Byline: Kerry Diamond

NEW YORK — Idealab, the Silicon Valley Internet incubator, has bought a controlling interest in beauty aggregator and hired three former Barneys New York executives as part of its plan to build a multicategory, luxury e-tail site.
Leading the new initiative as chief executive officer is Thomas Shull, the former ceo of Barneys who helped the specialty store chain emerge from bankruptcy. Joining him are Ed Lambert, former chief financial officer of Barneys, who will serve as president and chief operating officer, and Paul Jen, former vice president of marketing of Barneys, who will have a senior management role with the new entity.
Idealab’s announcement comes right on the virtual heels of Estee Lauder Cos.’s purchase of last week and the news that Gabriella Forte, formerly of Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani, might join
While it’s not a well-known name on Seventh Avenue, Idealab is a major force in the Internet arena and last month raised $1 billion in a financing round.
According to its Web site, the company has helped create more than 50 Internet businesses, including,,, and, and has a financial stake in several of them.
According to industry sources, Idealab spent more than $50 million to acquire a controlling interest in Prior to the deal, Idealab — which provided Eve with its first round of seed funding — owned 20 percent of the beauty e-tailer.
Idealab founder and chairman Bill Gross will serve as chairman of, while co-founder Mariam Naficy will oversee marketing and business development and Varsha Rao, the other co-founder, will oversee merchandising and new category development. will be part of Idealab’s as-year-unnamed luxury e-tail project and will function as “the first floor of the department store,” explained Naficy. As reported, Eve. will expand into jewelry this summer.