Rent the Runway has transformed the retail industry by making designer dress and accessory rentals a convenient and accessible luxury experience for millions of women. The company was co-founded in 2009 by Harvard Business School classmates Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss. With over 6 million members, Rent the Runway is pioneering an apparel business in the new sharing economy with the overall mission to democratize luxury for women everywhere.
Just a year after its launch, Rent the Runway was named as one of the 50 best websites of the year by TIME magazine. In 2011, it was honored by Fast Company as one of the 10 most innovative fashion companies of the year. The company has received approximately $54 million in venture capital from Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Condé Nast’s parent company Advance Publications, American Express and Novel TMT Ventures.
In 2013, Rent the Runway opened its first brick-and-mortar location on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The showroom features a number of rotating pieces, allowing customers to try on dresses and accessories before renting them. Two more locations have since opened in New York City’s Soho and Las Vegas.
Most recently, Jennifer and Jennifer partnered with UBS to launch Project Entrepreneur, a program dedicating to providing women access to the tools, training and networks needed to build scalable, economically impactful companies.