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Interestingly, Webvan, too, had got funding from both Softbank and Sequoia.
Retailers, though, are cautious about offering same-day deliveries because of the failures of companies such as Webvan, said Rob Howard, founder and CEO of Grand Junction Inc.
That grocer's strategy was a "me-too" solution developed to neutralize the alternative of the customer's going to Webvan or Homegrocer.
They were in the process of going public, so that tapped into some of the corporate securities work that I had gained by being at Webvan. It was a great fit.
So how do you increase your chances of finding a Google instead of a Webvan? "Do the work," says Carla Harris, a managing director with Morgan Stanley in New York.
online grocery firm Webvan, which went bankrupt in 2001 with around $1 billion of losses.
Amazon.com is using those billions of dollars it would have had to spend on delivery services--remember Webvan and how fast it flushed $1 billion down the toilet?--to constantly invest in improving its online customer experience, build out its computing capacity, and stay at the forefront of online retailing.
consortium aren't the only games in town:: one is headed by Louis Borders, the founder of Borders Books and Webvan, and another led by Alan Mutter, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was once a top editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
The authors recount the "field of dreams" strategies of Motorola's $5 billion Iridium satellite-telephone venture, Webvan's online grocery delivery service and FedEx's Zapmail, which was ambushed by improving fax technology.
In fact, AMB actually benefited from the spectacular collapse of one client--the online grocery business Webvan. "We built three warehouses for them and they went broke on us," says Moghadam.
'Secondly, the idea of standalone operations like Peapod or Webvan has put tremendous pressure on the business model to get to scale efficiently and rapidly.
Experts predict that Amazon's adventure won't conclude like Webvan, the Foster City-based company that spent millions on a climate-controlled warehouse network before going bankrupt in 2001.