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How Zulily Turned Distracted Moms Into a Red-Hot Tech IPO

Zulily, a fast-growing flash-sales platform, is a rare animal in today’s tech ecosystem. It could care less about selfies by skater kids and celebrities, and it has little interest in wooing billion-dollar brands for product placements or advertising dollars. No, Zulily is all about selling small-batch stuff to moms.

That’s one way to boil down the company’s 170-page prospectus for its initial public offering. One could argue it has more in common withSears in the 1980s than Snapchat in 2013, and as a result the tech press has virtually ignored the startup. Yet institutional investors gobbled up Zulily stock in an IPO last week. Shares almost doubled when they started trading publicly Friday, before settling back to around $37, almost 70 percent higher than their initial price.