The daughter of an Iranian immigrant who is an entrepreneur himself, Latifi comes by her chosen profession naturally.
“A child of an entrepreneur and engineer, I think I just inherited some of those ‘I must create’ genes,” she told AL.com’s Lucy Berry.
Those genes and her own hard work have served Latifi well, earning her company success in relatively short order. An alumna of Huntsville’s Grissom High School and Birmingham-Southern College, Latifi’s didn’t start out looking to be an acclaimed tech entrepreneur
“I started out at ad agencies,” said Latifi. “I was a brand strategist for companies like McDonald’s, Skittles, Glade. So, did I start in tech or plan on being here? No.
“But, in my previous career I was always more attracted to product innovation and the digital space. I left it behind to join a LA entertainment startup lab founded by Scooter Braun (the manager of Justin Bieber, Tori Kelly, Ariana Grande, etc.) and Ori Birnbaum. We were backed by some heavy hitters: Mark Cuban, Google Ventures, KPCB, Deep Fork, Yuri Milner, etc. I was one of the first hires at the fan club app called Fahlo, now Bkstg. After almost two years of what I would call a crash course in all things tech and startups, I hit a wall. I encountered the burnout everyone previously warned me about. I made the decision to leave, because I honestly didn’t have the passion for the product anymore.”
But Latifi’s shopping habit, and desire to work in tech on her own terms led to the innovative app, which was named Best New App in the App Store last week.
Here’s how it works:
As you go shopping and see items that you love, but aren’t at a price you necessarily want to dole out, scan the items into the app. Hafta Have will store the list for you, and alert you when those pieces are on sale.
“We’re a new way to shop,” says the app’s website, “developed (by women) out of what was missing. Lots of us ‘In-store Shoppers’ take pictures of clothes and their tags, so we’ll remember to go back when they’re on sale…regrettably, that’s rarely the case. How dare we leave behind the things we Hafta Have™.”
While the app has already earned acclaim, Latifi and her team are currently raising funds to serve their users even better.
“We do plan to bring on even more retailers, and categories for users to shop from: baby / kid, home furnishings, men, athletics, the list goes on and on,” Latifi told AL.com. “We are currently expanding into Canada, so I would expect that to be a strong revenue driver as well. From a product perspective we are planning to streamline the conversion process, add additional features to enhance the shopping experience, and create additional revenue streams from our vast shopper data, and opportunities for retailers to drive up-sale and cross-promotion.”
As for advice, Latifi says two things are a must in the world of entrepreneurship: coming up with an original idea, and knowing your competition. Also, don’t underestimate your hometown.
“Having recently reconnected with the Huntsville scene, I’ve been impressed by the techies and entrepreneurs coming back home, or just moving down South for the first time. Definitely, become part of the network that is growing there, but don’t be scared to travel to TechDay or Disrupt. We have just as much as right to be there as someone from the Bay.”
To download the app yourself, find it on your phone’s App Store, or go straight to haftahave.com.