Get to Know the Winning Team of the Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator

July 10, 2013 - Article reads in
Meet Divvy!

The Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator challenged developers to design a new mobile experience for Target. After much deliberation over the seven finalists, the judges selected the winning team that will receive the $75,000 grand prize and a chance to see their vision come to life for Target guests.

Divvy, by Team Pilot, is a social app feature designed to eliminate the real-life pains of group shopping, like divvying up the final bill, working out the sales tax, sharing a copy of the receipt, recording your transaction history and more. The main goal is to make group shopping simple and stress free!

We’re interested in the concept and the people behind it.  “Team Pilot” is made up of Chris Reardon, Charlton Roberts, Chris Kief, Eric Kopicki, James Skidmore, Juuso Myllyrinne and Steve White.

Chris Reardon first came across the competition online and pulled together his friends at work to start tossing around app ideas. After vetting more than 20 ideas during three brainstorm sessions over pizza and beer, Divvy was in the works!

We had an opportunity to sit down and chat with Chris and Charlton to get to know more about Team Pilot.

What first sparked your interest in applying to the accelerator?

Chris: I found the accelerator online and was pretty amazed that Target and Fast Company came up with such a terrific idea. We’ve been doing apps for quite a while, and I just thought it was an intriguing project. The guys and I got together and started brainstorming ideas—we went through several rounds. We were actually pretty brutal in killing ideas that we came up with that were overly complicated. In fact, in the first meeting we ended up killing more than 10 ideas. We came back and brainstormed more… and killed all our ideas again. Finally we had one last go at it and came up with Divvy.

You’ve got a big team! How did you finally decide on an app angle?

Charlton: Well we live, eat and breath whiteboards—we were scrawling furiously to explain these light bulb ideas to each other. Everybody’s ideas were discussed before we started editing ideas, calling out the best aspects of each.

How long did it take to get your prototype and presentation ready?

Chris: I think the whole thing took about two to three weeks to design all the screens, program the functioning demo, create a case study video, and build our presentation. For the final presentation (made at Target HQ to a panel of Target execs) we pulled several all-nighters, and a couple of weekends, of course.

What was your favorite snack during late nights while creating Divvy?

Charlton: We live in New York City, so probably pizza. There’s an old school pizzeria nearby and that’s one of our favorites.

Tell us a little about the inspiration behind Divvy.

Chris: In New York, most people have roommates so they often buy things together. There’s always that sticky moment at the end of a group shopping trip when you have to settle the bill with one another. Those moments were the initial inspiration behind the app—using tech to solve the annoying parts of shared purchasing.

Charlton: Another idea that really stuck with us right away was the thought that you could empower Mom, a main Target shopper. Mom could be the organizing hero of a big school function or meeting without bearing the huge financial burden, because Divvy helps other parents contribute and pay to a single shopping list. Or it could be a great way for teachers to set up shopping lists with parents so they can help purchase school supplies easily. It’s a nice way to get everybody working together toward the same goals.

What were the main goals you wanted to achieve with Divvy?

Chris: The first was making the group shopping experience as seamless as possible. As a husband, I never know what brand or product my wife is talking about when she writes down a shopping list for me. With Divvy, she can add items to a list for me from anywhere and then I’m never wrong—I always look like the super husband!

Charlton: From a development and experience perspective, we did a lot of research on extending the current Target app and the entire Target digital experience. We wanted to build on the current Target app to enhance what people were already using, like the TargetLists feature.

Were you Target fans before you applied to the accelerator?

Charlton: I pretty much lived in Target during college. I went to school at SMU in Dallas and there wasn’t a Target nearby my first few years—I would drive 20 or 25 minutes just to get to Target to get everything I needed.

Chris: Well the headquarters blew me away—the art on every wall was pretty inspiring! Charlton and I took a picture right in front of the huge figure of Bullseye. It was really cool to see the design team in their space. I really do believe that Target believes in “Design for All.”

Charlton (L) and Chris (R) at Target Headquarters in Minneapolis 

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