Fox School of Business alumna Esosa Ighodaro designed a mobile application that can monetize the art of snapping selfies.
Ighodaro combined her love of social media and fashion by developing COSIGN, an app that allows users to directly shop for products that they see in social-media posts. Users can include product information by tagging what they are wearing in the image, creating a social media-meet-shopping experience.
Ighodaro credited her time at Temple University for helping her develop “a competitive edge.”
“I worked hard to get ahead and stay ahead while I was at Temple,” said Ighodaro, who graduated from the Fox School in 2008 with a degree in Finance. “I was surrounded by students who always pushed me to do my best work, and that gave me a competitive edge later in life.”
Two years ago COSIGN took Kickstarter by storm and, in 2016, it finished as a runner-up in a national competition organized by AT&T and was set to appear on “Project Runway.” Her idea for it came about quite organically.
Ighodaro had secured a management association position with Citigroup in New York City. What started off as a compliment on a subway platform from a complete stranger during one of her commutes unfolded into an ongoing business partnership. Abiodun Johnson is the co-founder and technology mastermind behind COSIGN, and he met Ighodaro as they waited for a train. They shared a lengthy conversation, exchanged contact information, and together built COSIGN.
To get the business off the ground, Ighodaro worked in corporate banking for more than six years and saved as much as she could before making a move into the tech field to support her work with Johnson and their concept for COSIGN.
“The journey is expensive,” Ighodaro confessed. “I talked to everyone about investing, even my doctor, and anyone that would listen. Most said no, but I was just persistent.”
The COSIGN duo launched a Kickstarter campaign in November 2014, just as Ighodaro left corporate banking. Skeptical at first, the two realized their app showed promising results once they had created a video that explained its usage. In just 30 days, COSIGN raised $41,000 on Kickstarter – enough money to build the first complete prototype of the application.
“That validated for me that people cared about what I had been working on in my basement for so long,” Ighodaro said.
In May 2016, AT&T’s Agility Challenge picked COSIGN as one of its 10 national finalists. The competition awarded cash prizes for the small business ventures that demonstrated an understanding, embrace, and appreciation for agility in their daily pursuits. COSIGN finished as a runner up, and netted a $10,000 prize.
COSIGN, which has now partnered with more than 1,200 brands and retailers, features more than 20 million products – from fashion and beauty to even electronics – in its database for users to search, tag, share, and shop.
COSIGN is set to appear on Lifetime’s Project Runway: Fashion Startup in November 2016. The series showcases aspiring fashion and beauty entrepreneurs as they pitch their concepts to a panel of investors in the hope of securing funds.
“I’ve always found it intriguing and something that just came naturally,” Ighodaro said of becoming an entrepreneur.
Now she’s living her dream, one selfie at a time.