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iCoolhunt, the app capturing new trends, comes to Sardinia

Girls playing with their smart phone 
Among the emerging professions we find that of the coolhunter, whose mission is to sniff the air for new trends and be the first to anticipate what will be the next "cool" item in the field of communication, fashion and cultural products in general. A profile standing at the crossroads of sociology, cultural anthropology and marketing, born in the 1990s to meet the need of the great fashion and design houses to stay abreast and ahead of emerging trends.

iCoolhunt, the multiplatform social networking game created by Turin-born brothers Luca and Alessio Morena, relies precisely on the concept of coolhunter and on the boundless potential offered by the web for capturing new fashion and trends just as they germinate. They founded their company in the Spring of 2010 in their hometown just as the iPhone was being launched. The app took the mobile universe by storm: in a few months its downloads ran into the tens of thousands, and it became one of Apple's "featured apps". Today, iCoolhunt is a web platform too, and its new mobile version is coming out soon.

In June, the start-up opened a branch office in Pula, at the Science and Technology Park of Sardinia. Here the Morena brothers will work on developing and fine tuning their business concept. We had a chat with Luca Morena to find out more about iCoolhunt and get a feel for its potential.

You and Alessio studied respectively philosophy and architecture, what made you turn to the world of ICTs?
It was really almost by chance. When it all started, I was kind of floating in the unexciting position of fixed-term researcher at Turin University. As for Alessio, he was Managing Director of a web agency. The idea of iCoolhunt came a bit out of the blue: a kind of creative insight that brought several passions together: social gaming, a taste for innovation and creativity, and a fair amount of tech geekiness. Once we got the idea, we soon realised its promise and absolute novelty. So we decided it was worth investing some time and money in the following months to develop a beta version acting as proof of concept.

What is your business model?
The model is fairly straightforward and traditional, but with a very innovative angle to it. We process data on emerging trends, mostly identified by our community via the service game dynamics, and then we put together informative trend reports for the creative industry, which we sell on a dedicated B2B platform.

What made you decide to set up a base in Sardinia?
Sardinia felt like a natural choice as home to a start-up: it has a really good mix of know-how, opportunities and high quality of life.

What's next on iCoolhunt’s horizon?
The coming months will see us focusing on building up our project, including development of the apps which will be launched with an international campaign in Autumn and construction of the B2B platform. It looks like a fascinating challenge, but it does have a margin of uncertainty, seeing that the idea is so novel. But we are quite convinced that the time is ripe for a new generation of social media, more focused on users' specific interests. According to our vision and ambition, iCoolhunt already belongs to the post-Facebook and Twitter era.

Sara Palmas

Related pages
iCoolhunt srl - Company profile

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