6. June 2012–
Yesterday former Fashionism co-founder Hermann Frank announced the launch of his new company Views Labs GmbH, backed with ripe investment from Berlin angels Simon Schaefer and Christophe Maire. Where did Frank choose to leak the (ambitiously titled) new company? None other than his Facebook page, wedged between a "This is the Worst Child Labor Ever" Amen post and that Reuters piece on Schaefer's "visionary" new project space The Factory.
More than a repackaged, general-interest Fashionism?
When we spoke to Frank this morning, he confirmed that "Fashionism was converted in April" and the newly named platform "is about product and shopping," "not connected to Fashioni.sm anymore" and "not about fashion". In the heartfelt "launch" photo, Frank (who hasn't looked better rested since his entrance onto the Berlin scene last fall) stands with his new co-founder, Italian import and roommate Dario Galbiati Alborghetti from a balcony that couldn't be sunnier.
New co-founder? New view?
New co-founder Alborghetti describes himself on his Phlur bio as a "dreamer" on a "mission to make e-commerce more social," whose "entrepreneurial attitude started at seven years old producing personalized labels for his elementary school classmates." While the duo has released no official statement as of yet (and there's no website to be found), Frank confirms that Views is aiming to take the technology behind Fashioni.sm (still functioning as a URL but nowhere in sight on the app store) for a wider set of interests. In other words, you'll be able to search for products of all kinds?
Whatever happened to Fashionism?
Fashionism was the itemised location-based fashion platform that quickly charmed the socks off Berlin's most excitable social network back in February and (even more quickly) lost it this spring. Inofficially launched in February 2012, Fashionism was young, bright, and promising – including not only the 25-year-old, fresh-faced Hermann Frank but also the dynamic co-founder Julana Chondrasch (recently named among Europe's top 100 women in tech). The crew rounded itself out with emerging top-tier developers (and Russian import) Nadia Zryanina and CTO Malte Bucholz.
Despite the confident appearance, the company quickly stagnated into private beta paralysis, removing the app from the app store whilst still maintaining a loyal following on its company tumblr blog (rapidly outdoing the product itself in the true function of making the world, well, cooler). When word emerged that Berlin's 'Paypal mafia' (namely- Felix Petersen, Christophe Maire, Simon Schaefer, and Christian Reber) were examining the platform closely, hopes were high. Each, at least for the company's original face, proved "unwilling to commit". When Frank appeared at TWiST, Jason Calacanis all but fed him the pitch that Fashionism needed to secure its funding.
Hermann Frank with 6wunderkinder founder Christian Reber, taken in March
Maire's investment suggests a big VC looms nearby
While Frank was "unable to disclose details on their [Schaefer's or Maire's] official involvement," Maire's investment looks positive for the new team. Views Labs is the third in a recent chain of promising Berlin-based platforms to receive Maire's support, right after Loopcam and Tape.tv (and in the more distant past, established crews like EyeEm, Amen, and Phonedeck.)
Its success will depend largely on Frank's ability to attract (and keep) his new team. The three accompanying founding members of Fashionism and the iOS developer mysteriously left his watch months ago, issuing no official report.