NEW YORK — Wednesday is Demo Day for 15 firms participating in the latest Dreamit Ventures program, with each hoping to capture attention and funding from venture capitalists and angel investors.
Dreamit is a start-up accelerator founded by three former start-up entrepreneurs: David Bookspan, Michael Levinson and Steven Welch. Dreamit provides up to $25,000 in seed funding to the program’s participants, with participation by invitation only. The program includes shared office space, mentoring, administrative assistance and opportunities to meet potential investors. At the program’s conclusion, the firms participate in Demo Day, when they get the chance to pitch to investors at Dreamit’s office at 330 West 38th Street here.
The participants this year range from online art exhibition gallery site Indiewalls.com to a mobile app via Facebook called Weesh that offers suggestions for date nights. Among the fashion and beauty firms pitching to investors are Bazaart, TopShelf and Urban Cargo.
Bazaart is a tablet app that bridges Facebook and Pinterest through Pinvolve. The latter allows users to add collages of style inspirations to one’s Facebook page, or even create a fashion look for a friend using a Pinterest board.
Stas Goferman, Bazaart’s chief executive officer and cofounder, said the Israeli-based firm is hoping to complete a $500,000 seed round. It already has committed $100,000 in funding and was a participant in Dreamit’s program in Israel. The funding will be used for expanding the U.S. team and for developing iPhone and Android versions of the app.
TopShelf, founded by Katie Nadler, allows the busy professional woman to create a virtual closet and receive personalized shopping recommendations based on past purchases.
Still in beta testing, the site works with one’s e-mail to collect photos of recent purchases for the virtual closet. A personal shopper then uses data-extraction technology to pull fashion options for personalized “look books” each week, featuring looks curated by a stylist that works with at least one item in the virtual closet. Users can purchase a look or featured item in the look book via a direct link to the appropriate retail site.
Nadler is hoping to raise $500,000 in seed funding.
Urban Cargo does for men in the grooming and skin-care market what Birchbox did for women in the online beauty sector. Membership costs $14.95 a month, and the men get a monthly curated box of sample products. Featured items are from brands such as Kyoku, a popular British men’s skin-care line that is hard to find in the States.
According to Jennifer Chung Lucy, a cofounder, “If you give men an environment where they can comfortably shop, they will come back and shop,” noting that men spend two to three times more than women and are looking for new brands and products that are solutions to issues such as which shaving creams give a guy a closer shave.
The parent company, Cargo Networks, is seeking $500,000 in funding for use in customer acquisition and for the planned launch of a second site focused on African-American women using the same Urban Cargo model.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast