iCoolhunt's Quest to Engineer an Algorithm to Crack the "Code of Cool" Funded by Italy's Largest Bank

iCoolhunt's Quest to Engineer an Algorithm to Crack the "Code of Cool" Funded 
by Italy's Largest Bank 
Social Scientists Team up With Data Scientists to Create a Community
of "Cool Hunters" and Generate Trend Forecasts for Brands 
PULA, ITALY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/12/13 --  

--  iCoolhunt, a gamified photo-sharing platform for crowdsourcing trend
    spotting, announced today the launch of its new application, for Web
    and mobile (iOS), and seed funding in the amount of $670,000 (EUR
    500,000) from VC firm, Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno/IMI Fondi Chiusi
    SGR S.p.A. -- part of the largest bank in Italy, the INTESA SANPAOLO
    Group. The company is among the first social media startups to receive
    funding out of Italy.
--  iCoolhunt is the latest application to join the rising trend of
    games-with-a-purpose (GWAPs), which aim to solve large-scale problems,
    in this case: tracking emerging trends globally and in real-time.
    iCoolhunt is attempting to solve this problem by developing an
    algorithm, based on trend-spotting activities on the platform, that
    will crack the "code of cool."
--  Trend spotting is a $36 billion growth business, according to Outsell;
    with the seed funding, iCoolhunt plans to address this market
    opportunity by developing the backend of the platform and providing
    subscription-based trend forecasting reports, overlaying editorial
    commentary to the data analysis, starting later this year. In addition
    to trend forecasting reports, brands will soon be able to:
    --  Access a dashboard that will display the evolution of trends in
    --  Commission projects where expert or locale-specific iCoolhunt
        players can participate in pay-by-task trend research activities
        and contests
    --  Test design concepts on the iCoolhunt platform and measure initial
        reactions before pulling the trigger on manufacturing
--  iCoolhunt challenges the community of passionate and passive trend
    spotters to be part a citizen movement and relentlessly pursue a sense
    of wonder -- to be part of the creative process before a concept
    becomes "fashionable." Through the iCoolhunt platform,
    (iCoolhunters) hunt down and upload photos (prey) from the Web and the
    real world. Other features of the application include:
    --  Trendboxes: photo conversations where an iCoolhunter can upload a
        photo that other players respond to with similar photos to
        validate a trend through crowdsourcing
    --  Badgest: players can unlock badges based on quantity and freshness
        of prey captured (from Rookie status to the ultimate Guru),
        Trendboxes created and followed (Trend Expert), and number of cool
        votes or not (King of Uncool)
    --  Integration with: Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter (Web);
        Facebook and Twitter (iOS)
    --  Immersive experiences: iCoolhunt is also looking to develop
        immersive features, such as geo-specific trend forecasts (like
        weather forecasts) that give people a sense for what is being
        considered cool in various locales that they live in or want to
--  Brothers, co-founders and co-CEOs of iCoolhunt, Luca and Alessio
    Morena, bring unique perspectives to the tech startup scene: Luca
    earned a doctorate in philosophy and Alessio was the founder of a Web
    design agency. They believe the future of technology startups combines
    the powers of data science with social science, which will create a
    demand for experts in the humanities. In addition to developers,
    iCoolhunt's team also includes a digital ethnographer and writers.


--  "Creativity is like lightning -- it can hit anywhere, anytime. We want
    to track that spontaneous insight on a global scale with iCoolhunt to
    prove that there is a universal code for what humanity interprets as
    'cool' or intriguing. And now, with the invention of smartphone
    cameras, we can extend trend spotting beyond the traditional academic
    realm and empower citizens of the world to tell each other what the
    future looks like. With iCoolhunt, we've combined collective human
    intuition and a sense of wonder with data crunching to create the next
    generation of trend-forecasting tools." -- Luca Morena, co-CEO and
    co-founder of iCoolhunt
--  "It's an exciting time to be part of the nascent startup scene in
    Italy and we're fortunate to have found a great funding partner in
    Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno/IMI Fondi Chiusi SGR S.p.A. We look
    forward to using the funds to execute on our revenue model: to provide
    brands with valuable real-time insights into trending concepts and
    ways to engage with the trend-spotting community." -- Luca Morena,
    co-CEO and co-founder of iCoolhunt
--  "People are trend spotting everyday across various social media
    platforms -- we wanted to find a way to disconnect this activity from
    the context of their personal lives and aspirations and concentrate it
    to a single platform where people can be rewarded for their finds. We
    deliberately chose not to include nostalgic filters as a feature to
    keep users focused on the present and what the future could be." --
    Alessio Morena, co-CEO and co-founder of iCoolhunt
--  "We believe iCoolhunt can provide the next generation of
    trend-forecasting services and fits our portfolio of high-growth and
    innovative companies at Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno. The company's
    crowdsourced approach to collecting information about new ideas around
    the world addresses a huge market opportunity for brands facing this
    problem today. We truly admire what iCoolhunt's team has built over
    the last couple of years and look forward to be part of their
    continued success." -- Aurelio Mezzotero, investment director at
    Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno

Please use this link to access iCoolHunt
 iCoolhunt Twitter feed  
iCoolhunt Facebook page 
 iCoolhunt screenshots  
Please contact Kristine David for more information or to arrange an
 Originally launched as proof-of-concept in 2010,
iCoolhunt was catapulted into the VC spotlight when its iOS app
experienced 20,000 downloads in a single week. It is now one of an
increasing number of startups to receive VC funding in Italy. The
company was founded in 2012 by philosopher, Luca Morena, and
designer, Alessio Morena; advisors include Ciro Cattuto (head of the
data science lab at the ISI Foundation) and Rebecca Walker
(award-winning author at the Huffington Post and author of Black
Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness). iCoolhunt is based out of
the Sardegna Ricerche incubator in Pula in Cagliari, Italy, with
operations in Turin. For more information about iCoolhunt, please
visit: www.icoolhunt.com. 
Kristine David
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