The Coresight Research team attended New York Fashion Tech Lab’s (NYFTL’s) Tech Runway Demo Day 2018 in New York City on June 7.
- The event featured NYFTL’s fifth cohort class of startups, which consisted of nine women-led companies that have developed innovations at the intersection of fashion, retail and technology.
- This year’s NYFTL included companies working on technical solutions focused on analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, visual search, RFID, return solutions and manufacturing.
- The startups’ various areas of focus include creating new ways for customers to shop, new ways for retailers to track engagement and new ways for retailers to communicate and engage with customers.
- The nine startups that participated in NYFTL’s fifth cohort and in the Demo Day included: Cherry Pick.ai, Eon, EverThread, Fashwell, Find Me A Shoe, Headliner Labs, Linc, Narrativ and Shimmy.
New York Fashion Tech Lab 2018
New York Fashion Tech Lab (NYFTL) was cofounded by Spring Enterprises with the support of mentors and collaborative partnering, including fashion retailers, venture capitalists and industry experts. Springboard is a network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth, technology-oriented companies led by women. Some 718 women-led companies have participated in Springboard’s accelerator programs, raising a total of $8.3 billion to date.
Launched in 2014, the 12-week accelerator program supports women-led companies that have developed innovations at the intersection of fashion, retail and technology. Since 2014, NYFTL has organized five cohorts, including 42 fashion technology startups and 24 fashion and retail partners.
NYFTL fashion and retail partners for the 2018 cohort include: Global Brands Group, Kohl’s, Lands’ End, LVMH, Macy’s, Matchesfashion.com, Perry Ellis International and Tory Burch. Other 2018 cohort partners include Avery Dennison, Flex, Microsoft, Accenture, Launchmetrics, Pan Communications, Meredith, Davis Wright Tremaine, DWT Digital Counsel and Davis & Gilbert.
NYFTL 2018 Class
On June 7, the Coresight Research team attended NYFTL’s Tech Runway Demo Day 2018, featuring its fifth accelerator class of startups. Jackie Trebilcock, Managing Director of NYFTL, welcomed guests and kicked off the event.
This year’s NYFTL included companies working on technical solutions focused on analytics, AI, machine learning, visual search, RFID, return solutions and manufacturing. The startups’ areas of focus include creating new ways for customers to shop, new ways for retailers to track engagement and new ways for retailers to communicate and engage with customers. Below, we highlight the nine startups that presented at the Demo Day event.
CherryPick.ai enables brands to drive sales directly from social media comments by tracking shopper intent across product SKUs. According to Cofounder Melissa Munnerlyn, over 10 billion product interactions occur each day on social media, yet valuable purchase intent data—such as shopper comments on photos—is often not captured.
Rather than using a social listening tool to serve a retargeted ad, brands can deliver personalized and relevant content in real time. If a Glossier customer was commenting on a Glossier Instagram image “this would be great in coconut scent,” marketers could target those customers directly and provide similar products or recommendations. The company works with beauty retails and brands, but will begin scaling to other industries, specifically apparel, over the next two years.
EON provides item-level RFID threads for clothing that creates a product digital profile. The RFID thread provides a digital identity for each product, with the objective of improving product visibility and communication among manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
According to CEO and Cofounder Natasha Franck, one of the biggest barriers to recycling fashion clothing is not knowing the contents of the clothing. The EON thread is attached at the manufacturing stage and can be scanned to receive the contents of the garment to properly recycle at the end of a product lifecycle. According to Franck, the company represents the “intersection of sustainability and business opportunity.” The company has been working with Global Brands Group.
EverThread is an image management tool that seeks to reduce the time and cost of generating images, and improves image quality and the customer experience. The company uses 2D/3D image-rendering software to create high-resolution, customized views of retailers’ and brands’ products. Once a product image is created, the retailer or brand can make thousands of finishes, colors and textures available for the image, allowing shoppers to personalize the product shown.
If customers are shopping home décor, for example, they can shop several variations of the sofa, rug and pillow, all while staying on the same product page. The platform provides API integration, dynamic merchandising tools, cross-selling capabilities and a backend, cloud-based platform to manage product images, vendor partners and orders.
Fashwell is a visual search tool for retailers and brands and currently works with clients across the board, including Zalando, the largest apparel retailer in Europe, as well as Nelly, Shop Spring and Olapic. The Zurich-based machine learning company focuses on image understanding to power visual search. The technology allows consumers to upload pictures to a retailers’ mobile app to find products.
According to Fashwell, consumers spend on average 3.3 hours per day on their smartphone, and 55% of consumers are inspired by social media to make purchase decisions. Yet, mobile conversion significantly lags that of desktops and text search on retailers’ apps has an under-50% hit rate. According to Fashwell, retailers that use the technology have seen conversion up 10% and a 5% increase in average order value.
Find Me A Shoe
Find Me A Shoe is a footwear-recommendation tool that has developed digital-sizing technology to help consumers find the best-fitting shoe. According to the company, there is a lack of standardization or data in the footwear industry. Analyzing 30,000 foot profiles of US consumers, the company found there to be 27 different foot types.
Consumers register by creating a digital foot profile as a onetime activity. Using their phone, consumers take three photos of their feet. Once that is completed, the end user can try on footwear models virtually using Find Me a Shoe’s fitting service at findmeashoe.com as well as with its partnering retailers. The partnering retailers and brands can provide consumers with personalized recommendations based on their shoe profile and other characteristics. Current partners and pilot customers include Vans, Global Brands Group and Flipkart.
Headliner Labs provides retailers and brands the ability to create AI-powered bots for messaging platforms that can automate and personalize messages to their web traffic with the goal of turning churn (rate of attrition) into customers. Cofounder Caroline Klatt says consumers spend up to five hours a day on their mobile devices, much of which is on messaging apps.
Headliner chatbots are deployed across mobile messaging platforms, and incorporate digital experiences such as recommendation algorithm-based guided selling and image processing. All of the bot functionality is built on Headliner’s authoring tool, on which brands can A/B test messaging and access bot analytics. The analytics enable the follow-up micro-targeting of users, and has natural language processing capabilities that are specialized for retail queries.
Linc enables brands to provide personal and contextual digital customer service via its messenger bot. The bot can process over 200 attributes of contextual information, such as customer preferences, sentiment and order history, which allows its clients to drive more meaningful customer engagement.
Cheng discussed the integration of Linc’s customer messenger ServiceBot with one of its customers. The bot connected with 480,000 shoppers and only less than 8% of interactions had to be handed over to the companies’ agents. Linc has assisted in over $4.5 billion in purchase value and says its customer service solution, on average, provides 25% greater customer care savings and a 30% lift in customer repurchases.
Narrativ Founder and CEO Shirley Chen said there is a big revenue opportunity that has gone largely untapped by online publishers—namely, the links those publishers are already using to direct readers to buy the products mentioned in an article.
Narrativ’s technology rewires publisher pages with dynamic product links. Narrativ’s AI transforms authentic story components (such as product links, quotes and images) into dynamic editorial real estate that is not impacted by ad blockers. Currently, static links send 40% of users to dead or out-of-stock pages and do not always reflect the best price. Narrative SmartLinks seeks to fix this technology gap and unlock publisher access to conversions, lifting partner revenues by up to 5x, according to Chen. Narrativ works with over 500 partners, including Condé Nast, New York Magazine, Bed Bath & Beyond and Nordstrom.
Shimmy Technologies provides SaaS-based design and data management tools to facilitate apparel brands and manufacturers in their transitions to 3D design, automation and mass customization. According to Founder and CEO Sarah Krasley, too much time is spent on measurement, documentation and inputs. Shimmy is a suite of mobile applications that increases a technical designer’s productivity by using automation, predictive analytics, 3D design and augmented reality (AR) to accelerate conventional technical design workflows, automate garment manufacturing and make customization of apparel a near-term reality.
The company partnered with IBM Watson to leverage its AI technology to automate the measuring process. To improve the process of trying on and buying swimsuits, for example, Shimmy can quickly and easily gather the data needed and then apply that data to a digital 3D avatar, generating a swimwear pattern that’s customized and tailored to the consumer.