IMC Recruits Digital Innovator Bill Furlong of Expedia Group to Drive Rapid Omnichannel Platform Growth
Atlanta-based International Market Centers, a Blackstone portfolio company, announce that William (Bill) Furlong will join the company effective June 1 in a newly-created position as chief executive officer of Juniper, IMC’s new fully integrated omnichannel B2B e-commerce platform. This strategic hire further underscores the companies’ investment in and commitment to the development of an industry-first, best-in-class B2B suite of software and marketplace solutions. Together IMC and Blackstone have invested more than $100MM in product development and built a team of more than 160 people in less than 18 months.
Furlong brings 25 years of digital innovation and leadership experience, including 11 years with Expedia Group that included oversight of the Americas business for the Vrbo/HomeAway vacation rental marketplace. During that time, he led teams that successfully developed industry-first digital tools for vacation rental management companies and powered a best-in-class digital marketplace for vacation rentals.
“We are thrilled to add such a seasoned digital executive with demonstrated talent and relatable expertise to the Juniper team,” says Bob Maricich (pictured right), IMC chairman and CEO. “In January 2020, with the acquisition of two industry-leading SaaS solutions, we announced our intent to build best-in-class digital tools and e-commerce opportunities for the industry. We pledged to invest $100MM in a platform that would transform the industry through delivery of a unique B2B omnichannel ecosystem. Since then, we have recruited over 100 new hires including developers, product designers, sales reps and customer success teams, and we have launched several components of the Juniper software suite. Now, in our second year of development and approaching a major platform launch, the time is right to add an elevated leadership position with unique perspective and a bias for innovation and growth. Bill will be a tremendous asset to Juniper and to IMC.”
Furlong joined software company Escapia as CEO in 2006. In just four years, he raised capital, built a world class management team, developed a cloud-based vacation rental software platform, and enabled vacation rental companies to capitalize on the dramatic growth and digital transformation of the vacation rental business. Escapia was acquired by Vrbo/HomeAway in 2010, which was subsequently acquired by Expedia in 2015. At Expedia, Furlong oversaw the Vrbo and HomeAway business across the Americas. Later, as vice president, North American markets for Expedia, he drove growth across the portfolio of Expedia brands (including Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Vrbo and Hotwire). A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School, Furlong has also held positions at Microsoft, Time Warner and Morgan Stanley.
“IMC’s omnichannel vision is bold and compelling, and I am intrigued and energized by the opportunity that Juniper presents,” says Furlong. “My entrepreneurial experience at Escapia taught me that listening to the customer and developing thoughtful and iterative business solutions is at the heart of digital innovation. The Juniper team is executing a unique and well-designed omnichannel solution that will help buyers and sellers alike build even stronger businesses during a period of dramatic change. I look forward to being part of that evolution.”
“Bill will be a terrific addition to our team,” adds Eric Dean (pictured left), president of Juniper. “His experience in the highly-fragmented and personalized vacation rental industry mirrors some of the complexity of the B2B gift and home industry with multiple sales channels, models of distribution and a diverse mix of customers. As we prepare to launch JuniperMarket in the coming months, Bill will bring invaluable experience, innovative thinking and a customer-centric approach.”
Furlong will report to Bob Maricich, chairman and CEO of IMC, and will work closely with Juniper’s founding executive team, including President Eric Dean, Chief Technology Officer Max Fraser, and Senior Vice Presidents Alex Fraser and Brandon Ward, to accelerate Juniper’s mission to deliver a digital marketplace and transformative technology built by and for the wholesale furniture, gift and home décor industries.
Juniper is a fully integrated omnichannel B2B commerce solution and multi-line B2B e-commerce marketplace, empowering buyers and sellers to better manage and grow their business at markets and year-round. Juniper offers a sales automation and commerce platform (JuniperCommerce) combined with a B2B e-commerce marketplace (JuniperMarket) that together empower sales teams, streamline product data management and deliver real-time visibility across channels—driving business efficiency and growth for buyers and sellers. Juniper is powered by International Market Centers, the world’s largest owner and operator of premier wholesale showroom space for the furniture, home décor, gift and apparel industries with more than 60 years of relationships and experience creating scalable business platforms for wholesale commerce. For more info, visit www.JuniperCommerce.com.
International Market Centers serves as the center of commerce for the wholesale furniture, gift, home décor and apparel industries. With more than 20 million square feet of premium wholesale showroom space in High Point, N.C., Las Vegas and Atlanta, IMC has more than 60 years of relationships and experience creating scalable business platforms for wholesale commerce. With the launch of Juniper, a fully integrated omnichannel B2B commerce solution and multi-line B2B e-commerce marketplace empowering buyers and sellers to better manage and grow their business at markets and year-round, IMC now provides the only omnichannel sales and marketing platform that seamlessly connects physical and digital wholesale commerce. For more info, visit www.imcenters.com.