Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS announce winners of Project Entrepreneur 2017 Venture Competition
Buzzies, Lace & Liberty and LOLI Beauty awarded places in PE Accelerator Program and $10,000 Grants. Rebecca Minkoff invites Reboundwear to be Entrepreneur-in-Residence; The Knot/XO Group Selects Repeat Roses to be Incubated
April 11, 2017 – Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS have announced the winners of the second annual Project Entrepreneur (PE) venture competition. The three companies were among 200 female founders who participated in the two-day PE Intensive, and were selected from 12 finalists that pitched their businesses to a panel of investor judges. The winners will each receive a $10,000 grant and on-site training, introductions to investors, coaching and mentorship as part of Project Entrepreneur’s five-week accelerator program hosted at Rent the Runway’s New York headquarters.
The winners are:
- Buzzies - Vicki Mayo, CEO & Co-Founder (Scottsdale, AZ): Neuroscience wearable that alleviates stress by altering the body’s stress response in as little as 30 seconds
- Lace & Liberty - Danielle Wen, CEO & Co-Founder (San Francisco, CA): Merging direct-to-consumer convenience with luxury bespoke bridalwear
- LOLI Beauty - Tina Hedges, Founder & CEO (New York, NY): Pure, Potent, Personalized…LOLI is the first BIY (Blend It Yourself) clean + green beauty brand
Each of the winners will also receive $5,000 worth of legal services from Cooley LLP.
"We are so excited to host the winning teams at the Rent the Runway HQ this summer. They'll work side by side with our team and be able to put into practice everything they've learned at the Project Entrepreneur Intensive as they begin to grow their businesses to the next level," said Jennifer Hyman, CEO and Co-Founder of Rent the Runway.
Additionally, Founder & Designer Rebecca Minkoff has invited Bimla Picot, Founder & CEO of Reboundwear (athleisure wear with a purpose), to be Entrepreneur-in-Residence at her firm’s NYC office. The Knot/XO Group Co-Founder Carley Roney has also selected Jennifer Grove, Founder & CEO of Repeat Roses (sustainable floral waste removal business that gives back to people and planet), to be incubated at her company's headquarters. Reboundwear and Repeat Roses will also participate in PE Accelerator programming.
"Our goal since launching Project Entrepreneur has been to create an ecosystem that supports talented women as they boldly pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions," said Lori Feinsilver, Head of Community Affairs for UBS Americas. "It's inspiring to see that vision come to life and to be a part of their journeys, and we are rooting for their continued success!"
"This year's finalists represented innovation in the most diverse range of industries yet. The incredible talent showcased that each has the potential to completely disrupt their fields," said Jennifer Fleiss, Co-Founder of Rent the Runway.
The winning companies were chosen by a panel of experts which included:
- Nisa Amoils, Scout Ventures
- Kesha Cash, Impact America Fund
- Gwen Cheni, Pier 88 Investment Partners
- Sutian Dong, Female Founders Fund
- Nisha Dua, BBG Ventures
The pitch competition was the culmination of the Project Entrepreneur Intensive. The program hosted 200 women founders for sessions exploring the many aspects of refining and scaling a business. The weekend included participation by a full lineup of successful business owners and leaders, including Sara Blakely (Spanx), Carley Roney (The Knot/XO Group), Hayley Barna (First Round Capital/Birchbox), Marla Beck (Bluemercury), Soraya Darabi (ZADY/Foodspotting), Dara Trujillo (HSN), Merrill Stubbs (Food52), Karen Cahn (iFundWomen), Angela Lee (37 Angels), and Donna Levin (Care.com).
About Project Entrepreneur:
Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS joined forces in September of 2015 to launch Project Entrepreneur, a program the two organizations designed to address the fact that while women are starting more businesses than ever before, only a small fraction — four percent — generate $500K or more in annual revenue1; women also count for less than 10% of founders at high-growth firms2 . In addition to the venture competition, accelerator program and weekend intensive, the Project Entrepreneur initiative also includes multi-city events and a digital resource hub that includes content developed by leading business school faculty and industry professionals. Mashable is the Official Media Partner for Project Entrepreneur. Cooley is the pro bono legal partner of Project Entrepreneur. Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and its philanthropic arm
The CAA Foundation, also worked closely with Rent the Runway and UBS to help bring Project Entrepreneur to life.
Project Entrepreneur is informed by its Community Advisors: Black Founders; HBCU Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Initiative; Latino Startup Alliance; and Venture for America. Advisory Council members can be found at: http://projectentrepreneur.org/about.
About Rent the Runway:
Rent the Runway is revolutionizing fashion by allowing millions of women to rent designer apparel and accessories, both on-demand and through its subscription service Unlimited. The company focuses on convenience and a top-notch customer experience on all of its platforms, including mobile, online, and retail locations in Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. With styles from hundreds of top designers, RTR serves as a powerful marketing channel for the fashion industry, introducing a new generation of women to brands that they had limited access to before. Co-Founded in 2009 by Harvard Business School graduates, Rent the Runway has raised over $190 million in venture capital and has 6 million members across the U.S.
UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in 54 countries, with about 34% of its employees working in the Americas, 35% in Switzerland, 18% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 13% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs approximately 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Note to editors
UBS Wealth Management Americas recently announced that it contributed to raising the industry's largest impact investing fund with a gender lens overlay. Rethink Impact is a venture capital fund that invests in female-led, tech enabled companies creating transformational social and environmental change. www.ubs.com/together / www.rethinkimpact.com
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Rent the Runway & Project Entrepreneur
Meaghan Gibbons, +1-212-524-6860 ext 114/ +1-401-248-8997 (mobile)
Pranita Sookai, +1-212-713-3379/ +1718-316-2182 (mobile)