Central regions | Technology & innovation

Russian virtual fitting rooms get investor backing

4 Sep '20
The Venture Capital Fund, created by Rusnano and AFK Sistema, together with the Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF), is investing 110 million rubles in a startup that develops computer vision technology in the fashion retail sector. This technology allows the buyer to try on clothes online, and the seller to reduce the costs associated with the return of goods, the press service of Rusnano reports.
Rusnano Sistema Venture Capital Fund, created jointly by AFK Sistema and Rusnano, and the Internet Initiatives Development Fund are investing 110 million rubles in the Russian startup Texel. The company is developing computer vision technology in the fashion retail industry, which allows a buyer to try on clothes online and a seller to reduce costs associated with returning clothes. The technology solves the problem of differences in size grids among clothing manufacturers, as well as errors when taking measurements with a centimeter tape, the message says.
Representative of the Rusnano Sistema Foundation Sergey Protas noted that the coronavirus pandemic and related with it, restrictions will have a strong impact on online retail.
Changes in consumer behavior and widespread adoption of digital technologies will lead to a significant transformation in the fashion segment of this market. A new round of funding, in which Rusnano Sistema is a member, will allow Texel to scale up sales of its virtual fitting room software and thereby attract investment from global players. According to our estimates, the size of this market will exceed $ 7.5 billion by 2025, the press service of Protas said.
Texel co-founder Sergey Klimentiev drew attention to the fact that the online clothing market has become the first to introduce digital twins of buyers.
Next in line are health, fitness, VR, computer games and the film industry. We believe that it is a matter of time before every customer has a digital avatar. We hope that thanks to Texel technologies they will receive the same widespread use as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Tiktok, Klimentyev noted.
In turn, IIDF portfolio manager Ilya Korolyov listed the arguments in the benefits of investing in a Russian startup.
Texel has come a long way from large stationary scanners to a mobile application that works on modern smartphones. The team managed to form a unique data set of human sizes, which made it possible to obtain a parametric model that was ahead of the products of most competitors in terms of measurement accuracy. <...> All of this has become a compelling argument for us in investing, Korolev pointed out.
Texel is implementing a project to create virtual fitting rooms in close cooperation with the information technology cluster of the Skolkovo Foundation. In 2018, the project received funding from the fund in the amount of RUB 30 million to create a software and hardware solution. The project has successfully implemented the development and presented the results to the Skolkovo Grant Committee in August 2020.
Texel has created a promising solution that has been highly appreciated by customers in Russia and abroad. The team is distinguished by professional expertise, promising product, deep understanding of customer needs and has great growth potential. Attraction of the current round of financing will allow Texel to scale sales of its solution on the international market, said Sergey Khodakov, Operations Director of the Skolkovo IT Cluster.
Virtual fitting room is a new technological trend associated with the growth of online retail. According to experts, in 2019, the volume of e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $ 3.53 trillion, and revenue by 2022 will grow to $ 6.54 trillion.

About Rusnano and Texel

JSC Rusnano
was established in 2011 as a result of the reorganization of the state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. Part of the corporation's property is aimed at creating the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (FIEP), whose task is to develop an innovative infrastructure in the field of nanotechnology. The asset management function of JSC Rusnano is performed by the management company Rusnano, established in December 2013, headed by Anatoly Chubais. At present, the Rusnano group (JSC Rusnano, MC Rusnano and FIOP) is part of the system of Russian institutions for innovative development.

Texel was founded in 2014 and has provided several solutions for 3D human scanning in six years. In particular, with the help of Texel Portal MX 3D scanners, which have been supplied to more than 20 countries, the company was able to accumulate on its platform the largest database of color 3D scans in the world - more than 105 thousand models.

Based on this base, the company has created two key technologies: a parametric model of the human body, which calculates the girth of a person's figure from images from smartphones, and a generative neural network, which allows you to try on clothes online using one client's photo. These technologies, as well as the accumulated high-quality parametric data, formed the basis of the virtual fitting room service shapometry.com, which is currently being tested.
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