Silicon Valley Jumps the Shark (Again)
Silicon Valley has produced no shortage of head-scratchers in recent months, but this one just might take the cake. Named BlackV Club, the startup is only two weeks old and is preparing an app that sells only black v-necks.
"All you can do on the app is buy one model of black v-neck," Lando told Quartz.
Inspiration for the idea came when he realized he was "running out of clothes." He went out and bought five black v-necks. Upon returning home and slipping them into his drawer, he had a "very zen moment." Thus, Blackv Club's business model is based on the premise that busy professionals don't have time to make clothing decisions--they've got bigger fish to fry.
"For us, when it comes to clothes, choice is exhausting and not necessary," the founders wrote in a Medium post. "We just want someone to tell us what looks good and we'll buy a bunch of that. That's the idea behind the BlackV Club."
It sounds clever on the surface, but I can't help but be reminded of Christopher Mims' op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, which ran at the height of Silicon Valley's seeming inanity over the summer. Had startups lost their way? he asked. It certainly seemed like it, what with the advent of Yo, a social network that only allows users to send one-word messages, and Washboard, another company that promised $10 in quarters for a whopping $15. Even venture capitalists felt "their kind had lost its way," Mims reported.
Which makes BlackV Neck all the more frustrating. Yes, it aims to help young, professional men who presumably have the means and the need to clothe themselves. But the way it's going about the mission to bring "Zen to your closet" really only applies to those in Silicon Valley's bubble.
It's not that there's anything wrong with being stylish or launching a fashion startup. The problem is, with so many startups having little more than novelty value going for them, it's fair to ask whether venture capitalists would be right to fund them.
To be sure, BlackV Club has yet to receive any funding, and there's no word on whether it wants to. But Yo, which has a reported valuation between $5 million and $10 million, certainly has, to the tune of $1.5 million. Does the world really need another single-serve startup?
JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer
Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.