AR startup Imaginate’s pivot after Start-Up Chile and its Indiegogo campaign for StartupBus Africa
Imaginate is an Hyderabad-based augmented reality and virtual reality company that was founded by Hemanth Satyanarayana in early 2012. Hemanth has close to a decade of experience in the AR space and has accolades like the winner of the prestigious MIT TR35 India Innovator award under his belt. Imaginate was formed with the intention of making virtual dressing rooms that can be used in malls and other shops to make trying out dresses easier. “The product was really high on technology and was perhaps a bit ahead of it’s time,” says Hemanth in retrospect.
The company was selected to be a part of the Startup Chile (read our latest interview with the director of the program) and it was here that it found a new direction to build upon a product that would get more adoption. “The program ended earlier this year post which we raised a seed round of $50k to focus just on product development,” says Hemanth. The new product which is still in alpha stage is called Dressy and has the following blurb running:
Dressy couples fashion and cutting-edge artificial intelligence with expert styling, bringing you the freshest custom product recommendations that fit your form and style, everytime.
The product would make it easier for customers to shop online by giving them recommendations which takes into account the body type and the colour liking (which comes from their Facebook pictures). Dressy also helps a user virtually try out apparel with a mouse click. The product is likely to launch soon and discussions are underway with some eCommerce sites for integration.
Hemanth has also launched an Indiegogo campaign more as an experiment to fund his travel for the StartupBus Africa which begins this weekend. StartupBus is an annual entrepreneurial road trip, during which the ‘buspreneurs’ conceive, build, and launch their startup. Hemanth is one of the 30 entrepreneurs selected and the bus journey will start from Zimbabwe through South Africa for 5 days. “The funding amount will be reciprocated with technical expertise from our end and this campaign is more to test out the power of Indiegogo. I was really cuious about how the whole thing works,” says Imaginate. Through the campaign, Imaginate offers to develop custom AR app in return for a contribution of $1000 and this will also lay foundation for their future campaigns.
Heipile is one venture we recently wrote about that is raising funds via Indiegogo for their product and were able to raise $8000. More models for crowdfunding are still evolving and is a promising new avenue for people to raise funds for their ideas.