What a Difference a Year Makes in the Life of a Wharton Startup: The Stylitics Story

By Megan Mitchell

Almost a year ago to the day, I was onstage at NASDAQ with Stylitics, the winners of the 2011 Michelson Grand Prize of the Wharton Business Plan Competition (WBPC), ringing the closing bell. As Wharton Entrepreneurship and RightCare Solutions – this year’s Michelson Grand Prize Winner – prepare for the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony next week on August 21, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how far Stylitics has come in one year.

Zach, Rohan, and me at NASDAQ in August 2011 (Photo Credit: NASDAQ)

Stylitics is a fashion insights company. It engages fashion conscious consumers through the company’s platform to organize their style, share opinions, and discover new trends and looks from the community of users.  Through innovative use of real-time style data, Stylitics gives users insight into the inner workings of their closets (and targeted recommendations from their favorite brands and retailers) all while collecting valuable information for these same brands and retailers.

Stylitics’ co-founders Rohan Deuskar (Wharton MBA Class of 2011) and Zach Davis first met while they were working at Vibes, a mobile marketing solution company based in Chicago and founded by Alex Campbell (Wharton Undergraduate Class of 1998).  The two stayed in touch when Rohan headed off to Wharton, joining forces to found Stylitics and win the WBPC in 2011. Following Rohan’s graduation, the team moved to New York City and began working full-time (out of Rohan’s small Brooklyn apartment) to build Stylitics. The first full-time hire Rohan and Zach brought on board that summer was Marina (Nazarova) Rakhlin (Wharton MBA Class of 2011). Marina, Stylitics’ Director of Product Management, and Rohan met early in their first year of the Wharton MBA Program when they were selected as part of the management committee of the 2009-2010 WBPC; I like to think I had a little something to do with bringing the Stylitics team together!

Stylitics has now hired 8 full-time employees and 5 contractors. The team is spread across the globe with representatives in Serbia, India, Iraq, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. One of their investors is even based in Romania. Speaking of funding, the team initially raised an $800K seed round and is currently closing its next round of funding from some new and existing investors.

The team has also received a lot of fantastic press. For example, in April the Wall Street Journal featured Stylitics prominently in an article it ran on campus ambassador programs. And it was Stylitics and Pinterest that The New York Times fashion section pointed to in March, as evidence of how online fashion shopping is being revolutionized.

Zach Davis and Rohan Deuskar, Founders, Stylitics (Photo Credit: WSJ 2012)

There have been lots of achievements for Stylitics this summer. The New York based team no longer call Rohan’s apartment home; this past June, the company moved to Midtown Manhattan, in the garment district. On August 10, the company launched a mobile app for the iPhone; and this week, they launched a new website.

A little over a year ago, Rohan and Zach arrived in New York with a business plan competition winning idea. Today they have proven that they can build a product that consumers will use and collect data that brands want. With this foundation in place, along with a strong team, a new website and a mobile presence, the company is positioned to launch exciting new products and features and take Stylitics to new heights.

I can’t wait to see where they are this time next year!