11. Dia&Co

Founders: Nadia Boujarwah (CEO), Lydia Gilbert
Launched: 2014
Headquarters: New York City
Funding: $25 million

Nadia Boujarwah, co-founder and CEO of Dia&Co., has targeted a lucrative niche in the retail marketplace.
Source: Dia & Co.
Nadia Boujarwah, co-founder and CEO of Dia&Co., has targeted a lucrative niche in the retail marketplace.

Women's clothing is a nearly $120 billion market, but the plus-sized segment accounts for only about $17 billion. Given that 67 percent of American women are size 14 and up, that's a big market to ignore.

Harvard Business School classmates Nadia Boujarwah and Lydia Gilbert saw a business opportunity in that disconnect, and in 2014 the pair started Dia&Co. The New York City-based e-commerce start-up sells clothing and accessories to plus-sized women via a try-on-at-home model.

Customers fill out an online form detailing their style, fit and preferences and are then shipped a box of five items to try on at home. They can purchase the pieces they like and ship the rest back in the prepaid envelope included in every order. There's a $20 styling fee for each box, but it can be used as a credit toward the purchase of any of the items. If a customer buys all five items, she gets a 20 percent discount on the total. An average garment in the box costs around $50 to $55, but customers have an opportunity to note their budget on their online form.

So far, this model is resonating with plus-sized customers. By the end of last year, Dia&Co says it had shipped to 75 percent of the Zip codes in the United States and had customers in all 50 states. It also has a sterling investor. In September, Sequoia Capital's Alfred Lin — the former COO of Zappos — led a $20 million round of funding for the company.

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