Polyvore Deal Gets Yahoo Closer to a ‘Buy Button’

Fashion website Polyvore doesn't fit the stereotype of a Silicon Valley startup getting bought by a tech giant.

Its CEO, Jess Lee (pictured), is a woman. So are most of its workforce and its millions of customers.

But when Yahoo announced on July 31 it was acquiring the 8-year-old social shopping platform, the Web pioneer showed its ambition to compete with Google, Facebook and other companies working to install "buy buttons" that make purchasing jeans, nail polish or a lamp as integral to their websites as searching or networking.

Click, buy -- and Yahoo gets a cut.

"Investors and VCs are figuring out that style is a huge business," Lee said in an interview at her Mountain View firm. "They have finally figured out that women are big business."

Lee is also not your stereotypical CEO. In the heat of the Yahoo negotiations last month, the 32-year-old former Google Maps product manager took a break to glue together mechanical wings and don wigs, armor and epaulets made from car tires.

She was costumed up for San Diego's annual ComicCon, where she also played Batman-themed card games with strangers and spent hours furiously debating, as she put it, the future of "the Marvel cinematic universe."

"That's my mecca every year," Lee said. "I camped outside for 17 hours to get into a panel."

By the time Yahoo's announcement came down a few weeks later, however, she was back to business.

She wrote handwritten thank-you notes to each of Polyvore's 130 employees, and then revealed the pending acquisition to loud cheers and clinking glasses of scotch and champagne in the company's lunchroom.

The notes were a thoughtful technique Lee learned from an old boss and mentor, Marissa Mayer, who as Yahoo CEO will now be her boss again.

"A lot of what I learned about a good company culture came from my time...

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