In 500 Nordics we appreciate boldness and foster a sense of urgency. We also appreciate good style. The first pre-accelerator in Oslo ended with a bang and a kick ass demo day. We are now tracking the development of our first batch companies to see what new crazy adventures they have thrown themselves into.
Jonas Tesfu is the founder and CEO of Style Advice, a mobile marketplace for professional styling services on demand. Style Advice was part of the 500 Nordics pre accelerator in Oslo, Norway in January 2016.
Jonas Tesfu: Founder & CEO at Style Advice AS
Age : 32
Experience: Strong business background (Procter & Gamble, Ericsson, Swedfund) Part-time musician under the artist name TESFU
Mission: Our mission is to make it easy for people to express themselves and feel confident doing so.
Style Advice is a startup with the ambition to create the world’s next big fashion app. It’s a new service for fashion lovers that instantly connects you with professional stylists. At Style Advice, your personal stylist will find the best clothes to fit your style, budget, and existing wardrobe. We make it easy and affordable for you to get honest and professional help – when you need it – wherever you are.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve come across so far, and how did you handle it?
One of my biggest obstacles during the 500 program was an article that came out in one of Norway’ s largest newspapers (in Norwegian).
I got interviewed during demo day and was asked what I thought about Norwegian companies role in the startup ecosystem.
I was pretty critical about their performance, but never expected the article to come out so negative and direct. It basically created a shit storm and resulted in a large debate. I tried to save the situation, so I contacted the companies mentioned in the article and organised workshops to provide an arena for constructive feedback. I invited some other founders to join and the outcome has been surprising. We are today in dialog about a partnership with Norway’s largest ICT player and several other startups have got partnerships as a result of the article. The debate is still very active and I hope it will result in many positive changes for startups in Norway.
What is your next move, what’s next for Style Advice and Jonas Tesfu?
– It has been an exciting journey after the 500 Startups program and we are now in the final of Angel Challenge. There are 25 investors participating in the program to build competence and deal investments. The winning Startup gets a 1.3 MNOK investment, so we’ll do our best to win.
(Angel Challenge is a startup investment program providing support for investors to accelerate with startup investments. )
– We are also collaborating with Norway’s largest fashion school and have initiated a pilot with 20 on-boarded stylists and 150-200 paying customers. The purpose of the pilot is to see how our service can be used for educational purposes and also to test a subscription model.
– Style Advice will also be very active in the Norwegian Fashion Hub. We’ve been invited to present during there largest events and will focus on extending our network within the fashion industry.
– Co-founder to Moods of Norway has also joined our advisory board.
Fun fact about you?
“Mallorca la vida loca” was the first song i wrote. It’s crappy, a little funny and I only play it when I’m drunk.”
As previously mentioned, founders and musicians have a common sense of creative craziness, and there is absolutely no doubt you have to be a little(very) untraditional to be original. Stand out, stay awesome.