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Experience vs Ownership: The Rise of the Experience Economy

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In the "old days", most people lived a more predictable, structured life. Most consumers aspired to own a home, and a car or two. There were certain days for work and days for play, clothes for work and other clothes for play, and so on. Companies also aspired to own their spaces and their infrastructure.

Today, people are rapidly evolving how they live and work. What seems increasingly important to people is quality of experience, selection and convenience - and that means having access to things when and where you want them, often without the overhead of ownership.

Jenn Hyman, co-founder of Rent the Runway and Aileen Lee, Founder of Cowboy Ventures and partner with KPCB talk about how new technology companies are facilitating an important cultural shift from an ownership economy to an experience economy - and what it all means.


Aileen Lee Founder Robot Cowboy Ventures

Jennifer Hyman CEO & Co-founder Rent The Runway

Jennifer Hyman is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Rent the Runway, a business that delivers Cinderella experiences by enabling women to rent designer dresses and accessories for all of the special occasions in their lives. Since Rent the Runway’s launch in November 2009, Jennifer has managed all areas of the business including technology, fashion, sales, marketing, operations, customer service and team management, while also serving as a company spokesperson. Most well-known within the entrepreneurial and fashion communities for her unmatched marketing abilities, Jennifer was named as the Chief Marketing Officer of Fortune magazine’s “Executive Dream Team.”

Jennifer has been honored with numerous recognitions including Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40 Class of 2012”; Fortune Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs” and “40 Under 40”; Inc. Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30”; Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology”;’s “Most Influential People in New York Fashion”; and Fashion Group International’s “Rising Stars,” among others. She has also appeared as a guest on NBC’s Today Show.

Jennifer co-founded Rent the Runway with her Harvard Business School classmate Jennifer Fleiss. After receiving approximately $31 million in venture capital from Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, they quickly built the company to include over 3 million members, over 180 employees and 170 designer brands. Rent the Runway democratizes luxury fashion by enabling women to rent designer dresses and accessories that they may otherwise not have access to, for all of the special occasions in their lives.

Prior to Rent the Runway, Jennifer was the Director of Business Development at IMG where she focused on the creation of new media businesses for IMG's Fashion Division. She also ran an online advertising sales team at and was an in-house entrepreneur at Starwood Hotels, creating Starwood’s first wedding business which was recognized on the Oprah Winfrey Show for its innovation.

Jennifer received her BA from Harvard University and MBA from Harvard Business School. She currently resides in New York City where she is a Bloomberg Fellow, on the Entreprenuership Board at the Fashion Institute of Technology.