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Disruptive On-line Stylist Engine

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - STILAVIA (Disruptive On-line Stylist Engine)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2015-09-30

VALUE AGENTS S.L. was founded in April 2014 in Barcelona, to develop STILAVIA, a new system that aims to definitely change the way people shop fashion online.
STILAVIA is a service in between consumers and fashion retailers, offering users a new concept of shopping experience, both educational and recreational, where an intelligent engine will recommend them items that fulfill perfectly their image aspirations, while they also learn the main concepts of image and beauty.
In March 2015 the management team applied for and won the Phase 1 grant from the SME Instrument of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020, worth € 50,000, which has allowed the team to conduct a thorough market analysis and to develop a detailed business plan .
The feasibility study has been developed focusing on different sensible areas, which have been grouped afterwards in a projected Business Plan for 2016:
1. Market research: With the help of external consultants, several reports and statistics about the market have been collected, compared and summarised, in order to get the best insights and key data to develop the financial forecast. Some of these reports were paid and received from specialised market research companies.
2. Technological research: The collaboration with the Computer Vision Center at the Universitat de Barcelona has been key to determine and evaluate potential R&D future developments.
3. IP regime strategy: A study of patentability has been performed by an external Intellectual Property specialised agency, confirming both the novelty and the degree of invention of the proposal, so a strategy for industrial property protection has been defined, together with the Business Plan for 2016.
4. Work plan and budget for 2016: All the people around the project, togheter with specialised consultants, have worked to properly define tasks and work packages, describe human resources needs, and identify and measure all other needs involved.
5. Financial Business Plan. All the information above: market research and projection, budgeted tasks, human resources and materials, has been put together to develop the final Business Plan.

The product launch will take place this November 2015 in the Spanish market, with a first expansion planned for early 2016 in the UK, as a first internationalization step to the most mature markets of Europe
STILAVIA has been born with the determination to be a disruptive phenomenon in the online fashion market.
The general main scope of the study has been to deeply analyze the whole project to have a proper view of all its key aspects: knowledge about the market, definition of risks, work plan with tasks and dependencies, human resources needed, IP strategy and business model, and financial needs and risks.

We have worked both internally and with external help:
To assess the market.
To understand the business model, identify its risks and develop a strategy.
To define operational and technological feasibility.
To study IP status and strategy.
To trace a detailed business plan ensuring that the risks are kept under review and that appropriate plans are developed to meet any changes in the type or likelihood of adverse impact.

The main conclusions achieved were:

- Market: the company has chosen a market which is growing fast and with an excellent forecasted evolution. The main insight discovered is that with a similar effort, going quickly to the most mature markets in Europe can make a big difference in the company’s results. Therefore, a plan for quick internationalisation has been put in place.
- Work Plan: The company will focus on achieving 4 main challenges: Internationalisation, evolution of the business model to diversify suppliers and increase margins, constant analysis and evolution of the front-end platform (6 big market tests per year), and constant investment in R+D to be able to provide as much utility to users as possible.
- Financial: Shareholders have to be ready to afford new economical efforts, but also an application for the SME Instrument Phase 2 can be the key to take this revolutionary project, firstly to the top of the European online fashion sector, and right after to the world.
STILAVIA is a totally new shopping experience, and VALUE AGENTS S.L. firmly believes it will be a disruptive and profitable business.
The company has already B2B agreements in place with two of the leading online retailers in Europe, and at the moment acceptance and purchase intent surveys are being made to 300 test users, prior to launching the platform in Spain and the UK.

The product will create efficiency and impact in the online fashion and accessories market by:

- Widening the market, by offering more security to the recently incorporated users, and reducing their perception of risk.
- Reducing returns, increasing profitability for online retailers.