First Fridays: Dave Fink, Partner at Science, Inc.
Q+A with the start-up developer behind social shopping platform TopFloor
Tech / 1 Feb 2013

In this month’s edition of First Fridays, we introduce you to Dave Fink, Partner at Science, Inc., a digital business incubator that this fall launched TopFloor, a video-driven social shopping platform that offers members exclusive, curated sales and the ability to earn rewards for sharing. Read on for Dave’s breakdown of his start-up role models, why he believes in the power of data, and what role he sees social shopping playing in the retail landscape of the future.

What is TopFloor?

A dynamic shopping experience connecting shoppers with collections of personally curated fashion, beauty and home goods. Each collection is created by a specific influential person and reflects their personal taste. Shoppers discover interesting new products in the custom feed they created by following brands and curators that interest them.

If you had to choose one word or phrase to describe TopFloor, what would it be?

Selective

How do you define success for your enterprise?

We are very analytically minded people. We believe in a data-driven approach to success. Each day we come into work and dive into a real-time dashboard that helps us understand which curators are most engaging, which products are driving the most sales, and how consumers are interacting with the site in general. We are working to provide our customers with the most vibrant shopping experience possible and feel successful when they purchase, tell friends about us, and come back again.

What is the one thing you wish you knew before you founded TopFloor?

How to add more hours in a week!

What is the one thing you never want to hear (or, most want to hear) from a customer/user/client?

I hope never to hear that a shopper didn't discover anything new after visiting TopFloor. I hope to hear that a shopper found their new favorite shirt, hat, or scarf.

What compan[y]ies (other than your own) are you inspired by, and why?

I am most inspired by fast growing and super innovative companies. Obviously, Facebook is an amazing company. What they've been able to do in less than a decade is nothing short of astonishing. They have truly changed the way people interact with other people, companies, and technology. I've always been amazed by large CPG manufacturers like Procter and Gamble and Unilever. These companies develop and manufacture the products we use every single day.

What about startups? What other technology companies other than the Facebooks/Twitters/YouTubes/Instagrams/Pinterests of the world do you find inspiring and why? What about those outside of the tech space?

I'm most impressed by companies that drive efficiency through innovation. These companies typically solve real problems. Dropbox is a perfect example. This is an example of a company that decided to go up against some big traditional companies because they didn't feel their problems were being met. Do you know anyone in business who doesn't use the cloud to store their files? I'm in love with some of the mobile companies that focus on elegance through design. A perfect example is Flipboard for iPad. It is truly a better way to consume content.

What are the most meaningful innovations in the social shopping landscape right now? Where do you see the future of social shopping headed?

The ease with which consumers can discover new products and share their discoveries is extremely exciting. Trends are set and shared so quickly and often the lines between content, commerce and marketing are so blurred it just becomes part of the everyday experience.

Could you please tell us a little more about these ideas? Other than your own, which social shopping tools do you believe to be setting the trend in this space? What specific social shopping features do you find most meaningful and why? What do you believe makes a consumer share their discovery?

Curation is proving to be incredibly valuable to consumers. There has never been a shortage of products and stores. Historically, those brands and retailers with the largest budgets have been able to dominate market share. With the emergence of curation, consumers are now able to more easily discover interesting, quality brands and products. Initially, influencers ran forums, message boards and blogs to help consumers with discovery. Now, platforms like Svpply, TheFancy, Pinterest and Instagram make it easy to engage with tastemakers who aid the discovery process.

©The Intelligence Group