Spotting upcoming new trends worldwide by searching through the coolest social networks and through images circulating online is Nextatlas’ mission. Which also addresses insiders looking for branding, design or product development of upcoming new ideas. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

Luca Morena
Luca Morena

Can you describe how the website is structured and how it is working?

Nextatlas helps brands track emerging trends in real time by merging social data with crowd sourced consumer insights. The technology uses Big Data analytics to marry social data from Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram (but the number of data sources will increase soon) with the expertise of more than 30,000 trend spotters worldwide, who are using our popular consumer app, iCoolhunt, to collaboratively identify and track emerging trends in more than 400 cities and 60 countries across the globe.

How did the website originate?

It was some sort of creative insight. I must confess that it was only in the process of designing the first iteration of the iCoolhunt app with my brother Alessio when we understood that we were also building a promising and innovative business. The starting point was the idea that trendspotting could be turned into a mobile social game. The direct consequence of this idea was that, through the game, we were somehow crowdsourcing trendspotting and taking advantage of a location-aware technology. With Nextatlas - our analytics engine - we basically scaled up the initial concept by leveraging not only content from the iCoolhunt community but also from other major social media. With social media and big data analytics we added an important layer of science to the art of trendspotting.

When did you launch it and what was the initial reaction?

After launching as a proof of concept in 2010, iCoolhunt gained investors’ attention and launched a consumer application with the same name in 2013. Nextatlas is the business application of iCoolhunt and launched at the end of 2014. iCoolhunt’s launch had a global coverage and it’s been featured on publications such as Wired and Mashable, among others. Nextatlas is now gaining attention from the media and has already gained the trust of top global brands in a number of different industries, not only in fashion.

To whom is it addressed?

Nextatlas is industry agnostic. The technology was created for all professionals who need to make informed branding, design and product development decisions. Examples include: advertising, branding and marketing teams; product designers and manufacturers; fashion designers and retail buyers.

How many members does the site currently have and how many are you looking to have in the long run?

We have an increasing number of clients using our platform. Our ambition is that of turning Nextatlas into one of the leaders in the global trend spotting industry in a couple of years.

What have been the biggest challenges of running the site thus far? And the greatest joys?

What we’re doing is very experimental and sometimes you have to try a number of solutions before getting interesting results. But this is also the best part of our project, as we are always creatively looking for new paths and building an interdisciplinary team composed of data scientists, ethnographers, humanists, and software engineers that can address problems from different viewpoints.

What services are you offering through it right now?

Nextatlas helps brands easily visualize emerging trends by meshing together data from different social media streams into actionable insights that inform and inspire the creative process. Key features of our technology include the possibility to track upcoming trends and their evolution. Trends can also be tracked by geographic origin and migration to help brands identify whether they present macro or niche opportunities. Nextatlas users can create instantaneous mood boards, storyboards and visual presentations to facilitate trendscouting.


What new services or columns are you planning to add in the near or long-term run?

We’re working on a number of new features to help brands easily find their way in this ever evolving scenario of trends. Moreover, we’d love to leverage the Nextatlas engine to provide an innovative B2C mobile service in content discovery.

Are fashion, streetwear or sportswear playing any important role in your website?

Of course, they are. A great deal of the content we analyze and publish on Nextatlas is related to these categories.

How do you stay in touch with your members? How important is the social network aspect for this website?

We are constantly in contact with our clients to provide support and receive their feedback and suggestions. As for the social network aspect, it’s at the very foundation of our projects, both iCoolhunt and Nextatlas, given that both technologies leverage the power of collective intelligence to get relevant real time information.

What section, service or part of the website do you personally like most?

There’s a section on Nextatlas that allows users to spot relations between trends that I really love. I believe this is the most beautiful and effective way to illustrate how creativity works by, literally, connecting relatively distant ideas.