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Wardrobe Sharing Website Earns Bentley Student a Place in Boston’s Lean Startup Challenge
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Got an important event and nothing to wear? Try wardrobe sharing. The idea earned Bentley master’s student Amrita Aviyente a finalist spot in Boston’s Lean Startup Challenge, a six-week business model competition in which early to seed startups are selected to either launch a new idea or bring an existing idea and take it through multiple iterations with the goal of finding a product/market fit. Aviyente’s Date My Wardrobe website — an online marketplace for sharing and renting high-end wardrobe items with other users — was among 30-plus startups selected as part of this challenge.
Participants take advantage of one-to-one mentoring with industry experts and attend a number of sessions based on the Lean Startup Method by Eric Ries. Date My Wardrobe website officially launched during Lean Startup Challenge demo day on October 22.
Among the top takeaways for Aviyente: Validate assumptions before building a product. “The point of Lean Startup is to eliminate waste,” she notes. “We met with potential customers to validate our assumptions that people are willing to rent high end wardrobe items.”
She was also challenged to build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a version of the product with minimum features that can lead to learning. “In addition to speaking with customers, we contacted sellers on Craigslist posting high end wardrobe items to determine if they would rent instead and make money on a regular basis.”
The postivie response guided next steps in building the MVP — a website that allowed users to login using Facebook, post and search wardrobe items to rent, and request a rental.
“It is very exciting as well as challenging being a female founder in Boston,” says Aviyente, who earned a master’s in Information Technology from Bentley in 2005 and is currently enrolled in the master’s in Human Factors in Information Design.
Aviyente is a supporter of women in entrepreneurship and technology, a passion that led her to write a blog to chronicle her own experiences. Earlier this fall, she presented "Agile Software Development + Lean Startup + Lean UX — How to Make it Work Together" at the Campus Party Europe technology festival in London.
BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu.