Michael Mente & Mike Karanikolas are the founders of Revolve, an online-only clothing retailer that led the way in its deployment of fashion bloggers and influencers to market product, and went public in June 2019, raising $212 million in an IPO that reportedly valued the company at over $1.23 billion.
The duo met while working at software company NextStrat before the dot-com bubble burst. After leaving the company in 2002, they launched Revolve the following year with $50,000 of their own money (they didn’t seek external funding until 2012).
As co-chief executives of Revolve, the pair split responsibilities along creative and analytical lines; Karanikolas deals with finance and logistics while Mente oversees merchandising, user interface and, above all, Revolve’s industry-leading influencer marketing strategy.
In 2009, long before “influencer” was part of the fashion lexicon, Revolve worked with Rumi Neely, the blogger behind Fashion Toast, on a marketing campaign. The company now counts some 3,500 influencers as part of its network, which generated an estimated $500 million in sales in 2018 and is bolstered by year-round events such as paid trips, a pop-up at Coachella and its own branded festival. Revolve has also partnered with Aimee Song , Camila Coelho and Chrissy Teigen to produce clothing lines for the site.
As of June 2019, Revolve sells over 40,000 products at any given time from over 500 brands, a mixture of contemporary and high-end labels and 23 of its own clothing lines. The retailer’s in-house offering was expanded in 2014 when it acquired Alliance Apparel, owner of popular brands Lovers + Friends, Tularosa, NBD and Raye, for an undisclosed sum.