Ottawa, January 18, 2013—
Steve Tannahill, a tattoo enthusiast and Carleton software engineering student, was keenly aware of the challenge of finding the best local tattoo artists. The problem has nothing to do with supply, he maintains, as there are many award-winning tattoo artists in Ottawa. Recognizing that there was a disconnect between those looking for quality tattoo artists and the artists themselves, he decided to turn his skills toward finding an innovative solution.
To start, Tannahill decided to take advantage of the local startup ecosystem. He entered the local iteration of Startup Weekend, a grassroots event that empowers entrepreneurs by teaching them the basics of launching successful startups. It was there that the idea for Tattoo Hero came together as an online forum for local tattoo artists to connect with customers.
“I want to provide a place where people can get together to speak to leading artists in our community,” said Tannahill. “It’s a place where people who are new to tattoos can learn more about it from those who are more experienced.”
During Startup Weekend, teams were formed organically around the top entrepreneurial ideas, as determined by an online vote. Once the teams were in place, participants created their business models, coded and designed their apps, and pitched them to seasoned entrepreneurs.
When the event wrapped up, Tannahill was surprised to hear that the Tattoo Hero team had come out on top. As part of his winnings, he had the opportunity to bring his idea to the online global competition. He has used the experience to build the Tattoo Hero website, which will officially launch with full functionality in February 2013.
The site promises helpful resources for people who are new to the world of tattoos. Visitors to the site will eventually find a forum where they can show off their current tattoos and connect with local artists for their next project.
“A lot of artists are driven by the people who walk through the front door,” said Tannahill. “But sometimes they want to be able to work on projects that they care about. We want to be able to provide artists a place where they can go online and find these projects.”