The French invented the online sample sale for designer merchandise, spawning numerous American competitors,
but none boasts the pedigree of Gilt Groupe.
New Yorkers Alexis Maybank (left) and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (center), Harvard '97 and '99, respectively, dreamed up their invitation-only site as a way to bring their city's sample
sales to out-of-town friends.
With funding from former DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan and venture capitalist firm Matrix Partners, the duo launched Gilt in 2007. The site now has 1.2 million members and did nearly
$100 million in revenue last year.
For newly minted CEO Susan Lyne (right), previously CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the challenge will be to expand into new lines of business without tarnishing the brand's
posh appeal.NEXT: The designer and the CEO