Rent the Runway, the online designer dress and accessories rental site, has acquired social retailing startup Go Try It On Inc. for an undisclosed amount.
The acquisition essentially is for customer acquisition and talent, said Jennifer Hyman, cofounder and chief executive officer of Rent the Runway.
Go Try It On the company, as well as it’s mobile application platform, will cease to exist. Its customer lists will be owned by Rent the Runway. The app launched in March 2010, and enabled its mobile community of users to share their outfits within their social network, where they give and receive feedback.
Marissa Evans, the former ceo and founder of the social retailing startup, will join Rent the Runway as head of radical innovation, a newly created role for the rental site. Two other full-time and one part-time staffers will also join Rent the Runway.
According to Hyman, Evans’ new role will be to “lead a small team within the company where she will function as a startup ceo within Rent the Runway.” Her goals will be to learn more about the customer base, how to get them to come back more often and launching different tests on the site.
“We’re at a very different stage now. I can’t do some of the experimentation that we did three years ago. The ideas [from Evans] can be crazy or zany. The ideas are not the general priority. It’s the testing of diversity of projects that lead to habit formation within Rent the Runway,” Hyman said.
Hyman said she and Evans know each other from the entrepreneurial community in NYC. Both are also Harvard Business School graduates and their firms took similar paths.
Rent the Runway already has on its site a social shopping platform launched in October that enables renters to see outfits on other women with similar height and weight measurements.
Evans’ social networking background, as well as her mobile experience, is expected to result in initiatives that will help “revolutionize our business in the years to come.”
According to Rent the Runway, the site has over three million members and adds about 100,000 new members each month. The most rented categories currently are weddings, formal events and parties. The top designers in the gown category are Badgley Mischka, Nicole Miller, BCBG Max Azria and ML Monique Lhuillier. The top designers in the cocktail category are Shoshanna, Nicole Miller, Trina Turk and Badgley Mischka.
Rent the Runway so far has raised an aggregate of $55.4 million in three venture capital financing rounds.