What a Difference a Year Makes
The early success of the Wharton startup Stylitics makes for a happy and inspiring story for entrepreneurs on campuses and in apartment “offices” everywhere.
Almost a year ago to the day, I was onstage at NASDAQ with Stylitics, the winners of the 2011 Michelson Grand Prize of the Wharton Business Plan Competition (WBPC), ringing the closing bell. As Wharton Entrepreneurship and RightCare Solutions—this year’s Michelson Grand Prize Winner—enjoyed their own NASDAQ closing bell ceremony on Aug. 21, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how far Stylitics has come in one year.
Stylitics is a fashion insights company. It engages fashion-conscious consumers through the company’s platform to organize their style, share opinions, and discover new trends and looks from the community of users. Through innovative use of real-time style data, Stylitics gives users insight into the inner workings of their closets (and targeted recommendations from their favorite brands and retailers), all while collecting valuable information for these same brands and retailers.
Stylitics’ co-founders Rohan Deuskar, WG’11, and Zach Davis first met while they were working at Vibes, a mobile marketing solutions company based in Chicago and founded by Alex Campbell, W’98. The two stayed in touch when Rohan headed off to Wharton, joining forces to found Stylitics and win the WBPC in 2011. Following Rohan’s graduation, the team moved to New York City and began working full-time (out of Rohan’s small Brooklyn apartment) to build Stylitics. Their first full-time hire, brought on board that summer, was Marina (Nazarova) Rakhlin, WG’11, as director of product management. Marina and Rohan met early in their first year of the Wharton MBA Program when they were selected as part of the management committee of the 2009-2010 WBPC.
Stylitics has now hired eight full-time employees and five contractors. The team is spread across the globe with representatives in Serbia, India, Iraq, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. One of their investors is even based in Romania. Speaking of funding, the team initially raised $800,000 in a seed round and is currently closing its next round of funding from some new and existing investors.
The team has also received a lot of fantastic press. For example, in April the Wall Street Journal featured Stylitics prominently in an article it ran on campus ambassador programs. And it was Stylitics and Pinterest that The New York Times fashion section pointed to in March as evidence of how online fashion shopping is being revolutionized.
There have been lots of achievements for Stylitics this summer. The New York-based team no longer calls Rohan’s apartment home; this past June, the company moved to Midtown Manhattan, in the garment district. On Aug. 10, the company launched a mobile app for the iPhone. And this week, they launched a new Stylitics website.
A little over a year ago, Rohan and Zach arrived in New York with a winning idea. Today, they have proven that they can build a product that consumers will use and collect data that brands want. With this foundation in place, along with a strong team, a new website and a mobile presence, the company is positioned to launch exciting new products and features and take Stylitics to new heights.
Editor’s note: This post first appeared on Wharton’s Entrepreneurship Blog on Aug. 17, 2012.Tags: Alex Campbell • Marina Rakhlin • Michelson Grand Prize Winner • NASDAQ • Pinterest • RightCare Solutions • Rohan Deuskar • Stylitics • WBPC • Wharton Business Plan Competition • Wharton Entrepreneurship • Zach Davis