Archives for the month of: April, 2014

SpottinStyle logo

 

Tell me a little bit about your background?

I used to be a Windows 95 Hacker and was fascinated with the first BBS chats before the Internet, as we know it today, existed. In 2000, I moved from Brazil to London to study English and discovered an amazing world of opportunities. At that time, I started my first Internet business. I created a website designed to help students to find English schools in the UK, and though my main focus was on studying, the business went pretty well. I went on to work on developing projects for Comcast in Florida and later for shop.skype.com.

How did you come up with the idea for “SpottinStyle”?

It combines a journey of my life with my professional experience. While living in Miami, I saw the photographers from the clubbing websites taking photos of people and handing them the cards to their website. I found it was an interesting idea and they made it global very quickly.

Five years later, when studying a photography course in Paris, I saw the creative and glamorous styles in the city of lights and the idea came to me. I thought it would be a great opportunity to connect people’s original and creative styles and inspire people across the globe. It came to me right away as a great opportunity to put the people’s creativity in the spotlight, as well as to create infinite opportunities to shop what people were wearing.

What is “SpottinStyle” all about? What is your vision?

SpottinStyle is all about people’s creativity. We love originality and we believe that with SpottinStyle we can give a chance for everyone on the planet to inspire and be inspired through spotting styles. We would like to identify trends as they happen and with our new site create infinite opportunities to shop. We developed a platform for brands to connect with the fashion conscious in a fun and interactive way.

Tell me about your team?

SpottinStyle started with Cecile in 2011. We were both working for shop.skype.com and living in New York at the time. Today, we have a strong team of 5 co-founders and have been working extremely hard to share the journey to make SpottinStyle a success. The team is international, bringing different experiences and cultures to SpottinStyle, which is a huge benefit when running a global business. Aside from the team working full time on our site launch we also have mentors and collaborators in London and across the globe.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

We launched a prototype website that was very successful in putting some of the ideas to test. Thanks to Dreamstake and the start-up loan, we have come extremely far in developing our new site and phone app. We are negotiating our seed round of investment, and aim to launch SpottinStyle this summer.

Anything interesting to tell us about your technical platform?

Our model is used across multiple platforms – mobile and website. Even though the user interface is extremely simple to use, the work behind it has a great level of detail regarding speed and cutting edge technology. We are developing a scalable model that will guarantee a reliable and fast experience, similar to bigger sites such as Google and Facebook. We are combining the best technologies available and putting them together to form a dynamic user experience and strong business model.

What is the main challenge that you face?

We face many challenges at different stages. At the moment, access to seed capital is very difficult due to the stage of the business. It is crucial to further develop a competitive technology and to be able to move forward with the business. Our primary focus at the moment is securing investment via our crowdfunding campaign.

Once we are able to launch the new site and phone app, the main challenge will be to obtain fast growth, at the same time as securing a solid revenue stream. This traction is fundamental to the success of the business, including a possible series A round of investment.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I speak 5 different languages due to traveling a lot in my youth, and I think that experiencing different cultures has enabled me to adapt and be a flexible entrepreneur. I have also been told that perseverance is a trait of mine, a quality that works to my advantage while building a business and overcoming challenges that may arise.

Website: http://spottinstyle.com/ // http://beta.spottinstyle.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpottinStyle

Dreamstake is an online network, that provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress. Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

 

Whatsapp UXA few years ago anyone with a great internet idea would assume that the next step was to find a developer to build it. Many business oriented founders still assume that this is all that is required. However, they are vastly underestimating the importance of creating an amazing user experience. The current crop of winning apps, such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, instagram and Vine have set an expectation in the consumers mind. They will simply no longer engage unless an app is simple to use.

Exceptional UX/UI design is a fundamental requirement for new smartphone apps. Good UX/UI designers are hard to find but are worth their weight in gold. They are an integral part of the lean startup process and can help ensure that you are not building something that no one wants. A good UX will help you think through the experience and turn it into something that a developer can build. This saves money in long run by cutting down on costly mistakes and building something no-one wants.

I would go as far as to say that the UX designer has become one of the most important members of the startup founder team. Users adopt apps like Hailo and Airbnb because they are convenient and easy to use. The UX defines the app.

Good UX goes well beyond a good look and feel. It starts with ensuring that you are building a product that people need and will be prepared to use. A good UX designer will ensure that the product is simple and enjoyable to use.  Many mobile shopping apps are still a long way from being usable on an everyday basis. For example, even apps with well designed front-ends are let down by the backend processes, such as payment. Users do not have the patience to engage with apps requiring 6 or more clicks to buy.

Therefore, if you are about to change the world with a disruptive technology, make sure you invest in the best UX expert that you can find. Work closely with your UX designer to creat something that is truly compelling to use.

Blog by Paul Dowling – Founder of Dreamstake an online network, that provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress.Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.