FRII fund invests in Russian global startup Texel


FRII invests RUB 51.7 million in Texel company that develops the technology to create a parametric model of the person. The first tranche has already taken place, the Fund received 3.3% in the company. Investments will be made in several tranches. Money will be used for patenting, technology improvement, and expansion in the USA and Europe.

Shareholders of the Texel in addition to the creators of the project also included the founder of the project “Ethnomir” Rustam Bayramov, who owns 10% through Olga Tokmakova said the Texel co-founder Sergey Klimentyev.

Created by Texel 3D scanner for human bodies and large objects is one of the fastest on the market — the process of creating a model takes about 90 seconds. The company’s scanners operate in 11 countries and, according to Texel statistics, every 10 minutes the devices scans a new person.

Customers use of their 3D models in online shopping should allow online stores to reduce the percentage of product returns expected in the company.

Now the startup is working on artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create a 3D model of a person using a smartphone and without the use of a scanner. According to Hewlett Packard Enterprise, if the share of clothing returns is reduced by 10%, online stores at the global level could save about $36 billion.

The AI is trained on its own and the world’s largest database — more than 60 thousand color 3D models of the human body collected with the help of Texel scanners via activation campaigns for major brands (VISA, MasterCard, HP, Cisco, 20th century FOX, etc.).

Thanks to a unique set of data, Texel was invited to a closed international consortium (including Intel, Target, Columbia, Lectra, etc.) to develop a standard 3D model of the human body IEEE 3D Body Processing, which oversees the standardization of file formats.

Texel expects that within a year AI will create parametric models and determine the exact size using photographs or a smartphone, or from cameras installed in retail store.

Texel technologies can be used in many areas, but at the moment the team decided to focus on retail. In particular, the use of own “virtual copies” by customers will allow to choose their models and clothing size more effectively when ordering online and, as a result, more often to make repeat purchases.

Thus, the use of their 3D-models by buyers will allow online stores to reduce the percentage of returns (according to statistics, in the US, this figure reaches 40%, or almost $260 billion per year) and increase sales (as the study showed, 85% of buyers are willing to purchase an additional 1-2 things, if they are sure that the size will fit).

In addition, human 3D scanning technology can make the shopping process more intelligent and personalized. Texel solutions allow customers to recommend specific brands and clothing collections, as well as sizes and even style, based on the type of figure.

Texel has already conducted pilot programs, for example, in one of the largest shopping centers in Europe: 90% of the scanned 20 thousand people visited the stores that Texel advised, and 50% bought clothes based on the recommendation. An additional advantage for retailers is that customers can save their measurements and use them for subsequent orders online.

“The idea of a virtual fitting room exists for more than 20 years. This market is littered with the bones of companies that have tried to solve the problem of choosing the right clothes. Some did not have enough technology, some did not stick to the business model, some were not able to master the integration. We analyzed the unsuccessful experience of the companies, gathered a strong team of people from Deutsche Bank, BCG, Unilever, Samsung Research and Mail.Ru Group (group of recommendation systems) and received good metrics as a result of the pilot projects. The attracted investments will allow us to turn shopping for clients into even more pleasant and effective shopping, having saved from the compelled fitting and need to think of the size of clothes. And brands will come to sew only what is suitable for real people, and not the figures from the table size slides”, – explains Sergey Klimentyev, co-founder and Director of business development Texel.

“Customer data is not only interests, demographics and income, but also body parameters, the dynamics of their changes – can greatly change key business indicators: increase the average check, increase the number of repeat purchases, reduce product returns, etc.

Texel with their strategy of collecting 3D models of the person, parameterization technologies and strong team has all necessary components to become the leader in the market in the next three-four years”, — the Manager of a portfolio of FRII Ilya Korolev considers.

This is not the only startup on the market. In October 2017, the Amazon online store acquired the Body Labs company, which is engaged in the development of 3D models of human bodies. Several more startups are working in the direction of online shopping. There are less competitive ways of using the technology: for example, the Chinese DS Doll uses the technology of 3D-modeling of people to create sex dolls.

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