Man with dark hair, glasses and black shirt stands with arms folded in front of an assembly line with garments.
Rent the Runway CTO Josh Builder. Image: IDA Ireland

Rent the Runway to create 150 Galway jobs

23 Apr 2019

Living, sustainable closet enables women to rent versus buy clothing.

Fashion tech player Rent the Runway (RTR) is to create 150 new jobs – mostly engineers and tech developers – in Galway over the next three years.

In an investment supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland, the company is locating a new international technology office in the Claddagh district of Galway city.

‘The city has an atmosphere of creativity, mirrors Rent the Runway’s cultural values and, excitingly, will be the European Capital of Culture in 2020’

The privately owned company has five physical locations in the US, 11m members and 1,800 employees, 93pc of whom are female, multiracial and/or belong to a minority. The company’s technology team is 45pc female, and 80pc of leaders at the company are women.

Glamming it up in Galway

The centre in Galway will be the first operation for RTR outside of the US. The new international office will enable the company to expand its engineering and product development footprint, and new RTR employees will have the opportunity to launch or grow their careers across a number of roles in software engineering and development.

“We are thrilled to open our first ever international office in Galway, where we’ve had overwhelming support from the Irish Government and the IDA,” said RTR chief technology officer Josh Builder.

“From the start, it was clear that Galway was the perfect location for our new office. The city has an atmosphere of creativity, mirrors Rent the Runway’s cultural values and, excitingly, will be the European Capital of Culture in 2020.”

“There’s an incredible opportunity to tap into the growing STEM talent in the region, and we’re eager to begin establishing our Irish footprint.”

RTR, headquartered in New York City, was founded in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss as an answer to the modern woman’s desire for constant newness by offering a rotating wardrobe that is also a smart, sustainable choice.

The company pioneered the ‘living closet’ and believes that women everywhere will soon have a subscription to fashion, making renting an indispensable utility. With its most engaged subscribers wearing rented clothing more than 120 days per year, RTR says it is changing the way women get dressed every day.

A natural fit

The team in Galway will be undertaking in-house software development unique to RTR as well as supporting US operations by working on existing technological activity supporting RTR’s mobile and desktop platform, through which new and current users and subscribers access their services.

The Irish teams will also be working on projects to expand and enable RTR’s  fulfilment network, leverage data science to bring personalisation and insight to all aspects of RTR’s systems, and experiment with new data-driven applications. The team will work hand in hand with the US-based R&D teams.

“This is an excellent investment by this leading, innovative company from the US east coast. Galway, with its vibrant and growing technology ecosystem, is proving a most attractive location for investment, and Rent the Runway choosing to locate its first ever international technology office here will further enhance that reputation,” said IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan.

“It is also an endorsement of the confidence tech companies have in finding the right talent in the west. Rent the Runway will be a key reference seller for us in attracting further tech and consumer brand activity.”

RTR’s Galway office will be temporarily located at the PorterShed. The company expects to relocate to a more permanent home in late summer 2019 at the newly renovated Piscatorial School building, a prime waterfront location overlooking the Claddagh in Galway city centre.

The company has built and operates what it claims is the world’s largest technology-powered dry-cleaning facility and reverse logistics operation, with sophisticated automation and a complex back-end system that powers the ecosystem of rental reservations, returns processing, order fulfilment and the overall customer experience. All technology and logistics to power the operation are built in-house.

“I am delighted to see Rent the Runway choose the west of Ireland to open their first ever international office and create 150 new high-tech jobs,” said Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD.

“Galway city will be a natural fit for this innovative, progressive and creative company. Ireland warmly welcomes new firms in niche, highly skilled areas, and Rent the Runway will join a growing number of disruptive companies based here. I wish them well for the future.”

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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