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Varsha Rao
Varsha Rao

Varsha Rao is co-founder and co-president of, which launched June 1999 as the first company to offer an array of prestige beauty products on the Web. Tailored to the rapidly growing audience of educated female Internet users, offers a personalized shopping experience, where every customer receives tailored product suggestions and customized product samples with each purchase.

Rao co-founded in 1998 with her friend and past-roommate Mariam Naficy. It all started late one night when she received a call from Naficy, who was intrigued by Internet business ideas. Rao noticed that she and fellow co-workers didnít have time to even buy a lipstick, and voila, the concept of was born.

Rao's experience in developing internet strategies and working in direct to consumer businesses helped bring into fruition.

Before co-founding, Rao was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Co. where she worked with a variety of media, consumer products and direct marketing clients. Her work ranged from strategy development to improving cost effectiveness. Rao was also a leader in McKinsey's Digital Marketing Practice. She co-authored the article: Internet Advertising: New Medium or New Marketing Paradigm.

Prior to her experience at McKinsey, she worked as a financial analyst at Wasserstein Perella & Co. on financial services, healthcare and media deals.

Rao graduated with distinction from Harvard Business School; she received a B.S. in economics and a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. Her first piece of make-up was a mascara she bought in the sixth grade, "the pink and green Maybelline one."


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