After graduating with an MBA from Stanford, Ma climbed the ranks at Yahoo, going from a marketing intern to Senior Product Marketing manager in three years. She moved on to Gilt Groupe as a Senior Director of Product before creating and launching Gilt’s Food and Wine business, Gilt Taste.
She then spent a year as Chief Product Officer for chloe + isabel inc. before leaving to start a little wedding ecommerce website called Zola in 2013.
Today, Zola has raised more than $140 million from big name investors such as Thrive Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Canvas Ventures, and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. According to Pitchbook, Zola’s valuation was $650 million as of its latest funding round in 2018.
Part of Zola’s success comes from the fact that it started in a single vertical and continuously added features and products that consolidate the wedding planning process under one roof.
The company launched as a simple wedding registry platform, letting couples choose their future gifts and then letting guests log in and buy those gifts through the platform. Over time, however, Zola continued to build upon that momentum to create a one-stop shop for weddings.
Today, Zola users have access to all kinds of resources, including invitations, menus, programs, thank you notes, etc., as well as matching you with wedding planners and other wedding vendors. Oh, and of course there’s a shopping platform for wedding gowns, jewelry, etc.
In just over five years, it has become the de facto platform for couples to plan and execute their wedding. More than half a million couples have used Zola to manage their registry or guest list, and common problems in ecommerce, like holding inventory or dealing with returns, is significantly minimized due to Zola’s model.
In short, there is plenty to learn from Ma at TechCrunch Disrupt, and we can’t wait!
Disrupt SF runs October 2 to October 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Tickets are available at an early bird rate here.