Draper University | November 12, 2021
Draper University Pre-Accelerator recently announced the winners of its Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship Program Demo Day startup competition. In first place is Taelor, a women-founded, Silicon Valley-based startup that helps busy men look good without the commitment of buying clothes. Taelor is an AI-powered menswear rental subscription platform; members receive eight shirts to wear per month that are picked by AI and stylists. Taelor partners with clothing brands to rent their clothes to Taelor’s customers, allowing them to test upcoming collections and gain brand awareness with younger consumers.
Judge Tim Draper said, “This is brilliant — very interesting!”
Taelor’s stylists, along with artificial intelligence, select clothes for the customers based on their personal purpose and preferences. The clothes are shipped directly to customers, who can either wear them for two weeks and return them or purchase them for up to 70% off the retail price. Customers then receive another box of clothes. Clothes that are returned are professionally cleaned and sent to other customers. The model extends the lifetime of garments and reduces the buying of new clothes, both decreasing consumers’ carbon footprint. Coincidentally, Rent The Runway, a company that offers rental subscriptions for women's dresses, filed for an IPO last week, showing the popularity of circular fashion trends.
“Taelor’s mission is to help people to be confident and achieve goals, while helping save the environment,” said Anya Cheng, Taelor’s Founder and CEO. Cheng formerly served as a Product Lead at Facebook where she helped build Facebook’s social commerce business, launched Target’s award-winning mobile tablet eCommerce app, and pivoted eBay Classifieds’ emerging business.
The rental model enables Taelor to have unique and rich data, which can be used by clothing brands to better design garments, predict demand and reduce waste. “We know people’s true preferences, which are not impacted by the purchase price of the item. It’s like how you decide what to watch on Netflix,” said Cheng. Judge Asra Nadeem, CEO of Draper University, was impressed with the model, saying, “With that much unique data, you can easily monetize or launch your own brands!”
Demo Day, is the culmination of the 2-week virtual Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship certificate program, in which all founders and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch directly to investors.
With more than 60 entrepreneurs from over ten countries around the world taking part in Demo Day and after two weeks of mentoring, startup education, industry insights and fierce pitching in the virtual yet incredibly competitive arena, the winners were:
Taelor (Anya Cheng) — A monthly styling subscription that lets busy men wear a variety of clothes for weeks without the commitment to buy, while letting clothing brands test trends and acquire new customers.
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