June 19th, 2013 StartupFix at CultureFix

Hashtagging is all the craze right now, with user generated content such as pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and the like being the bulk of what we browse through on all of our social media platforms. It’s about time that companies start taking advantage of the social media trends and start listening to what highly opinionated consumers have to offer. 
On Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at a StartupFix meetup, four great new startups: Fab.com, Olapic, ShopBevel and ADstruc presented their companies with what exactly they have to offer for the hashtag-crazed and content sharing public.
Fab.com was first to be presented and truly shows just how rapidly an e-commerce site can grow, increasing from 175,000 members from their launch in June 2011 to over 10 million as of December 2012. Many users of Fab discover and shop for design products, connect with talented designers and share their favorite design inspirations. An amazing number of seven million products have been sold since launch, and Fab.com doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. 
Fab focuses in on social e-commerce in the design market, embracing the age of social media where everyone is uploading and sharing unique designs and products that they come across. 
Users can share their design inspirations right on the website’s Inspiration Wall and also see other users’ activity such as what they’re buying, liking and Tweeting.  This e-commerce company is all about creating a unique shopping experience for users, with exclusive products available for a limited time that users buzz about and share through social tools integrated within the website. 
Olapic is a company that truly adopted the use of hashtagging, with hashtags being the principal tool to help curate user generated photos. This provides e-commerce sites with the necessary traffic from social photo crowdsourcing, something so simple and yet so beneficial to clients of Olapic such as Lululemon and NastyGal. Olapic engages their audience and supports a strong community built on photo sharing. 
With a simple hashtag on a photo of a user wearing a brand’s clothing or using a product, these photos are then “shoppable” and help engage consumers with a product that might otherwise be difficult to picture on themselves or being used. 
One of the key features that makes Olapic so successful is the organic nature of these photos and how products are being worn/used by everyday people that we can relate to. With the help of Olapic, consumers are converging two to three times more due to user confirmation, engagement and the bridging of the gap between social content. This innovative use of hashtags has doubled the time spent on many e-commerce sites, with users as the models advocating the brand in their daily routines through hashtagged pictures. 
ShopBevel appeals to those who are crafty and have their visions for the ultimate jewelry design, but don’t have manufacturing capabilities. Starting with 68 entries in their first design challenge in January 2012, ShopBevel garnered over 4,000 from users. In short, designers submit their designs, users cast their votes on their favorites, and ShopBevel produces those winning designs for four to six weeks until the next rotation of designs. This service allows designers to participate in an open competition with other designers, while users have the chance to give their feedback and what exactly they want to purchase while having access to unique jewelry at affordable prices. 
The company depends on design submissions from users, which really brings the whole aspect of user engagement into a whole new light. These designers submit a prototype of the design in mind, suggest a retail price and then have other users rate their work of art. Interested buyers can then preorder the jewelry design, enjoying the early adopter pricing—some designs are in such high demand sometimes that they are sold out before they are made available on the website! 
Jewelry designs have been crowd sourced for every major fashion trend, and ShopBevel has worked with challenge sponsors from fashion bloggers to brands and companies, bringing never before seen designs to the market. ShopBevel currently has approximately 5,000 designers and 35,000 subscribers. 
As the leading online buying platform for outdoor media advertising, ADstruc’s cloud-based solution allows advertising operators to easily manage and promote their advertising space online and interact with advertisers and clients in real-time. ADstruc improves the efficiency and ease of finding advertising space, whether it’s on billboards, subways or telephone kiosks. With the integration of social media such as Twitter, ADstruc also takes advantage of user generated content surrounding the advertising world. 
ADstruc eliminates the old school way of securing advertising space for a particular campaign. 
Instead of sending out individual inquiries to vendors or operators, with ADstruc, advertisers can search for ad space on a map of available inventory of billboards. The user can filter out results based on price ranges, the direction the ad space is facing, and even the demographics of the targeted audience. 
ADstruc also includes a feature to preview an ad on a particular space, giving the advertiser a good visual. What is also interesting is the use of analytics when measuring the impact of ads— ADstruc has a built-in social app that measures the social engagement on Twitter once a particular campaign is live. Advertisers can then see Tweets and hashtags from Twitter and, with the help of analytics, observe the impact of an ad on the public. ADstruc offers the ease of finding a suitable ad space and evaluating its impact with the integration of social media.