Where has your experience in BBS has taken you? The BBS Alumni share with us their projects. In this edition of BBS Alumni Network we introduce Domenico Di Leone, Alumnus of the MBA Part-Time (Evening), and his project: Wearing That.
Telecommunications engineer, 2 years at Finmeccanica, 5 years at Avanzi Holding, Domenico Di Leone is one of those young people who have a strong entrepreneurial drive, who decide to leave everything behind to give shape to their idea of business. The driver of this change was his attendance of the MBA Part-Time (evening classes) at Bologna Business School. This training experience contributed to develop a project that will be launched on the market in January, one which raised the interest of businesses and funders when it was presented at the Digital Fair. Wearing That, as of today, is negotiating with two investors for the transfer of 15% of shares amounting to 90,000 euro, a price of 600,000 euro.
The birth of an idea
Domenico dispels, were it necessary, the banal prejudice according to which engineers are cold technocrats. On the contrary, Domenico is someone who likes creating, he’s always done it and never stopped doing it. “Wearing That was born inside BBS. During a seminar of the Master’s the CEO of a startup presented an application that allowed one to see photos and galleries following specific mechanisms. I reflected on the possible business models linked to such a product and I figured that advertising within an image could be an excellent model”.
After a few experiences for large companies, Domenico decided to self-finance the evening MBA Part-Time at BBS, to reconcile his work with the new training experience. “BBS gave me the tools that allowed me to shape my ideas, in order to be on the market in the most efficient way. The fundamental steps were the strategies course, the marketing and staff management ones; the latter was essential in order to understand the mechanisms underlying emotional intelligence, mechanisms that are functional to the management of a team. Another fundamental step was the course on sales, to understand how to manage the resources who bring your products into the market.” Then came his entrepreneurial intuition, the analysis that confirms the idea as something that might come true, and the presence of a competitor that is experiencing a strong acceleration, thus demonstrating the actual potentials on the market. And Domenico, thanks to his studies and the data he collected at BBS, left his previous job and started devoting his time to his own startup.
Wearing the brand
The official birth of Wearing That, Domenico’s project, was June 2015. An 8-month incubation to become a sound idea to promote. “At the beginning, the idea was to conduct a survey of the photographic contexts where to include the brands using digital product placement. Further on, this automatism has been entrusted to the end users so that, using our application, they can disseminate in their social channels the brand, by wearing the product in the photographic context. And enabling them to earn, based on the likes and the comments received.” From a selection of images on which to place the brand, to an active involvement of users in the brand dissemination. This process also includes stages of gamification that reward the evangelists who obtain the highest circulation. A further step, still at an experimental stage, will be the shift from virtual to real through mechanisms of physical distribution of the products to the highest performing profiles.
“Today it’s very hard to make marketing and communication experts talk to engineers and technicians. There’s still a very strong gap. Often marketing-derived ideas aren’t feasible because they require too high an investment for a short-term economic return. Or, ideas seem winning but they’re unfeasible from a technical viewpoint.” Domenico overcame this distance attending, as an engineer, the BBS Master’s course and once bridged the gaps, he tried to set up the ideal team, one rich in a good sense of reality. “There’s no good or bad idea. There are teams that manage to come up with ideas, that do networking better than others. Thinking that one’s project is “an island” is often what leads one to failure”.
The Digital Fair
“I really appreciated BBS’ desire to help the Alumni by allowing them to present their projects at the Digital Fair. The response was great. There has been a great deal of interest for the project, I met a few potential customers and a negotiation has been established with a possible funder presented by BBS.” A success that could be defined a virtuous anomaly in a context such as the one of digital startups, saturated with projects already underway that have an uncertain future. “I’m very proud of the interest shown by investors, even before the appearance of the beta version. With these funds we believe we’ll be able to enter the market at the beginning of 2017 with a full product, both on the web and for mobile applications, available on all platforms with a sound investment for communication.” 5 companies suggested how to position the logo and provided suggestions on how to select the users to involve (excellent web reputation and high quality images). “They assured us they intend to invest because the market is growing steadily. Digital advertising is replacing advertising on paper magazines; indeed, figures show that in 2016 the expenditure for digital advertising amounts to about $ 2.62 billion and the market that businesses like Wearing That can serve, known as Social Advertising, amounts to € 500 million, just in Italy. And it’s booming.” Businesses see people as the most efficient and credible vehicle for advertising and Wearing That meets this need.
A piece of advice to young entrepreneurs from a young entrepreneur
“Invest on your education to open your mind on new, fresh themes. As an engineer, I was used to reason in terms of structures and at BBS I discovered new ways to tackle critical issues. And then, create a diverse team, one that is nonetheless able to establish a dialogue among the different parts in a constructive way, with a positive attitude, otherwise you’re going nowhere. All businesses have their culture: the trick is choosing people who share the same objectives. Sharing the same values is a soft skill never to underestimate, never ever.”
Read here the other projects published.
Are you a BBS Alumnus? Do you have any project you would like to tell us about? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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