Slice of Rye
Whiz Kid Bo Curry
By Robin Jovanovich
A first-rate education can take you far. Just ask Bernard (“Bo”) Curry, a member of the “13-Year Club” at Rye Country Day School and a graduate of Duke University, class of 2019. “I wouldn’t trade my education for anything,” the 24-year-old said in a recent interview.
At Duke, he majored in Computer Science, and, right out of college, he was hired by Microsoft as a technical program manager. At the company’s sprawling headquarters in Redmond, Washington, he worked with engineers and built software. He was on his way in a field growing at lightning speed.
“The positives of working at Microsoft are many,” Curry said. “There are a ton of smart people [pre-pandemic, over 53,000 people were employed there], and I learned from the best. It was exciting to know that any change I made was going to have users right away.”
In his free time, Curry began developing a program with Donald Wu, a Berkeley grad who worked on a different software team at Microsoft. The friends soon realized that if they were going to get the program off the ground, they had to commit to it full time.
“Following a successful pilot at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store, we had the validation we needed. Our program bridges the gap between virtual and digital shopping, so that customers can shop store windows from cell phones,” explained Curry. He added that SFA has a history of innovation.
They left Microsoft on the same day and co-founded Bloop on October 30, 2020.
It was Bo’s younger brother, Jack, who came up with the company’s name.
Curry said their timing couldn’t have been better. “There’s lots of window shopping this time of year but because of the pandemic many people are still uneasy about in-store shopping. Our program enables shoppers to buy what’s in the windows from their phones.”
Working remotely from his parents’ home on the Westchester Country Club grounds, Curry homed in on local retail, notably Angela’s and Havana Jeans, with which he’s forged partnerships.
Knowing that nine out of ten startups fail doesn’t deter Curry and Wu, who are already working “heads down” on version 2 of their program. Fortunately, their business is not super–capital heavy and they don’t need funding. “We’re both living off our savings from our Microsoft days.”
A high degree of uncertainty is the nature of startups, but both young men are confident about their chances in a brave new venture. “There is a high degree of uncertainty with a startup, and it’s tough to chart a path, but Donald and I have done low probability our whole lives.” Curry added, “It’s a feedback loop. If people love what we come up with, we’ll run with it. We are making sure we deliver high quality. And if we’re still in business next year, we’ll be in a good place.”
Their plan is to open a New York City-based office, because they both believe the City will recover quickly after a vaccine becomes available. Wu is currently splitting his time between Seattle and the Bay area.
Having worked at Microsoft is a badge of honor in the technology field, and Bo Curry and Donald Wu could go back if they fail to attract investors in 2021. But it seems likely these two friends know where they are going and they’re on an upward trajectory.