17. Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, Rent the Runway
Jenn Hyman got the idea for Rent the Runway when her sister bought a $2,000 dress to attend a wedding. Shocked at the cost, Hyman thought it would be great if women could rent designer clothing instead of buying it. She and Harvard Business School classmate Jenny Fleiss started testing the concept of “Netflix for dresses.”
Persuading designers and venture capitalists their idea had merit was a challenge, but the partners persisted. Today Rent the Runway also rents daywear, jewelry, handbags, accessories, home goods and children’s clothing. It recently joined the elite group of female-led startups valued at over $1 billion.