Personal: 33 | Married | BA in law from the College of Management
A 3D model that facilitates buying underwear without trying it on, using an algorithm that recommends the right size and artificial intelligence analysis that determines what is suitable for a person’s body structure
Inbal Carmel worked as a lawyer at the Jerusalem municipality, but something was lacking: she was looking for “something creative with vision.” The direction she found for herself was ecommerce. “I took a course at the Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, where the idea of founding a website for underwear was born. I started contacting suppliers from all over the world through connections and email, and I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to manage the business from home. I searched for a hub where I could base myself and a way to gain exposure to this world. I found the incubator in Tel Aviv, and met entrepreneurs. We talked about future ecommerce solutions for virtual try-on, and that’s where my technological interest began.”
They founded the startup in 2015. She works with two partners: strategic adviser Nir Netzer and investor Eitan Pollak. “While I was working, customers would call me with measuring problems. I realized that there were no simulation solutions for clothes worn next to the skin, that underwear is the hardest thing to buy online, because there’s no solution for trying things on. I saw that there was a real need, and started to do research. That’s how I met Michael Litvin, a programmer and algorithm developer who just then finished working on his startup.
“We started developing virtual try-on technology that would be suitable for both ecommerce websites and physical stores. Actually, the idea of making my ecommerce into a startup came from both of us. We became a couple while working together, and we got married six months ago. We like working together, because keeping a startup going is very hard work, and if your spouse doesn’t support you, it’s impossible. On the other hand, there’s no economic support from one of the couple earning a salary from another job.”
Why is your technology needed in physical stores where people can simply try things on?
“The global trend is synchronization between physical and online stores, for example through trying on via a mobile phone, iPad, or by scanning QR code. It's called “click and collect” - standing in line, trying on, and carrying bags all become unnecessary.”
They are currently launching their first collaboration in Israel with Delta Galil Industries. “Our technology is installed on their ecommerce website, and we’ll synchronize it later through physical stores using screens that will be displayed in them, and which will facilitate virtual measurement. We tried it out first in the ecommerce stores I founded, and we managed to increase the use of virtual try-on by 40%. We doubled the time spent on the website, and also increased the conversion rate to purchases.”
The global underwear market is estimated at over $270 billion a year. Are you aiming at global activity?
“We’re in touch with companies in Europe and the US, which is where the biggest market for the technology is. Our goal is to enable any brand to increase its conversion rate to purchases and reduce the proportion of returns, which is relatively high in this segment.”
You're accumulating very sensitive information about women. That could be a problem
"We have no privacy problem, because there’s no need for uploading a picture and self-scanning. That’s what distinguishes us from other startups in this sector. Big data gives us prediction capability - we’re accumulating information and doing smart analysis that integrates artificial intelligence and automatic identification of patterns. On the basis of the information, we can recommend additional items that correspond to the body structure and measurements, and this has created a cycle of personalized shopping."
“Find the right partners, in order to build a strong team with complementary know-how, connections, and character. I found a partner for both my startup and my life.
“I believe that it’s worthwhile being the leader in what you do, whether it’s leading something social or creating a community. When I set out, I founded a fashion and technology community aimed at producing conferences and events in the sector that would lead to cooperative efforts.
“It’s also important to be in the relevant places, like conferences, to participate in panels, and to attend events or create such things by yourself. These thing are great opportunities for forming new connections with investors and people from the industry.”