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Jennifer Hyman

Co-Founder & CEO, Rent the Runway

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Jennifer Hyman on disrupting an old industry, turning an office into a family, and dancing to Beyoncé.
Before starting Rent the Runway, Hyman was Director of Business Development at IMG, worked in ad sales at, and served as an in-house entrepreneur for Starwood Hotels. On Thanksgiving break from Harvard Business School, Hyman stayed with her sister in New York. Her sister had just bought an expensive dress for a wedding even though her closet was already filled with options. Hyman realized that social media had made re-wearing dresses an unappealing idea, and there might be a way to save her sister from buying new dresses and crowding her closet, again and again. The answer was to challenge the idea of ownership.    In 2009, Hyman started Rent the Runway with a classmate from Harvard Business School. Through technology, Hyman’s company makes the rental of designer dresses and accessories convenient and affordable. The New York Times called it “a Netflix model for couture.” As of March 2014, Hyman and her co-founder, Jenny Fleiss, have raised approximately $54 million in venture capital funding for Rent the Runway. They have 5 million members and 287 employees. Fast Company named Hyman “the most influential woman in technology,” while Forbes included her on their list of the “most disruptive names in the business.”

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