Saturday, April 27, 2013

Startup Leadership Series - Luca Botticelli, Aliveshoes

This is one of the recent profiles I've done on the founders of European startup companies that I am building for Startupbootcamp.

Luca Bottticelli, CEO Aliveshoes
Aliveshoes is an Italian startup currently in the Dutch capital, having been chosen for the Amsterdam Startupbootcamp Accelerator program 2013. Luca Botticelli CEO of explained to me that he’s been dreaming of when he can turn his passion into a business. It is now.

The web has broken open all kinds of markets” says Luca. “It started with music, photography and now it is happening in fashion. But there is one important difference. Individuals cannot usually deliver a physical product to consumers. Yes, there are people who want to market their handmade garments. But there’s a much larger group of people with creative design skills. “

“But they can’t make and distribute the shoes themselves. Most people don’t realize that each shoe consists of no less than 37 parts!” 

“So that’s why we’re building Aliveshoes. It’s actually more than a store. It’s an on-line partnership between the public, leading-Italian designers and shoe craftsmen back in Italy. Together we can take a great idea and make it happen”.

“There are many reasons why we’re making the shoes in Italy and not elsewhere, let’s say somewhere in Asia. First, the quality is much better. We use only the finest materials; anyone can distinguish the difference between quality leather, textiles. suede, even recyclable rubber. We’re eco-friendly from the start and we’re refining our entire process to reduce the environmental impact. Our shoes are not only personal – they are made to last. “

The Aliveshoes team in Amsterdam

“Secondly, I’m from a shoe-making family in Italy. I know that we have a rich tradition of craftsmanship which needs to adapt the changing values of a modern market. I want to create a business which will have a social benefit within the Italian Shoe Valley district. We need to combine our craftsmanship with modern technology so that these fine traditions will thrive and grow.

“Of course, I have investigated ways we could make our shoes elsewhere, like in Mexico or South America. But, although we have travelled the world, we haven’t found companies that can match the speed and production quality for the same price.”

Everyone understands a lot about shoes. Because we all need them!

“It’s the most sold fashion object in history. It’s really a design object because you pick a shoe when it’s in your hands. Only then do you try them on. On top of that, the branding plays an increasingly important part in influencing the final choice.”

“I’ve been working on this idea with colleagues for more than 10 years. But we understood early on that timing was going to be crucial. “

“Facebook is still only 8 years old, other social media sites even younger. E-commerce software and fast connectivity needs to be in place in order for people to find creating things to be fun and worthwhile. “
“We’re taking a different route from the larger sneaker brands. They give consumers the opportunity to personalise a single pair of shoes. We’re building a platform to empower creatives, and those who want to build a brand across the fashion world.”

“Aliveshoes is currently in a private beta. We’re inviting startup companies, like TheNextWeb, to test out our design tools. We offer advice from the top Italian designers that are on the Aliveshoes team. And we deliver what they create. Fast. Efficient. Top-Quality. “

“We’ve just moved into the next phase where we’re inviting designers, artists, brand managers to sign up on our site. We’ve also started our search for the world’s best talent.”

“We’re selecting the 30 best “rising stars” between now and June 20th. Frankly, we've been amazed at the talent offered by several hundred people who have already discovered us. It’s like we've un-corked a passion that has been building for years.”

“This past week the entire Aliveshoes team took an active part in TheNextWeb 2013 conference in Amsterdam. It turned out to be the number one venue for Europe’s most talented entrepreneurs. We had a chance to talk to many creative people as well as investors. And to listen and understand where they think fashion is going in the future. We’re looking for creative entrepreneurs at the conference who understand the Internet of things. We’re happy to demonstrate what we've developed and work together on exciting new projects. The possibilities are endless!”

“We were the "official shoe supplier" for the TNW. But we were surprised and delighted when the entire TNW crew walked out on stage wearing their special sneakers. Patrick de Laive and Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, founders of TNW Conference, have built globally respected conference as well as Europe’s best tech news portal. It was great being part of it.”

Aliveshoes is currently based in Amsterdam, participating in Europe’s leading accelerator program Startupbootcamp. Luca Botticelli can be reached at

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