Today Business Week's Michael Arndt added Vancouver's Indochino to their America's Most Promising Startups list - an ongoing series profiling new companies from across the country that embody the creativity and resilience common among today's entrepreneurs.
In a profile titled This Business Suits the Internet, Arndt tells the story of how two college pals - Kyle Vucko and Heikal Gani - turned their business idea into a dot-com success with customers in 60 countries and financial backing that includes former Yahoo! President Jeffrey Mallett.
Kyle Vucko and Heikal Gani came up with the idea of custom-tailoring men's suits via the Internet in 2006, when both were students at the University of Victoria in Canada. (Vucko, now 24, was studying commerce, while Gani, 27, was majoring in political science and psychology.) Gani needed to buy his first suit for a conference. He wanted something from Hugo Boss but ended up with a cheaper pair of pants and jacket that needed $100 worth of tailoring to fit well.
Through a university mentoring program, Vucko met Hannes Blum, CEO of Internet book retailer AbeBooks, who fronted them $40,000. The duo dropped out of school and went to Shanghai to line up a network of tailors who could assemble suits, one at a time, from measurements supplied by each customer. They launched their Web site in September 2007 and booked their first order a few days later. Since then, Vucko and Gani have raised $650,000 more from other investors, including $175,000 from Mallett, who is now IndoChino's chairman.
Congrats to Vucko and Gani on the main stream media mention. We won't be mentioning that they're based in Vancouver, British Columbia not Vancouver, Washington.