Startup of the Week: Meet MeSpoke

Sara Gilgore, Washington Business Journal - Oct 15, 2018

Sid Hasan left corporate America in 2016 to start MeSpoke, a digital community for retail shopping. The startup, founded in Florida and now based in Reston, is building a network with app downloads in 62 countries and some new recognition of its potential to change the apparel industry (see a recent Forbes article).

Here’s more on MeSpoke:

What is MeSpoke, exactly? A social media app for fashion. Users download the free iOS app and create their “Billboard,” a page that curates photos of clothing ensembles for them based on their favorite brands. From there, they can upload photos of their own outfits and accessories — with tags that link out to the designers’ info and where to buy them — or peruse the platform’s other content to shop themselves. Their uploaded content generates loyalty points with the brands they wear, so they can redeem their “social capital” that they’re putting on the app. Users can sort by brand, retail or category, and the technology tracks data from the product images, and user clicks and interactions.

Who’s behind it? Hasan runs the company with a handful of others: Candice Anderson, co-founder and head of marketing; Sam Adams, chief technology officer; Bart Jenkins, head of engineering; and two developers.

What’s the challenge? Money. The company needs to raise a formal round of seed capital, aiming for $1 million in funding. “We are looking for local, smart capital and board advisory services,” Hasan said, adding that Revolution, Ted Leonsis and Steve Case are among the investors he’s hoping to target.

How is it funded? For now, the company is pre-revenue, but it’s projected to reach $500,000 in revenue for 2019 and $1 million by 2021, Hasan said. He has invested $212,000 of his own money into the business.

What’s next? The team’s top priority is to further develop the tech to include deep-linking and loyalty point redemption capabilities. It’ll look to compete with brands’ retail websites, like those of Macy’s (NYSE: M), Nordstrom (NYSE: JWM) and Neiman Marcus, while attracting customers including fashion brands, retailers, data providers and, eventually, consumer reporting agencies (think Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

Sara Gilgore