Speed Commerce headquarters in Las Vegas (company photo)
Five executives who departed Rakuten Super Logistics after the Japanese parent company sold the company in 2022 to FirstMile owner Devin Johnson have now found a home at Speed Commerce, which finds itself in expansion mode, with a focus on mid-market ecommerce firms.
Rakuten, which decided to pull out of the logistics space in the U.S. to pursue its mobile network strategy in Japan, sold the company to Johnson, which then became rebranded as ShipNetwork. Rakuten Super Logistics had acquired FirstMile in 2019.
Michael Manzione, former CEO of Rakuten Super Logistics, said he was kept on to manage the sale to Johnson and FirstMile, then departed the company soon after.
“I knew I would lose my job at the end of the acquisition,” Manzione said. “The acquiring company was no longer pursuing the strategy I had, and a few members of my executive team were let go.”
At the same time, Manzione re-established contact with Speed Commerce owner, president and CEO Cary Samourkachian, whom he had known for several years. Samourkachian had previously been a client of Speed Commerce with other companies he had started and run. Based on the success of the relationship, he decided to purchase the assets of Speed Commerce in 2018 from private equity firm Garrison Investment Group, which had acquired it in 2016.
“He had a long-term vision for Speed Commerce,” Manzione said. “When I left Rakuten, we talked and found we had a shared vision and were aligned on culture, which led to an opportunity to join his company.”
When some executives were let go after the sale of Rakuten, Manzione and Samourkachian put together a plan to reassemble his team at Speed Commerce. “It wasn’t anything other than natural events creating an opportunity, and opportunity meets preparation,” he said. “But it was one I probably never would have dreamed of. It was a very easy way of bringing together like-minded people who had a similar vision and culture.”
Along with Manzione, who was named COO of Speed Commerce last month, the company has brought on Jason Chan as VP of sales and marketing, who held the same role at Rakuten; Gregg Beall as VP of IT (former CTO); Robert Tillman as senior director of operations (former VP of operations); and Lauren Groh as director of finance (same role).
Speed Commerce currently operates two fulfillment centers in Missouri and and a contact center in Las Vegas, where Manzione’s team is based. This year, the company is opening up an additional contact center in the Philippines, and next month an FC in Las Vegas. The company says it can reach 94% of the U.S. within 2-3 days via ground shipping.
“There are certain times where you want to rely on a U.S.-based agent, and others you can pass to an international agent,” Manzione said. “Building a network to lower transportation costs is table stakes. What is a concern with most ecommerce clients is how to lower returns and create repeat customers. You do that through building relationships with them and there’s no better way to do than through a live contact center.”