Kara Swisher

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Former Google Exec Singh Cassidy Becomes CEO of Fashion Start-up Polyvore

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy (pictured here), former president of Google’s Asia-Pacific and Latin American operations, has taken the CEO job at an unusual fashion and shopping social network called Polyvore.

The registered site allows users to “mix & match products from your favorite stores” into fashion “sets” on any topic, from Haiti to the late designer Alexander McQueen.

In other words, everyone can play at being be a stylist, merchandiser and, if aspirations are high enough, presumably, the editor of Vogue magazine.

Singh Cassidy said in an interview this morning that she was attracted to the viral, technological and global nature of the site, whose six million unique visitors last month created 30,000 fashion sets daily.

“Polyvore is an incredibly differentiated asset in the social shopping space,” she said, noting that the innovative site could move into adjacent arenas such as interior design. “I felt like the possibilities were endless of what the platform could do.”

Founded in 2007, Polyvore has garnered $8.1 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, Harrison Metal and Matrix Partners. It has just over a dozen employees and is based in Silicon Valley.

Co-founder Pasha Sadri, the creator of Yahoo (YHOO) Pipes, said Polyvore was founded to allow people to link self-expression with real-world brands and products. The odd name is a combination that roughly seems to mean the devouring of many or much.

“We wanted to create a place where people can express their creativity,” said Sadri, who noted that money-making on Polyvore would center around transactions related to the merchandise and advertising in the online community.

The multifaceted nature of the company was what Singh Cassidy said kept her talking to Sadri as she was casting about for her next move, rather than landing at a larger company.

She left the search giant and joined venture firm Accel Partners as a CEO-in-residence last April.

“I was at the end of my streak [at Google] and ready to take the next step and run or grow my own company,” she said at the time. “It is key for me to be stepping out and spreading my wings now.”

Singh Cassidy was one of Google’s more visible execs and one of its highest-ranking women leaders. She had been at Google (GOOG) since 2003.

Previously, she was at Yodlee, an online banking start-up, which was backed by Accel–along with stints at Amazon (AMZN) and OpenTV (OPTV).

In a related move, Singh Cassidy became a board member of specialty apparel retailer J. Crew Group (JCG) last summer.

Here are some examples of fashion collections created on Polyvore related to the television show “Glee,” the late designer Alexander McQueen and, my personal favorite, bizarre celeb Mary Kate Olsen:

And here is the official press release:

Polyvore Names Sukhinder Singh Cassidy as CEO

Former Google and Accel Executive Brings Growth and Scaling Experience to Pioneering
Global Fashion and Social Shopping Community

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., February 22–Polyvore, the leading fashion and social shopping platform, today announced the addition of Sukhinder Singh Cassidy as Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Singh Cassidy will join Polyvore on March 1, from Accel Partners where she served as CEO-in-residence. From 2003 to 2009, Ms. Singh Cassidy held a variety of executive leadership roles at Google including President of its Asia-Pacific & Latin American Operations. Ms. Singh Cassidy brings over 14 years of experience in media and technology to further accelerate Polyvore’s growth in the fashion and social shopping space.

Polyvore is redefining how people around the world experience, create and share fashion on the Internet. Polyvore’s easy-to-use virtual styling tool lets people mix and match products from any online store to create their own fashion collections called “sets.” The Polyvore community consists of trendsetters, shoppers and aspiring stylists, who create more than 30,000 sets daily and spend an average of 10 minutes on the site per visit. With over 6 million unique visitors and 140 million pageviews per month, Polyvore is the largest fashion community site in the world. Polyvore members also share their creations on blogs and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, extending Polyvore’s reach by an additional 22 million impressions per month. This viral distribution network fosters the exposure and discovery of new products, brands and styling insights across a large global audience.

“The tremendous organic growth of Polyvore over the last three years has ushered in a new and exciting chapter for the company,” said Pasha Sadri, Polyvore Co-Founder. “Sukhinder’s track record at scaling companies and expertise as both an executive and entrepreneur is the ideal combination Polyvore needs to continue growing and driving innovation globally.”

“I am very excited to join Polyvore as CEO. I’ve watched the company grow and gain momentum as online shopping evolves from a static and solo experience into a very social form of digital entertainment and e-commerce,” said Ms. Singh Cassidy. “This is a unique opportunity to join a talented and passionate team and collaborate with a product visionary like Pasha to grow the business and redefine the industry.”

“Ever since meeting Sukhinder 10 years ago, the entire Benchmark partnership felt she had all the qualities to be a truly phenomenal CEO,” said Peter Fenton, a partner at Benchmark Capital and Polyvore and Twitter board member. “With the unique chemistry between Sukhinder’s passion, the world class team at Polyvore, and our global community of creators, we see the potential to change the fashion industry forever.”

“Polyvore is transforming the online shopping and fashion industry with an innovative social shopping platform that empowers people to engage with brands and products in creative ways to drive discovery, sharing and e-commerce. This is a very powerful and game-changing experience for both consumers and brands. We’re very pleased to have Sukhinder join Polyvore as we tackle the future in this exciting space,” said Dana Stalder, General Partner, Matrix Partners.

Ms. Singh Cassidy was responsible for all of Google’s commercial operations in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, and built the company’s presence from inception to scale across 40 domains and 103 different countries. Ms. Singh Cassidy first joined Google in 2003 as the General Manager for Google Local & Maps, helping to launch these innovative new services, then expanding her responsibilities to lead the company’s strategic partnerships for Google Books, Scholar, and Video. From 1999-2003, Ms. Singh Cassidy was Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development for Yodlee.com Inc., a leading solutions provider to the global financial services industry. Ms. Singh Cassidy started her Internet career in strategy and business development with Amazon.com and OpenTV. Prior to Silicon Valley, she worked in New York and London for Merrill Lynch and British Sky Broadcasting. Ms. Singh Cassidy is a board member of specialty apparel retailer J.Crew Group (JCG) and serves on the advisory board for A Woman’s Nation, a project led by Maria Shriver and Center for American Progress. She is also a board member for Jobtrain, dedicated to vocational training for troubled adult and youth, and is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

About Polyvore

Polyvore is redefining how people around the world experience, create and share fashion on the Internet. Polyvore’s easy-to-use virtual styling tool lets people mix and match products from any online store to create their own fashion collections called “sets.” The Polyvore community consists of trendsetters, shoppers and aspiring stylists, who create more than 30,000 sets daily and spend an average of 10 minutes on the site per visit. With over 6 million unique visitors and 140 million pageviews per month, Polyvore is the largest fashion community site in the world. Polyvore members also share their creations on blogs and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, extending Polyvore’s reach by an additional 22 million impressions per month. This viral distribution network fosters the exposure and discovery of new products, brands and styling insights across a large global audience. Located in Silicon Valley, Polyvore is backed by leading venture capital firms Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners and consists of technology industry veterans from Google and Yahoo.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus