20VC: The Rent the Runway Memo: How Paid Marketing & Growth Hacking Ruined a Generation of Companies, When Will Rent the Runway Be Profitable & How Does it Compare to Other Fashion Co’s and Why “I Wish I Ran My Startup Like a Public Company”

Posted on 28th June 2023 by Harry

Jennifer Hyman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rent the Runway, the world’s first and largest shared designer closet. Under Jennifer’s leadership, RTR has made history by being the first company to go public with a female founder/CEO, COO, and CFO. Jennifer serves on the Board of The Estée Lauder Companies and Zalando, and also is a Founding Member of the NYSE Board Advisory Council, a Member of the Women.nyc Advisory Board and a Member of the Launch with GS Advisory Council for Goldman Sachs.

In Today’s Episode with Jennifer Hyman We Discuss:

1. The 14-Year Overnight Success: Scaling Rent The Runway To IPO:

  • What was the a-ha founding moment for Jennifer with RTR?
  • What does Jenn know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  • Does Jenn believe that naivete is good or not when starting a business?

2. Building the Best Team:

  • What have been Jenn’s single biggest lessons when it comes to acquiring the best talent?
  • What have been Jenn’s biggest hiring mistakes over the years?
  • How does Jenn approach the interview process? Why does Jenn not focus on their professional career and achievements? What questions does she ask?
  • What does Jenn believe are the single biggest mistakes founders make when building their teams?

3. Building the Business for IPO and Beyond:

  • Why does Jenn wish she had run RTR as a private company in the same way she does now as a public company? How does the way you run the company differ?
  • What about the unit economics of RTR suggesting it is a fundamentally better business than apparel competitors? How have their margin profiles changed over time?
  • Why does Wall St not love RTR? What is required for that to change? Why does Jenn believe the street is wrong on how they analyse RTR?

4. Boards 101: Leading and Learning from Estee Lauder:

  • What are Jenn’s biggest lessons to founders on how to manage boards successfully?
  • What have been 1-2 of Jenn’s biggest lessons from being on the Estee Lauder board?
  • What do the best board members do? What do the worst board members do?

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