Rent the Runway
Hyman, 32, didn't revolutionize fashion so much as democratize it. Her rent-a-dress company, founded with Harvard Business School classmate Jenny Fleiss, enables customers to lease high-end apparel at 10% cost. Hyman says the business succeeds because it empowers its 3 million members. "We deliver Cinderella moments," Hyman says. Rent the Runway is also a dream come true for its 170 fashion brands that have come to view the company as a powerful marketing engine. That's quite a feat in the exclusive fashion industry, particularly for a woman who broke into the business with no previous fashion, technology, or operations experience. Rent the Runway is also turning into a fairy tale for its investors, including Bain Capital Ventures and Kleiner Perkins. Sources estimate that the company is now valued at about $240 million. Having made fashion more accessible, Hyman is turning her eye to the business world, pushing for family-friendly offices. "Workplace," she says, "is the new family."
Thinking of launching a company? This handy interactive guide will help you find your ideal founder-CEO archetype.