[Tech30] Startup by former Myntra executive is making fashion more intelligent with AI, ML
Demand forecasting in the fashion industry plays a very important role for both the manufacturer and the distributor. It is very critical as the product demand may change rapidly and unpredictably.
After working in the fashion industry and experiencing the challenges personally, former Myntra and Walmart executive Ganesh Subramaniam (47) started Stylumia in 2015. It is a B2B software as a service (SaaS) platform, which aims to help fashion and lifestyle businesses take informed decisions.
According to Ganesh, in 2018, nearly 150 billion garments were produced across the world, of which about 50 billion of them never got sold, and another 50 billion of them were sold at a discount. With the fashion industry being the second largest contributor to the carbon footprint after oil, we have a huge challenge on both the economic and environmental front.
Stylumia helps retailers with real-time analytics for trend forecasting, which includes identifying fashion trends and selling products accordingly.
(L-R) Sharath Puranik, Hemamalini P and Ganesh Subramaniam
“The current solutions are information overload than intelligence. They are also not integrated into the customer’s own data to make it contextual for the customer. Hence, we took it on ourselves to tackle this,” says Ganesh.
The Bengaluru startup provides actionable intelligence from structured and unstructured consumer data sourced from the web and directly from consumers. This can be used by fashion decision makers to come up with styles that customers love in shorter cycle times.
Stylumia is currently present in five countries including the US, the UK, Brazil, Italy, and the UAE.
In the UK, the company has tied up with Julie Woodhead, who has 30 years of experience in the industry with Arcadia Group, and also The Collective from Aditya Birla Group. In Europe, Stylumia tied up with Nicola Monti from the Monti family, a textile conglomerate from Italy, which brought brands such as Cole Haan and Ferrari apparel into India.
Building the platform
As a fashion professional, Ganesh personally faced the challenge of predicting trends, manufacturing products, and ending up with only half of them being sold. “I saw this problem across the world. The opportunity to solve this problem using technology triggered during my stint with Myntra,” he says.
Apart from Ganesh, the founding team also includes his acquaintances from his early stints Sharath Puranik and Hemamalini P. While Sharath is the Director of product and engineering, Hemamalini is the Director of customer success at Stylumia.
The platform uses demand sensing and prediction engine powered by artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, and machine learning (ML) to solve few fundamental challenges for lifestyle brands and retailers to: “Validate: what to create/design? Automate/Predict: how much to buy, and where to distribute? and Create: how to create winning products?”
Explaining the operational model further, Ganesh says,
“We have a unique consumer-driven demand sensing engine and prediction engine combining data at internet scale and client’s own data, powered by proprietary AI models that enable spotting and prediction of winning trends/products. Our prediction engine can forecast the demand for an unseen product (new) reducing uncertainty and increasing the probability of success. Leading brands and retailers globally apply this next practice in fashion trend spotting and prediction.”
The company has the following products: Stylumia MIT, which helps discover winning products globally in a few clicks. Stylumia FIT is a Visual Business Intelligence using computer vision for fashion brands and retailers. Stylumia Apollo helps predict future trends with demand for unseen products, and intelligent distribution of products to different stores - using its proprietary learning models.
The platform helps build the next practice in pattern recognition enabling brands and retailers to stay relevant, grow revenue and profits.
According to Ganesh, Stylumia aims to revolutionise fashion trend discovery, trend validation, and fashion demand forecasting by providing accurate demand sense, intuitive, easy-to-use product team-friendly visual interface using proprietary one-of-its-kind demand sensing and prediction engines.
“We offer fast, accurate, approachable, and a secure way for brands, retailers, wholesalers, exporters, manufacturers, and other companies to take informed decisions. We help them stay relevant, differentiate, and reduce uncertainties to improve their revenue, reduce inventory, and lift their gross margins,” adds Ganesh.
Today, with a team of 18 people, the company claims to be growing at 3X to 4X YoY, and aims to see 10x growth in the next two years.
Talking about USP, Ganesh says: “There is no competition in the way we are solving the fashion challenge. However, there are many players in the market who solve the market intelligence problem alone using a subjective approach through experts, or a data-based approach with supply sense like WGSN.”
The bootstrapped company is looking to cross a revenue of $1 million this year, and expects to cross over $7-10 million by 2022.
Going ahead, Stylumia plans to expand its presence in the US, EU and the Far East from a distribution perspective.
“Going deeper and horizontal in our offerings and solutions; with the depth of solutions across the fashion value chain. We will continue to build our technology and business development teams to support this growth.”
(Edited by Megha Reddy)
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