When Madison Semarjian was a college freshman, she had an idea for an app: It would be like Tinder, but for clothing—using AI to learn her personal style, and then pulling together outfits from a wide range of retailers that she could swipe left or right on (and of course, buy).
Semarjian couldn’t shake the idea, so she spent all of college creating it—developing the tech, raising money, and signing partnerships with major brands like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Prada. She called the app Mada, and it launched in January 2020. It was a hit with the media and style lovers because nothing like it existed.
But that quickly changed. A startup called The Yes soon launched with similar functionality and major backing; it’s run by the former COO of Stitch Fix and had raised $30 million. “Here I am, fresh out of school. And here is this industry veteran who has more experience than I have life on this Earth,” says Semarjian, 23 (who interned at Entrepreneur in 2018). She was understandably freaked out, so an adviser gave her some advice: “Blinders on, Madison.”
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