Founder Comes Full Circle By Joining The VC Firm That Funded Her Startup

By Geri Stengel, Forbes

I interviewed Ilana Stern in 2014 after she had closed a $9 million Series A venture capital round for Weddington Way. The startup is a direct-to-consumer brand that creates a personal, multi-channel shopping experience for millennials during special occasions. The brand pioneered collaborative commerce with its virtual showroom — and disrupted an age-old, in-store shopping process.

Stern founded the company in the Bay Area in 2010. She raised multiple venture rounds, sold it to Gap, Inc. in December of 2016, and joined the Fortune 500 company’s executive team. In 2018, Gap sold Weddington Way to Adrianna Papell, an e-commerce and retail company for wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, evening gowns, and accessories. Her accomplishments include being named an “Accelerator” by The Wall Street Journal and one of “40 under 40” by SF Business. She has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Stern had no grand plan after she left Gap. “I wanted to see where the wind took me,” she said. During this period, she mentored founders, shared her experiences, and asked the tough questions. This led her to angel investing and advising companies.

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