A Visit to fbFund REV: Weardrobe and Networked Blogs on Fashion and Blogging
This year, winners of Facebook’s fbFund competition are spending the summer in Palo Alto as part of the REV summer incubator program. Organized by Facebook and Founders Fund investor Dave McClure, participants have gotten the chance to hear from experienced startup and Facebook Platform entrepreneurs, like Jia Shen from RockYou, Keith Rabois from Slide, and Eric Ries, formerly of IMVU.
We recently visited the fbFund REV incubator in Facebook’s old offices in downtown Palo Alto and sat down with a couple more of this year’s winners to hear about their ideas and what they’re working on this summer. The 20 or so teams (including some of the previous year’s winners) are scattered across a few floors, with collaborative space for brainstorming, guest talks, and meetings. Eric Ries shared his thoughts on “The Lean Startup” before we spoke with fbFund entrepreneurs Suzanne Xie and Rich Tong of Weardrobe and Waleed Abdulla of Networked Blogs.
Weardrobe is a fashion community for people to share what they wear. Users post photos of themselves modeling how they’ve chosen to mix and match different articles of clothing and most importantly tag them. The sum of all these tagged photos is a searchable online closet that users can tap into for fashion inspiration.
“It’s not about what people wear, but how they wear it,” Xie says.
The Weardrobe project started about a year ago, and the site has been up for about six months. In college, lack of closet space prompted Suzanne to create an Excel spreadsheet of her clothing items. Organized by style, brand, color, etc., the tool was intended to be able to sort items and, thus, help her not waste clothing. She showed the tool to Rich, and the two realized that there was a better way to efficiently map one’s closet.
This summer the Weardrobe team will be working on a Facebook Connect integration, which will allow users to login to the site using their Facebook accounts, see which Facebook friends are also Weardrobe users, and be able to publish content back to the News Feed.
Another next step for the team will be involving fashion brands, many of which are discovering that TV or magazine advertising isn’t as effective anymore. Weardrobe has already partnered with Urban Outfitters in a Netflix-style initiative: Urban Outfitters donated clothing to Weardrobe, and Weardrobe sent them to its users who styled them up, posted photos on the site, and mailed them back.
We also spoke with Waleed Abdulla at Networked Blogs. Within the Networked Blogs Facebook application, users can search for blogs they read and follow them via Networked Blogs. Features include a News Feed of recent posts from the blogs you follow, a Most Voted tab where users can vote for blogs they like, as well as tabs that showcase what your Facebook friends are reading and posting. The idea was born out of a hackathon event in February 2008 called Weekend Apps and has since then taken off.
Networked Blogs’s Facebook Connect implementation is compelling and different than most we’ve seen so far. Bloggers can add a Networked Blogs widget on their blogs, which links back to its Facebook app. On the Networked Blogs website, which is less interactive than the app and more like a directory of blogs (currently 190,000 blogs) Waleed notes, Connect is also used for authentication and sharing.
Another feature that is useful for blogs that own their own Facebook Page is that you can manually or automatically import posts to the page’s Wall via Networked Blogs. Comments made through the app and the Wall are synced.
As the fbFund continues throughout the summer, we’ll be bringing you more looks at fbFund companies that are using Facebook and Facebook Connect to make the web more social.