The BizSpark startup of the day is StyleSalt, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Misty Huber, Co-founder and CCO of StyleSalt. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
Co-founder and CCO.
What did you do before creating your company?
I worked as a fashion editor for Shape, Natural Health and Fit Pregnancy magazines among others.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
We couldn’t be more thrilled. Although the site only launched in March, we’ve been developing it for about a year and a half now, and we are continuing to enhance features and add new applications that are users are asking for. Start-ups are tough, particularly in this climate, but it makes all of the time and sweat worth it to be recognized.
What is your company’s mission?
Our mission is to become the site women come to when they want to shop by inspiration, whether it is from celebrity style, runway looks or other even from other users. Members are able to curate their favorite photos on their own pages along with the tools and clothing suggestions needed to recreate the looks.
How did you get the idea for your company?
In 2007 I started a website called YourVirtualStylist.com, which was simply a hobby from which I learned affiliate marketing, web design and some basic coding and development – it was definitely a crash course. As it started to grow and garner more interest, I began asking questions from those around me who were also in the fashion industry about what their ideal shopping site would include and what was missing, and I relied on my own instinct as well for the way I like to shop. The end result became StyleSalt.com. The others who are involved now are also tirelessly dedicated to the success of the site and continually improving it as users needs change.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
At the moment, we are entirely bootstrapped. We are looking for funding of around $250K to $300K.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have two other employees other than myself, both are developers. One of them, Niraj Shah, is also our CEO.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Yes. We are hiring .NET engineers.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We are building on .NET platform using C# and SQL 2008/Azure. This is the platform we have the most experience with and we’ve also found it to have the easiest-to-use tools. We are experimenting with the Azure Cloud for storage and background processing tasks.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
Software as Services Software, new ways to online advertising, mobile advertising, mobile games.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
We love this program. It not only provides affordable software and support, this program will be responsible for a great deal of the game-changing sites of tomorrow. Not only does the program seek out the hidden gems, but it also offers support and exposure of other sites that may have otherwise never been discovered.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Choose team members who have the same goals and dedication that you do. It’s all about the people you have around you and the sum of that desire for success. Being an entrepreneur is a roller costar ride, you see ’high of highs’ and low of lows, so be patient and persistent.
Who’s your role model?
In the software and programming world it’s hard to name just one. Aaron Patzer who founded Mint.com is certainly inspirational; the Cinderella stories are my favorite.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
You don’t have to be a programmer or a developer to take an idea and run with it – but you do need outstanding programmers and developers to help you make it come to life.