PULA, ITALY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/12/13 --
•iCoolhunt, a gamified photo-sharing platform for crowdsourcing trend spotting, announced today the launch of its new application, for Web and mobile (iOS), and seed funding in the amount of $670,000 (EUR 500,000) from VC firm, Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno/IMI Fondi Chiusi SGR S.p.A. -- part of the largest bank in Italy, the INTESA SANPAOLO Group. The company is among the first social media startups to receive funding out of Italy.
•iCoolhunt is the latest application to join the rising trend of games-with-a-purpose (GWAPs), which aim to solve large-scale problems, in this case: tracking emerging trends globally and in real-time. iCoolhunt is attempting to solve this problem by developing an algorithm, based on trend-spotting activities on the platform, that will crack the "code of cool."
•Trend spotting is a $36 billion growth business, according to Outsell; with the seed funding, iCoolhunt plans to address this market opportunity by developing the backend of the platform and providing subscription-based trend forecasting reports, overlaying editorial commentary to the data analysis, starting later this year. In addition to trend forecasting reports, brands will soon be able to:•Access a dashboard that will display the evolution of trends in real-time •Commission projects where expert or locale-specific iCoolhunt players can participate in pay-by-task trend research activities and contests •Test design concepts on the iCoolhunt platform and measure initial reactions before pulling the trigger on manufacturing
•iCoolhunt challenges the community of passionate and passive trend spotters to be part a citizen movement and relentlessly pursue a sense of wonder -- to be part of the creative process before a concept becomes "fashionable." Through the iCoolhunt platform, players (iCoolhunters) hunt down and upload photos (prey) from the Web and the real world. Other features of the application include:•Trendboxes: photo conversations where an iCoolhunter can upload a photo that other players respond to with similar photos to validate a trend through crowdsourcing •Badgest: players can unlock badges based on quantity and freshness of prey captured (from Rookie status to the ultimate Guru), Trendboxes created and followed (Trend Expert), and number of cool votes or not (King of Uncool) •Integration with: Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter (Web); Facebook and Twitter (iOS) •Immersive experiences: iCoolhunt is also looking to develop immersive features, such as geo-specific trend forecasts (like weather forecasts) that give people a sense for what is being considered cool in various locales that they live in or want to visit
•Brothers, co-founders and co-CEOs of iCoolhunt, Luca and Alessio Morena, bring unique perspectives to the tech startup scene: Luca earned a doctorate in philosophy and Alessio was the founder of a Web design agency. They believe the future of technology startups combines the powers of data science with social science, which will create a demand for experts in the humanities. In addition to developers, iCoolhunt's team also includes a digital ethnographer and writers.
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