Budding Israeli entrepreneurs pitched ideas for a 3D virtual fitting room, a remote payment platform, a screen-sharing tech for joint online shopping, a virtual personal shopper and more, during the recent Fash&Tech Bootcamp cosponsored by the Eilat Hub for selected early-stage fashion-tech startups.
The event was one indication of Israel’s growing prominence in fash-tech, a sector mainly centered in New York and Berlin.
“We’re not in the top three yet, but fash-tech in Israel is slowly growing and making an impact,” says Yael Kochman, organizer of the five-day event and head of the Fash&Tech community and innovation center for fashion, ecommerce and retail technologies in Israel.
Kochman, Alla Foht and Netta Stavinsky founded Fash&Tech in 2013 to help Israel become a dominant force in global fash-tech.
“In the last year, we have grown to over 1,600 people and 150 startups. We have opened an extension in New York helping Israeli startups to get connected there,” Kochman tells ISRAEL21c from her office in Tel Aviv. “A lot of our startups are working with international companies or building headquarters outside of Israel.”
One of the first Israeli fash-tech companies was Browzwear, started in 2004 to develop 3D fashion-design software. The IP and name were sold to a Singaporean company, though R&D remains in Israel.
Kochman says that Israeli fash-tech is strongest in the area of enhancing UX (user experience) with online, offline and omni-channel technologies powered by machine learning, computer vision, artificial intelligence and bots.
At the annual DLD (Digital Life Design) Tel Aviv Innovation Festival next September, Fash&Tech plans the first-ever international FashTech Stage featuring 30 sessions, a fash-tech runway show, a live fash-tech store and a startup competition.
Co-Commerce, winner of the Fash&Tech Bootcamp startup contest in Eilat, will exhibit at FashTech Stage and also won a business-development contract from Champion Capital as well as three months free in the Fash&Tech Hub. Co-Commerce is developing screen-sharing technology that allows friends to have a joint online shopping experience.
Here are 10 of many promising Israeli fash-tech companies, in alphabetical order.
- MemoMi Labs, based in Palo Alto with an R&D center in Rehovot, created the award-winning high-fidelity fully digital MemoryMirror now being piloted in Neiman Marcus stores across the United States. MemoryMirror enables the consumer to see 360-degree views, virtually change colors and add accessories, compare outfits side by side and share images from the try-on session. The company also has smart mirrors for trying and buying sunglasses and cosmetics.
- Sizer of Herzliya has developed recommendation engines that make online size guides more accurate and user-friendly, as well as a size-recommendation widget for items on retail websites. Sizer’s Lite Recommendation Engine was recently launched with Israeli fashion retailer Renuar. A trial with Japanese retail giant Uniqlo was successfully concluded last July.
- Brayola helps women find and purchase well-fitting bras and other underwear from 200 partner brands online, using a fitting technology and a smart recommendation algorithm. Brayola has raised $6 million and is planning a Series B round as gross revenue is expected to break $30 million this year. The staff includes 15 in the Ramat Hasharon headquarters, a management team of eight in New York and a customer-support team in the UK.
- Donde Fashion developed a consumer app and a visual search tool for ecommerce sites that allows users to find any fashion item using an image rather than text. The company is based in Tel Aviv and Palo Alto, California.
- Wishi is a website and iOS app offering real-time styling services ranging from shopping guidance to making the most of existing wardrobe items. Wishi matches users to participating stylists who charge a fee, or users can request free styling advice from the community. Founded in 2011 in Tel Aviv, Wishi has branch offices in New York and San Francisco.
- Awear Solutions created an embedded IoT “smart tag” to engage consumers and reward them with loyalty perks for wearing a particular fashion brand. The tag also provides the brand with insights on post-sale behavior. Founded in 2013, Awear is based in Tel Aviv.
Awear is one of two Israeli fash-tech companies chosen to participate in the New York Fashion Tech Lab 12-week program for female-led startups, which began in March this year. The other is Zeekit, a virtual fitting app for online shoppers. Founded in 2013, Zeekit raised $9 million in 2016.
- BFrow, a newly launched online fashion community with $3.2 million in funding, uses machine learning to provide catered content on lifestyle, fashion and beauty. The platform also helps fashion bloggers expand their reach with interactive content tools and a readymade community. BFrow was founded in 2016 in Tel Aviv.
- Invertex in Tel Aviv, which recently raised $2 million, has developed a mobile app, in-store unit and ecommerce plug-in to capture and analyze a shopper’s body in detailed 3D for optimized fitting of footwear, eyewear and apparel. Invertex has an office in North Carolina and is beginning commercial rollouts of its FeetID Ecosystem meant to boost confidence about buying shoes online and reduce the high return rate.
- Julbox of Tel Aviv won first place in Fash&Tech’s 2016 startup contest for its platform that enables anyone, even those without prior design knowledge or experience, to create unique jewelry affordably and sell the designs online through the Julbox marketplace.
- Syte uses visual artificial intelligence to help brands, fashion bloggers and publishers turn any online image of a fashion item into a clickable purchasing opportunity. Syte was founded in 2015 in Tel Aviv.