WOMEN CHARGE THE TECH SPACE—FINALLY!
We’ve been so excited to see the ingenuity and sheer number of tech start-ups coming out of Harvard Business School (HBS), our alma mater, over the past few years. Of course, we’ve paid particular attention to the fashion-related start-ups, most of which happen to be founded by women. Alexandra is quoted in this article, which talks about some of the most promising, including Gilt, Moda Operandi, and Rent the Runway.
We’ve been able to meet and advise (and even invest in!) so many of our fellow female HBS tech entrepreneurs. For example, Alexandra is on the advisory board of Birchbox (www.birchbox.com), a clever young company that delivers about five hand-picked samples of beauty products to customers’ doors each month. The point is to help product junkies like ourselves cut through the clutter and find things that actually work for them (we are loving these monthly deliveries of beauty treats). Like Gilt, Birchbox was cofounded by two female friends who met at HBS.
We can’t help but notice that many of these companies took an approach similar to Gilt’s with their launch. HBS professor Bill Sahlman, also quoted, makes a point we touch on many times in our book. “We went from a period where it was pretty expensive to launch a business and not many people were geared up to do it to where it costs under $250,000 to test an idea and see where you can get traction,” he says. In By Invitation Only, we call this test before you over-invest—and it’s easier than ever in the tech space. We launched Gilt on a shoestring budget in 2007—before we even had a functioning returns section—because we wanted to beat the competition and because we wanted to find out what our customers thought before we poured any more money into the site. These days, with so many new start-ups launching all the time, it’s helpful to see what sticks before you invest too many resources in an idea.
Congrats to all the new female tech entrepreneurs who are revolutionizing fashion and retail (and for the most part working right here in New York!).