The word ‘fit technology’ may lead straight to think about fitness, exercise and health, but there are completely different set of tech startups that fit into the same categorization. The one that assist people to get clothes that fit them better. The scope of this technology is wide. It includes programs that operate within online stores to improve their sizing recommendation to 3D body scanners that makes customization much more precise. When the fitting for a cloth is not right, it leads to troubles for both shoppers who have to deal with returning the ill-fitted clothes while sellers have to make return payment. Below are top seven tech startups that works to get the clothing fit right.
1. Acustom Apparel:
Acustom Apparel, a startup from incubator Betaspring, uses 3D body scanners alongside its own-pattern making software to make custom fit jeans and suits for men. It uses innovative technologies to craft and customize the clothing to fit your style and body with different types of stitching, lapels and monogramming. This technology allows to create garments as unique as you. Adding on, customers can choose from custom cuts and range of washes too. So all one has to do is to stand in the private dressing room and the scanner does the rest. Though its mainly meant for men, they also offer custom fit denim for women too.
Founded by a Harvard Business School graduate Jamal Motlagh, the scanners take into account not just hip and inseam measurements but length and circumference of every part. “Self or tailor-made measurement tend to have a lot of errors. It is hard to measure your own seam and even goin to five different tailors would give five different set of measurements,” says Motlagh. This is where the 3D scanner comes to play. Started in 2011, the company raised fund of $1.1 million from the angel investors. It is currently working on to raise next round of funding to improve its technology and expand its operations in the form of pop-ups and shop-in-shops.
The UK-based virtual fitting room startup Fits.me is based on robots for internet clothing shoppers. The user is asked to enter their body measurements and the application creates an avatar with the measurements. Then the users can try on various clothes on the avatar to know how the fit would be on them. Through the creation of the robotic shape-shifting mannequins and looking at how people reacted by seeing clothes on the avatar with their dimension, sales shot up. The customers are happy as Fits.me help them to try on many clothes before buying from internet shops. They can experience how different sizes fit their standard size – like in real-world fitting room. This technology actually boost the sales online as people are confident about how the piece of cloth will fit them.
Founded in 2010, the company raised first $4.2 million of $7 million ‘ top-up’ investment from its existing management team. The $4.2 million management buy-in comes from new chief executive and original investor James.B. Gambrell, along with other existing backers including The Entrepreneurs Fund, Smartcap and several individual angel investors and shareholders. The company acquired another startup and its competitor from New York Clothes Horse. Clothes Horse suggests size recommendations by asking the user about her body type, the brands she likes and how it fits. Fits.me already has a secondary tool like Clothes Horse but it is not very developed graphics vise.
Finland based Stylewhile is another virtual try-on startup but is different from the rest with its own online retailer while others license its technology to retailers to integrate in their platform. Also, Stylewhile places more stress on complete ensemble rather than pieces. It is an iPad-optimized platform allows customers to pick, mix and match items from various retailer on top of a model with a similar body type. Once the ideal look is created, the customers can share it or save it or buy it. It compines pieces of clothes from different retailer. When clicked to buy, the user would be directed to retailer’s respective shopping cart. Currently, it works with Shopbob, Asos Ivana Helsinki, Neiman Marcus and Mywardrobe.com. For even transaction through Stylewhile, it charges a small percent but is free of charge for users.
Founded in 2011 by Jutta Haaramo along with Mika Marttila, the team of four is backed the Foundation for Finnish Inventions, Tekes and Lifeline Ventures. In August 2013, the company announced around $600,000 funding round that includes Hardwick Overseas, Reaktor Polte, Lifeline Ventures and others. The funding served as a means to further develop Stylewhile’s services and expand its business operations. Haaramo said, “Our goal is to grow into a global business and co-operate with various fashion industry professional. Our first priority, however, is to find that perfect concept that will make customers return to the service time and time again. They are on the way on this journey of discovery.”
Fitbay, the Danish company with base in New York, is a social network where one get to meet ‘ body doubles’ i.e., people of similar height, weight and body type, to look what they are wearing and find new clothes that fit. The site is locked and loaded for Generation Selfie too. The site offers the users to upload their selfies wearing clothes they like to help others with their purchase decision. It has to be noted that the site only accepts users via invite. Those applying through invite can take a body shape quiz to improve Fitbay’s garment suggestion that allows the users to choose their body shape from range of options like pear, cone, apple etc. Best part is it does not require measuring tapes to get recommendations.
Founded in 2013 by Christian Wylonis, the beta version of the site and the phone app was launched in June 2014. The company has already completed two rounds of funding. The first was an angel round of $400,000 in November 2013 and the second one was a seed round of $2 million in June 2014. Another round to raise new fund is being planned for this year. Wylonis does not intend to disclose the exact number of users but he says it hundreds o thousands. On long-term, he plans to monetize through lead generation to our partner sites as well as becoming a marketing platform for brands and retailers. Investors are usually critical of affiliate revenue models so their monetization plans focus less on the aspect, said the founder.
Stockholm-based business Virtusize offers retailers a virtual fitting room functionality. But instead of trying to show how the item would look on the customer’s body, the technology offers garment-to-garment comparisons. Users measure a garment they already own and alongside they can compare with the items they are looking to buy. ” The big difference that separates us is that we start with the garment rather than the body,” says the co-founder Peder Stubert. “It is much more intuitive and clear for customer,” he adds. They pin point that their 2D measurement solution is super flexible and that flexibility is the core of the company. That is the main reason why ATOS, the online retail giant, has chosen to start with its own brand clothing as returning customers will be more likely to own a comparable garment, and the company has the size and fit data more readily at hand to apply to Virtusize’s technology.
Founded in 2011 by Gustaf Tunhammar, Jevgenij Tsoi and Erik Ekstrand, Virtusize launched with Nelly.com (giant online retailer in Scandinavia) at the same year. It generate revenue by charging a monthly fee for using its solution. With the inclusion of ASOS as partner, the startup grew with more than 50,000 users per month. The company raised $1.3 million in seed funding and the startup backers are Swedish listed investment company Oresund and a number of angel investors including Fredrik Ahlberg, former Head of Growth at eBay Europe. Last year, the company raised a Series A round D-Ax, a collaboration between the Swedish conglomerate Axel Johnson AB and a group of digital exerts, RECAPEX. With the fund, the company has been working on the global expansion and product development. The company is soon rolling out in Japan via a partnership with Japanese online fashion retailer Magaseek.
The ecommerce startup ThirdLove uses smart phone technology to ensure its users a perfect fir bra, with an iPhone camera acting as a virtual measuring tape. The new clothing brand under parent company MeCommerce has created its own line of lingerie and a personalized shopping experience that takes less than 15 minutes. Best part is the app does not require the user to get naked to get the right measurements. All that one need is a mirror, a form-fitting shirt and a basic bra. However, ThirdLove doesn’t pass along the measurements to its customers for the obvious reasons but displays a range of bras that would suit the customer.
Heidi Zak co-founded ThirdLove in 2012 with husband and former Sequoia Capital partner David Spector, himself who was Googler with expertise in consumer internet. In 2013, the company announced a $5.6 million seed round featuring many sought-after backers like social media billionaire Yuri Milner, investor Zachary Bogue and Silicon Valley stalwarts Andreessen Horowitz. Zak does not disclose the exact figures but said the company has increased its revenue month by month since its inception. The company is working on to launch an app for Android phones in the near future.
7. Rent the Runway:
The web startup Rent the Runway allows women to rent designer clothing at affordable prices, tries to make it a lot less difficult. The startup with more than 24,000 dresses and 12,000 accessories in store for women to rent for weddings or a night on the town and charges only 10% of the retail price. “What w do in the realm of high fashion is open up the total addressable market to millions of women who have not been able to afford it before,” said Jennifer Hyman, co-founder of the company. She also said the company did not face any difficulty in persuading women to shop for high-street fashion stuff on the web. Revenue numbers were not disclosed but said her company had shipped more volume in 2014 than in previous four years combined.
Founded in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, the company’s last round funding $24.4 million Series C led by Conde Nast, which closed in 2013, valued the company at $220 million, not including money from the investment. Till date the company has raised $54.4 million. Bain Capital owns 27% of the company, Highland Capital owns 16%, Kleiner Perkins owns 9%, Conde Nast owns 5% and founders Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss each own 13% stakes. This New York-based company with five million users is planning to generate $80 million this year, according to reports from the investors who have seen the company’s financials.