Female-led Glossier and Rent the Runway join exclusive club as both hit ‘unicorn’ status

Glossier, a direct-to-consumer skincare and cosmetics line, and rental clothing company Rent the Runway, both attained unicorn status in the same week.

There were two new unicorns born this week – and they’re both women.

Glossier, a direct-to-consumer skincare and cosmetics line, and Rent the Runway, a luxury clothing-rental company, both attained unicorn status in the same week. In the business world, a “unicorn” is a privately held startup valued at $1 billion. Both Glossier and Rent the Runway have women CEOs.


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Glossier hit the billion-dollar mark first, after a round of Series D fundraising led by Sequoia Capital, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“[I have] been among a very small minority of women raising this kind of money at these kinds of prices, to build the things they believe in,” wrote Glossier CEO Emily Weiss on her Instagram. “Today Glossier was able to achieve something very special.”

Rent the Runway reached the $1 billion mark after a $125 million investment put them over the edge. CEO Jennifer Hyman’s latest product has been the wildly successful Rent the Runway Unlimited, where women pay a monthly fee to rent clothes for their daily life, not just dresses for special events. Hyman has predicted that we are reaching the “end of ownership.”

It’s a doubly special day for Hyman, who hit a major professional record while nine months pregnant.

Weiss and Hyman are now part of a very exclusive club. Of about 130 venture-capital backed unicorns in the United States, only 14 have a female co-founder, according to a May 2018 report. Other female CEOs of “unicorns” are Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix, Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe, and Adi Taatarko of Houzz.

Weiss hasn’t ruled out the idea of going public: when asked if she had plans to IPO, she recently told The Wall Street Journal, “We are certainly in a position where … we are able to do that.”

Hyman is keeping her options open, too. “This round gives us more strategic options about the timing of possibly going public,” she told Fast Company.


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.