Julie Wainwright

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Julie Wainwright
Nationality United States
Alma mater Purdue University

Julie Wainwright is the former CEO of the defunct website Pets.com and current CEO of The RealReal, a consignment website that sells luxury items, deals and recycling.[1] Wainwright was named "one of the 50 Most Influential Business women in the Bay Area by San Francisco Business Times, and was one of Microtimes' Top 100 Technology Executives for 1997".[2] She is the author of ReBoot: My Five Life-Changing Mistakes and How I Have Moved On, a book chronicling her experiences at Pets.com and SmartNow.

Early in life,[when?] she began working for The Clorox Company in brand management and computer software.[3] By age 30, she replaced Wes Boyd as CEO of Berkeley Systems[4][5] where she was instrumental by changing the company's strategy by making it a leading interactive entertainment entity.[2] As president and CEO of the company, she had reduced a two year decline in productivity.[6] She was among one third of the employees that were laid off from Berkeley[6] when the company was sold to CUC in late 1996.[7]

She then became President and CEO of Reel.com, replacing founder, Stuart Skorman.[3] After 27 months, Hollywood Video purchased Reel.com for $100,000,000 and Wainwright left the organization to be replaced by Jeff Jordan. At this time she had almost 20 years of experience with software, technology and consumer-product industries.[2] She was immediately tapped by John Hummer of HummerWinblad Ventures to run Pets.com.

Julie Wainwright was CEO of Pets.com, which ceased operations 268 days after its initial stock offering and was "one of the shortest-lived public companies on record" according to Kirk Cheyfitz, author of Thinking Inside the Box: The 12 Timeless Rules for Managing a Successful Business.[8] After shutting Pets.com in November 2000, her husband sought a divorce.[9] Wainwright has said that this was a very difficult time in her life: "I had two major life crises in the same week, one public and one private, that sent me on a journey of self-discovery and healing I couldn’t have anticipated."[1]

When Pets.com closed, Wainwright received $50,000 as a performance bonus from the board members in addition to her normal $165,000 bonus and a severance package of $165,000.[10] She then founded SmartNow.com, a website centered around an application that enables an economy for knowledge sharing, in 2008.[3][11]

In 2003, she replaced Steve MacDonald as president and CEO of an online photo enhancement service called Mountain View's Bellamax, Inc.[12] after briefly serving as interim CEO of OntheFrontier, a consulting firm.[13]


  1. ^ a b Miller, Claire Cain (August 1, 2008). "Chief of Pets.com Is Back, Minus the Sock Puppet". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Business Week (accessed April 25, 2009) Archived March 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c SmartNow (accessed April 25, 2009) Archived April 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Skorman, Stuart; Guthrie, Catherine S. (February 9, 2007). Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur. John Wiley and Sons. p. 128. ISBN 978-0787987329. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Milken's Knowledge expands with Discovery Centers buy". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Ginsberg, Steve. "Berkeley Systems wagers $10M on Internet games". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  7. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Oracle lays out framework for headquarters growth". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ Cheyfitz, Kirk (2003). Thinking Inside the Box: The 12 Timeless Rules for Managing a Successful Business. Simon & Schuster. pp. 30–32. ISBN 978-0-7432-3575-4. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ Ustinova, Anastasia (June 21, 2008). "Julie Wainwright is so over the dot-com bust". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ Levine, Daniel S.; Wilson, Lizette (May 27, 2001). "CEOs bail for cash landings". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  11. ^ Swisher, Kara (July 8, 2008). "SmartNow's Julie Wainwright Speaks!". All Things Digital. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  12. ^ Wilson, Lizette (August 10, 2003). "Double exposure: Digital photo firm's CEO packs past flash". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Wainwright finds new ship to sail". San Francisco Business Times. August 4, 2003. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 

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