Angel Investor, Start-Up Advisor, Retail Expert and Entrepreneur
Sapna is an angel investor, start-up advisor, retail expert and entrepreneur. She is the principal of Red Giraffe Advisors, which makes seed investments in retail, fashion, and consumer start ups.
Sapna Shah is an angel investor, start-up advisor, retail expert and entrepreneur. Through Red Giraffe Advisors, Sapna makes angel and early-stage seed investments in start-ups in the retail, fashion and consumer start-ups. Sapna is also a member of New York Angels, one of the most active angel groups in the world. Sapna advises start-ups at the Wharton School, NYU Stern and Columbia Business School.
Previously, Sapna co-founded and led Retail Eye Partners, a successful independent Wall Street equity research firm. At Retail Eye, Sapna assessed the monthly and quarterly performance of major retailers in the specialty, big box and department store sectors through intensive channel checks and analysis. Sapna also co-founded and launched a menswear e-commerce retailer, Mind the Chap, and led the Marketing and Web Development areas of the company. Prior to Retail Eye Partners, Sapna was Executive Director of Strategy and Customer Insight at Linens ‘n Things, Inc., responsible for customer targeting and segmentation, market and consumer research, corporate strategic planning, new business rollouts and competitive benchmarking. Prior to Linens ‘n Things, Sapna was Director of Strategic Planning & New Business Development at Ann Taylor, where she worked on launching Ann Taylor’s e-commerce site, developing a color cosmetics line, visioning the store of the future and improving store operations. Sapna also has experience at Gap, Inc.
Previous to her career in retail, Sapna worked in investment banking at Punk, Ziegel & Knoell and at Morgan Stanley as a credit analyst. Sapna received her B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School as well as a B.A. in East Asian Studies from the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
Paul Raffin is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence of XRC labs. Raffin is an internationally known C-Suite executive, with over forty years of experience managing consumer goods businesses across a wide spectrum of the Fashion Industry spanning department store retail, wholesale, direct-to-consumer, vertical specialty retail, luxury, and trading company, men’s, women’s, kids apparel, accessories, and footwear. Ruffin has held CEO, President or Division President roles at The Frye Company, Li & Fung USA-Mens, Kids and Entertainment Licensing Group, Frette, DZ Trading, Express, J. Crew and Gant as well as Board roles with dELiA*s and Rosie Pope.
Paul is known first and foremost as a highly experienced merchant, having worked with industry luminaries from the late Marvin Traub to Les Wexner and Michael Weiss to William and Victor Fung. These opportunities have provided him with invaluable experience in selecting products which resonate with customers and successfully running a variety of business models at different levels of scale. Raffin has led $1Billion+ revenue businesses as well as more entrepreneurial ventures. Throughout his career, Raffin has displayed a strong track record of Brand Stewardship, producing impressive financial results. An avid student of the industry, he is passionate about the art and science of “pattern recognition” and enjoys discovering innovative solutions aimed at improving results.
Raffin has an impressive track record at building, retaining and managing world class talent. He is committed to investing in the culture within an organization and has had deep experience in synthesizing change agendas. Paul is passionate in leading companies which develop their people and evolve their processes in order to unlock both speed to market and innovation necessary in today’s dynamic marketplace.
Most recently, Raffin has served as President & CEO of The Frye Company, positioning that brand for explosive growth within the Direct-to-Consumer segment. Raffin has also founded a consulting firm, The Merchant Matrix, LLC, whose objective is to optimize the symbiotic relationship between a brand’s promise, and the technology that can help deliver that in an exciting way. Paul was recently featured in a major M.I.T. Sloan School publication about Enterprise Leadership and has recently joined the XRC Lab, an accelerator affiliated with The New School and KSA, as a mentor.