazzle has turned itself into a destination by using the modern tools of social media to render online shopping more like the shopping experience of yesterday, before the advent of the Internet. At the same time, it has harnessed the Internet to open the previously exclusive domain of the boutique to the masses, with personalised options tailored to the individual customer."
The Honest Company is Lee's third startup company and was co-founded with Jessica Alba, Christopher Gavigan, and Sean Kane. The Honest Company manufactures and sells dozens of non-toxic, chemical-free products, from diapers and wipes to shampoos and detergents. Like ShoeDazzle, The Honest Company controls the entire product life-cycle from design to manufacturing and distribution, but unlike ShoeDazzle, most of the goods are made in the USA, rather than in China (The exception is the diapers which are made by a US company just across the border in Mexico). Recently, The Honest Company has started selling its products at stores such as Target Corporation and Whole Foods Market.
Lee was named one of the "25 most notable Korean-American entrepreneurs" by Forbes magazine in 2009. In 2014, he was commended as the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
- First online dating, then online wedding planning, now this (22 January 2004). USA Today. Last accessed 17 April 2009
- Legal Advice on the Web (23 May 2002). NY Times. Last accessed 17 April 2009.
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- Hollywoodlife. "Kim Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle Gets A $40 Million Boost, Thanks To New Investor!." May 17, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Pui-Wing Tam, The Wall Street Journal. "ShoeDazzle Raises $40 Million." May 13, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
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- Forbes. ".
- The Honest Company
- Legalzoom Management Team