Kevin Ryan had the idea for Gilt Groupe in 2007. He invited Mike Bryzek and Phong Nguyen to be part of the team as the technical masterminds. He later invited Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, who had backgrounds in e-commerce and luxury goods.
This founding team of five created a members-only website where new sales last 36-48 hours and feature merchandise from a single brand or a small group of brands. Gilt purchases inventory at a deep discount and adds a margin on top of that price to make a profit.
The company started with women’s clothing in 2007 and expanded to men’s clothing in 2008. In 2009 Gilt Groupe expanded to Japan, began Gilt Fuse, and started travel site Jettsetter. Gilt City and Gilt Home began in 2010, and Gilt Taste in 2011.
Gilt Groupe had $450 million in sales in 2011 and $550 million in sales in 2012. The company is valued at $1 billion and is beginning to talk about a possible future IPO.