Fung Global Retail & Technology attended the New York Fashion Tech Lab’s (NYFTL’s) Tech Runway Demo Day 2017 in New York City on June 14. The event featured NYFTL’s fourth accelerator class of startups, which consisted of nine women-led companies. 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.
NYFTL was cofounded by the Partnership Fund for New York City, Springboard Enterprises and major fashion retailers to support women-led companies that have developed innovations at the intersection of fashion, retail and technology. The accelerator program launched in 2014, and each 12-week class targets nine companies. NYFTL supports these startups through working collaborations with iconic fashion retailers, brands and well-known industry experts. NYFTL’s partners include Bloomingdale’s, Flex, J.Crew, Instyle, Kohl’s, Macy’s, MatchesFashion.com, Microsoft, Time Inc. and Vera Bradley.
On June 14, Fung Global Retail & Technology attended NYFTL’s Tech Runway Demo Day 2017, featuring its fourth accelerator class of startups. Jackie Trebilcock, Managing Director of NYFTL, welcomed guests and kicked off the event. She also introduced Kay Koplovitz, Chairman of Springboard Enterprises and Managing Partner of Springboard Growth Capital, who noted that more than 674 Springboard portfolio companies have raised more than $7.7 billion to date.
This year’s NYFTL class included companies working on technical solutions such as image recognition, AR, VR, data analytics, artificial intelligence, data mining and the Internet of Things. 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. Below, we highlight the nine startups that presented at the Demo Day event, grouped by area of focus.
New ways for customers to shop: Four of the presenting startups, Markable, Obsess, Snap Tech and Zeekit, provide new kinds of shopping platforms or innovative ways to for customers to shop.
Markable produces state-of-the-art image-recognition technology that identifies fashion products in photos and videos. Viewers can click or hover over the clothing they see while watching TV shows, movies and other digital media, and Markable will generate both exact and visually similar product results. Featuring a fully customizable user interface and a 0.5-second result time, Markable bridges the gap between digital media content and e-commerce, making visual search a reality with every digital photo and video across every platform. The company’s lens software recognizes 50 items per image and matches them against 10 million shoppable images. Markable’s conversion rate is 60% versus the industry average of 1.84%. www.markable.ai
Obsess is a VR platform for experiential shopping. The company’s mission is to replace generic and utilitarian e-commerce user interfaces with custom, discovery-based, immersive shopping experiences using VR as the medium. Obsess is building a software platform that will enable 3D, 360-degree shopping on mobile and desktop, allowing fashion brands to create the next generation of customer experiences in the form of virtual stores. According to Obsess Founder and CEO Neha Singh, VR has the highest emotional impact of any digital medium, prompting 27% higher engagement and 34% more interaction time. www.obsessvr.com
Snap Tech is a visual search and discovery tool that makes content shoppable. Users “snap and search” any item, and the company’s technology provides the exact or a similar item that is available for purchase. Snap Tech’s software is best used in the company’s app, which utilizes a product database containing more than 16,000 brands, including the latest comparable retail clothing and accessories items for men and women. Snap Tech can search over 1 million items in half a second. The company reported that conversion rates are 30% among users of the tool and that time spent on a site increases by over 100%. Snap Tech aims to provide a user experience that is more satisfying and efficient than real-world shopping. www.snaptechnology.co.uk
Zeekit is a platform that enables fashion shoppers to virtually see themselves in new outfits and get size recommendations while shopping online. It takes the guessing out of the apparel shopping experience. The company allows users to try on an entire collection after simply uploading one photo of themselves. zeekit.me
New ways for retailers to track engagement: Two of the startups, Awear Solutions and Point 93, focus on targeted customer engagement both pre-purchase and post-purchase.
Awear Solutions enhances brand loyalty through tailored customer targeting that allows retailers to understand who their customers are and reward them in real time via a frequent flyer–type fashion program. The company has created a win-win situation where customers are rewarded for wearing a brand they love, while the brand is able to collect valuable insights on post-sale behavior that will encourage repeat sales. Using Awear technology, a brand can determine who is wearing its products and where, and provide promotional opportunities accordingly. www.awearsolutions.com
Point 93 is an app that determines the price that a customer is willing to pay for a selected item and how long he or she is willing to pay that price. The company leverages dynamic, equitable pricing to enable a novel conversation between retailers and their individual customers. This “personalized conversation at scale” eradicates the need for sales and deep discounts, captures customer data that was previously unknowable, and revolutionizes how retailers buy and price. www.point93app.com
New ways for retailers to communicate and engage with customers: Three of the presenting startups—Camera IQ, E-Contenta and Findmine—focus on how to target relevant content to customers in an exciting way that generates revenue.
Camera IQ is a camera technology platform that enables marketers to use a mobile camera and AR technology for content and commerce. The company leverages the camera to connect the online and offline worlds, allowing for a deeper, more meaningful connection between a brand and its audience. www.cameraiq.co
E-Contenta is a personalized, dynamic, native ad platform. Unlike traditional players in the space, E-Contenta uses existing brand content from corporate websites and blogs. The startup claims that more than 30% of a company’s traditional marketing budget can be spent with no return on investment. E-Contenta seeks to evaluate, quantify and reach consumers with targeted content. It uses machine-learning algorithms to analyze online users’ behavior, reading history and content metadata. The system picks the most relevant articles from a brand’s content library and delivers them to the user in real time. As a result, businesses get brand loyalty and better customer conversion rates. www.e-contenta.com
Findmine is an automated personal stylist that is able to answer “How do I look?” when shoppers ask, and provide suggestions. The company’s “complete the look” technology scales outfitting across a retailer’s or brand’s entire organization, ensuring that shoppers see full outfits that answer the question “How do I wear this?” for every product across every channel. The company claims that clients have seen revenue increases of up to 7.5% and that shoppers will buy up to 170% more when they see a whole outfit. The company notes, however, that 90% of the time, customers do not see the whole outfit. Findmine has served more than 100 million requests so far in 2017, in real time. The company serves more than 4.5 million requests for outfits each day for billion-dollar apparel brands, womenswear retailers and high-fashion leaders. www.findmine.com