Capital Buzz: LivingSocial hires executive familiar with managing growth

By Thomas Heath
Monday, August 30, 2010

LivingSocial is living large.

The D.C.-based company, which offers daily Web deals with local merchants, has created a chief operating officer's slot and hired Eric Eichmann, a former AOL hand and a Rosetta Stone exec, to fill it.

"Eric has a very good track record at both AOL and Rosetta Stone at taking a company that was in a growth stage and helping them become a very significantly sized company," said LivingSocial chief executive and co-founder Tim O'Shaughnessy.

O'Shaughnessy said the recommendation to hire Eichmann came from LivingSocial investor -- and former AOLer -- Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners in Menlo Park, Calif.

LivingSocial, which is backed by former AOL chairman Steve Case, among others, is in 60 markets and three countries as it takes on Chicago-based rival Groupon, whose backers include local venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates and D.C. sports mogul Ted Leonsis, a former AOL bigwig and close friend and associate of Case.

"We are at the right stage as an organization," said O'Shaughnessy, who is the son-in-law of Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham. The company is expected to gross more than $100 million this year.

"We've gone from 30 to 300 employees this year," said O'Shaughnessy. "And Eric has managed complex and large-scale organizations at AOL and Rosetta Stone."

Eichmann, who resigned as Rosetta Stone's chief operating officer on Aug. 6, has already started at LivingSocial.


-- From colleague Danielle Douglas that Silver Spring native Dana Ayanna Greaves, the designer behind Artistic Aya, a women's clothing and accessories brand, is setting up shop on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and P Street in Georgetown, where she will debut Artaya in September. The space, roughly 150 square feet inside a side-street boutique, is a bit on the small side. But it's a start for a local designer, who has worked to establish her brand in the midst of a recession.

-- Construction has started on a Georgetown Brooks Brothers on the corner of 31st and M streets. The 20,000-foot store, whose landlord is Anthony Lanier's EastBanc, replaces former Pottery Barn and Smith & Hawken retail spaces. Look for it to open in November 2011.

-- Fro.Zen.Yo, a frozen yogurt chainlet with stores at Metro Center, Columbia Heights and Friendship Heights, has signed a lease at the former Map Store, located next to the Farragut West Metro station on I Street Northwest. The space includes a 600-square-foot retail area and 900 square feet for preparation.

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