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The Sparktrend team: Justin Hamilton, Troy Ma and Tabreez Govani.
The Sparktrend team: Justin Hamilton, Troy Ma and Tabreez Govani.

Sites like Pinterest have made it easy for shoppers to search for clothes and find inspiration for a new outfit. But after coming across something you like, actually finding where to buy that awesome dress or sweet pair of shoes can be a little time-consuming and inefficient.

sparktrend1Sparktrend wants to automate that process and make it easier for people to “connect images to commerce,” as the company puts it.

Co-founders Troy Ma, Justin Hamilton and Tabreez Govani have been good friends and led teams at Microsoft working on the Image Search team.

“To us, this company is a about building something that impacts the people around us, personal growth, and building a large business,” said Ma, Sparktrend’s CEO.

We caught up with Sparktrend to learn more about the company for the latest edition of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: Sparktrend connects images to commerce. Give us an image and we’ll find you the products and where to buy it.

Inspiration hit us when … We were interviewing female shoppers in the mall. One shopper told us that she used to love Pinterest and used it all the time to find inspirations for clothing. She got really frustrated when she found out she couldn’t find the clothing inside the images. She described her frustration as, “it’s like going to the candy store and not being able to eat any of the candy.”

sparktrend3VC, Angel or Bootstrap: We are looking to partner with angels who are interested in our team and company. We value their feedback and ideas as much as funding.

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: Our team ran Image Search for for years. We know how to make this work.

The smartest move we’ve made so far: Besides being a part of Techstars, the smartest move we made so far was spending a whole month interviewing female shoppers. It helped us learn about how they think and feel. We are looking to solve their problems and put a smile on their face.

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: For awhile we were focused on solving the clothing “fit” problem for our customers. They told us countless times how hard it is to find the right size clothing since there’s no standard size. When we finally came up with solutions, they didn’t seem interested. Buying clothing is emotional and we were simply too functional with our original idea.

Sparktrend's founders all came from Microsoft Bing.
Sparktrend’s founders all came from Microsoft Bing.

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: Bezos so we can integrate Sparktrend with Amazon. Zuckerberg so we can spread Sparktrend virally.

Our world domination strategy starts when: Our users truly love our product and use it daily.

Rivals should fear us because: We build quickly, know our image technology cold, and are very metrics driven.

We are truly unique because: Try our site, you’ll get it :)

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: Not overdosing on coffee. We have to sleep sometime!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: Pick great co-founders you trust. Pick an idea that you love. Find mentors that will open your mind.

techstars-casinoEditor’s note: This month, GeekWire will be featuring the 11 startups participating in TechStars Seattle. This marks the eighth of those profiles.  Make sure to check out TechStars Demo Day on Oct. 24th, and GeekWire Startup Day on Oct. 25th, both part of Seattle Startup Week. You will also get a chance to meet the Sparktrend team at the Demo Day after party, a fantastic opportunity to hang out with hundreds of Seattle entrepreneurs, investors and members of the Seattle startup ecosystem.

Past TechStars Seattle Startup Spotlights:

Inside Social helps brands measure social media ROI

Vetted matches big companies with independent consultants

Codementor offers real-time, screen-sharing coding support for developers

Perfect helps you edit, share videos filmed with Google Glass

Shippable helps developers speed up software deployment

Designlab teaches you web design skills with interactive lessons, in-browser tools

Ex-Amazonians helping teachers create and sell online courses with Everpath

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