In celebrating five years of Fashion 2.0 meetups, Style Coalition decided to host an open mic and networking event this past Monday night at the Scandinavia House in Midtown East.
Arriving at 6 pm, budding entrepreneurs, bloggers, developers, and the like from our industry came to meet and mingle before a series of quick pitches.
When the clock struck 6:30pm the crowd took their seats and were greeted by Founder and CEO of Style Coalition Yuli Ziv. She remarked upon five great years of merging two communities into one and forging the fashion tech industry that we know today. Then she introduced the expert panel for the evening: Sim Blaustein of Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Murat Aktihanoglu of ER Accelerator, and Lauren Indvik of Mashable.
First up to present was Ahalogy & Krupp Group, a startup attempting to create a method for driving meaningful ROI for brands from Pinterest. The general feedback from Sim Blaistein and Murat Aktihanoglu revolved around advising the company to be wary of centering their business on a single platform. The panelists pled with the team to consider branching out.
Second speaker for evening was Orit Hashay of Brayola, a personalized bra shop helping women to discover their next favorite bra using an algorithm analyzing a user’s current bra wardrobe and brand preferences. Orit had the audience in stitches throughout her pitch. She started off by speaking to the men in the crowd, asking them to empathize with women’s struggle to find the perfect bra by imaging that there were millions of condom brands each with their own sizing systems and materials and that in order to figure out if they worked they would have to be measured and try on the condoms. Brayola taught us the power of a well constructed pitch to grab a crowd’s attention, but as Lauren from Mashable pointed out, user experience of a company’s site can be even more integral than a memorable pitch.
One of the most beautifully designed and impactful pitches of the night was from Olapic, a company dedicated to directing the power of image driven commerce, and a TWF client. We have definitely seen time and time again the influence user generated content has had on sales.
Rank & Style came to the stage with a speech exquisitely crafted and rehearsed to meet the time limit almost to the exact second. Providing a top ten ranking service for fashion and beauty categories, Rank & Style simplifies the shopping experience for uses based on a scientific ranking and algorithmic approach. Customers can also view what criteria is being used to factor into an item’s position on the list.
Erik Lautier stepped up next to talk about Reprisal, a unique merchant-driven fraud solution for online retailers. Hoping to accumulate a large enough pool of data, Erik wants to eventually offer Reprisal as an API that can be used to automatically notify a merchant when a blacklisted email has been used to make a transaction.
StyleShoots presented an innovative photo machine that allows products to be styled, shot, and upload to the web in less than five minutes. With a 5D camera built into the station and adjustable lighting, all a stylist has to do is prep an item and press a button. StyleShoots hopes to reduce the costs of photography for retailers and cut down time processing images with their Auto Alpha background removing software.
While we have seen an upsurge in companies occupying the subscription box service space, TrendsGirl is trying to make room for itself by offering a product category under-serviced by the model: accessories. Consumers can sign up for a one time box or monthly subscription where they will receive three pieces of on-trend jewelry.
VeriFund presented next, offering a unique crowdsourcing trend forecasting plug-in to allow designers to predict demand for production. (Reminds us of Lolly Wolly Doodle taking orders from Facebook to cut back on overproduction costs.)
Social dressing room startup WiShi sparked the attention of the entire room when founder Lia Kislev announced that while only in Beta, the company has already amassed 40,000 users. WiShi solves the issue of having a closet full of beautiful clothes but nothing aware by combining the features of Polyvore and Pinterest in one space.
Team ZAOZAO closed off the evening with a vivid presentation describing their social prevail service platform that enables the crowd funding of asian-inspired accessories and shoes.
It was incredible to see ten companies complete their presentations within the span of an hour and a half and with time to spare. Yuli stood up and opened the floor up for anyone in the room to make a rapid fire pitch. Bravery and confidence was surely the theme of the night as one after the other, men and women stood up to pitch their companies.
Thank you Style Coalition for five years of great events and building a strong community within fashion tech.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables. Christi Reid is an Editorial Intern for TWF.
Images via Style Coalition