The business: BeauCoo
Founders: Christian MacLean, Victoria MacLean, Rick Cotter and Cory Smith
For BeauCoo’s development team, this isn’t their first foray into startups. Husband and wife team Christian and Victoria MacLean are well-known in the Calgary startup scene, having been co-founders of both AcceleratorYYC and Startup Calgary. Together with Rick Cotter and Cory Smith, they built two startups and an IT company called As.so.ci.ation (now called Decoder), which they sold back in March. Now they’ve moved on to create BeauCoo, a mobile social network that connects women with similar body types so they can share information about their clothes and their favourite stores.
The Story So Far …
Christian MacLean says they essentially stumbled across the idea when Victoria brought forward some communities she participated in on Facebook, where women were discussing fashion and comparing the styles that looked good on them. But while the communities had grown quickly – Christian says some went from 30,000 to 250,000 members in a year – but because of the Facebook format, they weren’t necessarily easy to navigate and there was no way to search the archives for a particular item.
“We saw a real opportunity there,” says Christian. “We looked at it and asked Victoria what it was about these communities that really drove her, and for her it was having a positive place to talk about style, and then the actual value around being able to ask questions about sizing.” Combined with the popularity of photo-sharing services like Instagram and Pinterest, the group thought they had a winning idea for a product: a mobile app that allows women to share photos of clothes, and see what outfits look like on users who are a similar size. There will also be the chance for women to talk about fashion and style in a body-positive community.
They weren’t the only ones who thought it was a good idea. The original seed funding for the startup came from the sale of Decoder, but in September BeauCoo raised an additional $1.1 million in financing, led by Calgary-based venture capital firm Zinc Ventures.
The BeauCoo app hasn’t been released yet, but is due out by the end of the month. The first version of the app will be for iPhone, but Christian says they’re already planning to expand onto the popular Android platform and build a web-based version of BeauCoo for users who are less interested in sharing their own photos and would rather browse and talk.
Next Wednesday: We touch base with Mover, an Edmonton-based startup that streamlines cloud storage.