Dash Hudson, a startup aiming to make twentysomething men a little less clueless about style, is announcing that it raised $400,000 in seed funding.
More impressive than the amount of funding was who participated — co-founder and CEO Thomas Rankin said the round was led by Paul Gauthier, Groupon’s CTO from 2010 to 2013, as well as founding CTO at search pioneer Inktomi. Other investors include Patrick Hankinson, founder of recently acquired startup Compilr.
Rankin argued tha Dash Hudson is addressing a “white space” in the market by creating a mobile-focused service that’s aimed at young men.
“The guy that we want to help out, he’s exiting college, and not necessarily moving into the suit-and-tie world,” but still looking to level up his personal fashion. Rankin added, “He has a good sense of personal style, and he’s also accessing style in a new way.” And yes, Rankin using the word “style” very deliberately: “Guys don’t think in terms of fashion, guys think in terms of style.”
So when you download the app (it’s available for both iOS and Android), it asks you a few questions about your personal style, like the kinds of clothes you wear into the office. (I was grateful to see that “T-shirts” was an option.) Based on your answers, it suggests different stylists for you to follow, creating a news feed of different products that they recommend. If you see something you like, Dash Hudson will buy it for you.
Behind the scenes, Rankin said the app is algorithmically finding the different products, then the experts write up short posts about them. You can also post requests about what you’re looking for and the stylists will respond.
Looking ahead, Rankin said that after a period of making sure early users like the product, he’s feeling good about user engagement (25 percent of users use the app more than once a week) and is preparing to get more aggressive about marketing and user acquisition.
And hey, if it catches on in the tech industry, maybe stuff like this won’t be necessary.