To attract investment from overseas sales network with annual revenue of more than $13 billion — the dream of any startup in the ecommerce industry. In may of 2019 to get such a strong partner managed the Russian company Texel: according to Forbes, the British retailer Marks & Spencer has invested in the project $200 000. Plans for the introduction of a unique technology Texel — dimensional avatar of the person — in the “virtual fitting room” all 1,500 stores in nearly 60 countries of the world.

Two years ago the creators of the Texel little dreamed that success. “You saw this fuck iron? How are you going to scale?” with a smile quotes the reaction of investors to the first prototype development of a startup co-founder Sergey Klimentyev. Together with partners Maxim by Fedorovym and Andrei Poskodeny he developed one of the first in the world of technology, creating believable, even down to the folds on the clothes are three — dimensional human model. But investors were not enthusiastic about the implementation of technology — scanner-colossus with a height of 2.6 meters. In the time of crisis, the founders of Texel were ready to bury the dreams of global expansion, but in the end brought the project to its partnership with a global player. As a programmer, an economist and a scientist from Russia has managed to pass this way, and how justified the ambitions of a startup to “undermine” the traditional market of the trade clothes?

Empty universe

The idea to move the user in a virtual reality Sergey Klimentyev has infected even the status of the investment banker. The graduate school of Economics, specialty “business-Informatics”, after a Russian University, he entered the graduate of the London school of Economics and political science and settled in the British capital, sitting in the it Department of Deutsche Bank. A couple of years Klimentyev was transferred to the Moscow branch of the Bank, and from there moved to the position of analyst at Unicredit Securities, and in 2012 in “Troika Dialog” (since 2012 — Sberbank CIB).

“I have worked closely with it and Telecom and interested in the direction of virtual reality. It was a new universe, completely empty digital space was filled very slowly, because the manual work of the designer to create virtual objects takes a long time”, — says the businessman.

He thought about how automated to carry objects from the real world into the virtual and turn them into 3D objects using a scanner. 3D scanning has already been applied in the industrial sector for quality control — for example, in the manufacture of automobiles and turbines for aircraft. A quick “scan” of the person in full growth could not no one in the world.

The first experiments Klimentyev spent after a day of work in a Moscow apartment. He bought A handheld scanner and used as a model to his girlfriend — and now wife and co-owner of the Texel — Anna. Klimentyev sought to the scanner is completely “bypassed” man in a circle, without changing the position. The person also had to remain static.

The best solution turned out to be Soviet trainer — “disk health”. “I got on him and froze for 40 minutes, as in yoga. Sergei spun me and held the scanner from head to feet,” describes Anna. The data obtained Klimentyev recorded in a special software but the results were not accurate enough. Besides Anna is rapidly losing interest in experimentation.

Innovation in the kitchen

Examples of the implementation of the technology was not, but was a scientific work which Clement began to read it. The author of one of them was future business partner ideologue Texel Maxim Fedyukov. A graduate of the faculty of computational mathematics and Cybernetics at MSU, he wrote a thesis on the theme of creating three-dimensional models for virtual reality systems. However, the basis of Fedukov took not a living person and a photograph.

Klimentyev contacted the young scientist and future partners met and discussed cooperation. However, the second meeting had to wait a few months. “Sergei had simply disappeared, not answered my emails in a row. I thought, “Well, some crazy dude.” And then suddenly he wrote himself: “Oh, sorry, was busy,” laughs Fedukov. All this time, Klimentyev spent on market research — looking for the right niche for a startup. “That project took off, we need some combination of circumstances — the right time, working technology and unsolved problem in the market,” he says.

But before you decide on the scope, the partners decided to develop the technology. The main objective was to obtain a realistic avatar of a person. “We have tried all the sensors and all that were on the market. Understand that nothing is perfect, and began to do it themselves,“ says Clement.

“You saw this fuck iron? How are you going to scale?” with a smile quotes the reaction of investors to the first prototype development of a startup co-founder Sergey Klimentyev

For the position of technical Director drew Andrew Pogonina graduates of CMC MSU, and a former student, which Fedukov taught computer graphics. “I successfully completed some task, and Maxim to test, not charged if it caused me to appeal. We had a good talk and he invited me to join a startup, which was then developed. I agreed, although, of course, little idea what you’re getting into,” recalls Pankonin. Over five years of Fedukov and Pankonin managed together to participate in several not too successful startups, and in 2013 joined Klimentyev.

One and a half year partners spent on the development and experimentation, which again would “suffer” Anna Klimentyev. “We have in the kitchen stood a 3D printer, which printed very loudly and strongly smelled of plastic. At the time we closed the kitchen door and put towels under her, she remembers. — I was then pregnant with their first child, and well, I had toxemia. But pleasant still was not enough.”

Gradually the apartment of Klimentievich more and more strange things. For example, a makeshift prototype of the scanner at a height of two meter cubicle made of wooden slats, fluorescent lamps and insulation. “The day when the guys finally took office, became one of the happiest in that period. I was ready to open the champagne,” laughs Anna.

Print double

By 2014, the partners have established a Texel Portal device, outstanding 3D model of a person in a minute. It took about 800, 000. personal savings and the $400,000 raised from Ruslan Bayramov, founder of the project “ethnomir” partner for 3D printing. The scanner consisted of a frame to move the four sensors, a control unit and a powerful computer.

“We have created the world’s first device capable of quickly and accurately scan a person — it was even the location of the hair in a complicated hairstyle and inlaid in the bracelets. I was in seventh heaven,” recalls Clement.

3D avatar Sergey Klimentyev

To monetize the invention is decided simply: by using a scanner created lifelike models of customers and print them on a 3D printer. Particularly well sold figurines for the wedding cake. Partners shot a promo, which has scanned the familiar ballerina, the soloist of the Kremlin Palace and rented vintage wardrobe, posted a video on YouTube and began to sell the scanner to companies wishing to capitalize on 3D products. The whole structure, together with the license of the software cost about $25 000. Focused directly on the international market has made the English-language site launched advertising and immediately received orders from France, Austria, Germany and other countries.

Two years of this work, Texel has become firmly on his feet the business: the profitability of each scanner sold was 60%. “There was a turning point — we knew that or continue doing small business that in three years will become a medium or develop some more interesting venture history,” says Clement. I chose the latter.

To “fly into space” needed investment. At this point the project is tightly connected Anna klymentyev, which just came out in the second decree. She also graduated from MSU, was engaged in consulting and audit in the companies of “big four” and took over financial management of the Texel. With a detailed business plan Texel entrepreneurs bypassed more than a dozen Russian and international funds, but was refused everywhere: metal scanner, holding 2.5 meters in diameter and same in height, does not fit into the trend on reduction of the gadgets and the transition to the cloud. “We said, “of Course, it is commendable that you have done such a thing, but a venture of the scale of this business is not, and will never come back,” recalls Clement. — We are discouraged: we have so much money and effort invested — all down the drain”.

Surrogate shopping

When the first wave of frustration passed, entrepreneurs have applied for Seedstars — the largest competition of technology startups, which selects one best project in 50 countries, who unexpectedly won and got on the international stage in Switzerland. Feedback from mentors has helped to define the direction of development. Decided to go in the direction of reducing the “iron” part and increase the value of software. First, the design of the scanner is reformed to a single column with the rotary table, then

created one of the world’s first scanning drones.

At the same time, orders for printing 3D figures kept coming in, and clients became more and more serious. The portfolio of Texel there were projects with Visa, MasterCard, Mercedes Benz, Fanta, Marvel, SIBUR, Moscow government — they are all rented scanners, branded and used them at events for a visual presentation of their products. Sales for 2016 amounted to 18 million rubles.

For a breakthrough had to choose the area in which the three-dimensional scanning is capable of making a revolution. Analyzed the markets of entertainment, fitness, medicine, but I stopped selling clothes. “A traditional market is huge volume, which only start to come technology. We want to become one of the first reformers” — does not hide the ambitions of Fedukov.

The main problems in the market, according to the founders of Texel — the disparity between the real body shapes and sizes that use the shops. “When designing a collection manufacturers use the average basic mannequin, the result is”a spherical horse in vacuum”. The main objective is to maximize the coverage of customers with the fewest number of sizes: the smaller sizes produce brands, so it is cheaper for them,” explains Fedukov. This approach allows you to increase your return on investment and accelerate the turnover, but it leads to inconvenience for customers and a high rate of returns online. “Lost sales opportunities to people who are bigger than the largest size, less than the least, or whose body shape just does not match the shape design of the brand, will cost the company much more than the remains not sold,” — said Klimentyev.

“The share of sales online are generally increasing, and in the fashion segment is growing very fast. The main obstacle is the inability to accurately determine your size when buying on the website, — agrees Dmitry Bergelson, managing partner of startup accelerator Innoretail. — Because of this, the stores get a lot of returns and have large losses. Any technological solutions that allow to reduce this barrier, to reduce costs and increase conversions, good.”

The founders of Texel digitized fitting rooms: “Repack” the scanner in the form of the frames, passing through which the person is scanned automatically, and the software for fifteen minutes creates and stores in a special Supplement to its three-dimensional avatar. Avatar, once created, can be used an infinite number of times: for the user the whole process is free. Monetized project due to brands: they have to pay for Texel attract a new customer of about 500 rubles. Each subsequent use of an avatar will cost the shop in 30-40 rubles.

Technology there are two scenarios of use. In the first the neural network analyzes the parameters of the person, asks about his style preferences and styles (these items can be marked with ticks) and offers photos of matching items which are available in the store. The second scenario is more complex: three-dimensional avatar of the client is applied to three-dimensional same clothes, like in a computer game. This scheme allows a person sitting at home behind a computer, to visualize how it will look on it selected in the online store thing. But its implementation is suitable only shops that use digital create clothes, says Fedukov.

“The deal with Marks & Spenser is a cool signal for the investment climate in Russia. But from the point of view of the strategy project there are risks”

Texel is not the first nor the only project that tried to automate the process of trying on clothes, but that the Russian startup “turned technology into value,” says Fedor Yakovlev, Director of the Startup accelerator Lab. According to him, a large number of projects-competitors failed because they led to “hype” around 3D modeling a few years ago. “Now startups are beginning to understand that the technology can be used quite widely — from fashion-tech, as in the case of Texel or project and Tailor Retailor modeling cups for bras and underwear, to scan the buildings with drones”, — says the expert.

Some in the industry think “scanning” technology for sub-optimal market solution. “Four years ago, when we entered the market we were competing with Texel. But after a year and a half and realized that we are more interested in the online market and have switched to developing virtual fitting room for online retailers. Service virtual fitting room with 3D scanner was difficult to develop — in our opinion, is an archaic decision”, — says Stanislav Podshivalov, co-founder matching service clothes online Sizolution.

Global brakeset

In the fall of 2017 Texel launched a pilot program of the technology in the shopping center “MEGA Belaya Dacha”. Scanners were not in the particular shops and the halls of the shopping center. Man, after scanning, has received a list of matching images from all working at the Mall brands. The experiment was more than successful, assured Klimentyev: “we had a crazy conversion: from 20 000 scanned people’s clothes on our recommendations within two hours after the procedure, bought 10,000”. The successful pilot helped to draw investors ‘ attention — in the summer of 2018 Texel received 51, 7 million rubles from the Fund for Internet development initiatives (Fria).

But the most important acquisition was the partnership with several international brands. Under the terms of the agreements openly called the founders can only two of them — S. Oliver (573 own store) and Marks & Spencer, which became a minority investor Texel. “We have proven during the pilot run, and Marks & Spencer were looking for a partner for the complete digital transformation of their processes. They are already using the digital system of creating clothes that we can integrate with their technology,” explains Fedukov.

The British retailer in may 2019, a new company “factory of Founders Retail limited” has acquired about 2% of the Texel. The transaction amount was not disclosed, but, according to Forbes, it is about $200 000. The whole startup is thus estimated at approximately $10 million the Amount is insignificant — it is important as a positive signal to other potential partners, explains Clement: “This is the maximum integration in Marks & Spencer so believe in technology, and invested in it.” The representative of Marks & Spencer at the time of publication of the material on the Forbes questions not answered.

On the world market there are already examples of successful implementation of similar technology, says Podshivalov from Sizolution. The main players, according to him American True Fit and the German Fit Analytics: “Both projects raised investrend hundreds of millions of dollars, and Fit Analytics is already profitable project, it is cooperating with the world’s major retailers, including Zara”. In 2017, there was another significant deal: BodyLabs American startup specializing in the digitization of the figure, was bought by Amazon for $50-70 million
The Russian market is far from big news — big retail is looking at startups as contractors, and not as a source of long-term competitive advantage, says Bergelson from Innoretail. “The most important news of the deal with Marks & Spencer — a clear hint that the time has come in corporate investment in startups. Corporations began to understand that technology can create significant competitive advantage,” — said the expert. He predicts that “in the next three years we will see exponential growth in acquisitions of large retailers start-UPS, rather than just using their services.”

In Moscow shopping centres a clever dressing Texel should be able to earn by the end of summer. But it’s not so much about Russia, I emphasize the founders were: Texel aimed at the international market and plans to scan customers in the UK, France, Germany, Cyprus and in other countries of presence of the anchor partners.

“The deal with Marks & Spenser is a cool signal for the investment climate in Russia. But from the point of view of the strategy project there are risks, says Podshivalov from Sizolution. — Marks & Spenser — is more offline, and the future of online. In addition, the binding to a particular brand, in my opinion, can close doors to other markets and cooperation with other brands. Better to remain an independent company that works with everyone.”

According to Fedorov of the Startup Lab, the scope and speed of market development will affect first and foremost the interest of large corporations, the ease of use of the app for consumers and how the economy will change brands after application of the technology. According to him, 3D modeling is a great niche that you just have to fill in. Scanning technology can be used not only for the selection of clothes and shoes, but also to create breast implants or characters in online games, suggests the expert: “However, in mass this radically new method of consumption will come in 3-5 years at best, and while it is possible to count on the early “evangelists””.

According to Morgan Stanley, in 2018 the market size of e-commerce amounted to 1,292 trillion rubles. “Given the fact that, according to our metrics, these services help to increase revenue by 10%, the potential profit from the deployment of technology for retailers will be about $10 billion,” estimates Podshivalov from Sizolution. Total sales of projects on the selection of clothing in Russia, according to his calculations, could amount to about 8 billion rubles.

In parallel with the global expansion of Texel continues to sell scanners for 3D-printing figures. This activity brings a good profit: in 2018, according to the company, its revenues amounted to 29.9 million roubles, net profit of 12.6 million But the dream of a global business venture begins to come true. “We don’t stop at one partner, and are in active negotiations with other major brands. But even at the level of scaling inside the Marks & Spencer this is a business of hundreds of millions of dollars,” encouraged by klymentyev.

20 most expensive companies web — 2019: Forbes ranking

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1. Yandex

In 2018, the ecosystem of “Yandex” added services “Yandex. Cloud”, “Yandex. Dialogues”, “Yandex. Plus” and “Yandex. Drive”. In February of 2018 closed the transaction on Association “Yandex. Taxi sector” in Russia and five neighboring countries. The share of “Yandex” in the new company worth more than $3.8 billion was 59.3%. Also “Yandex” bought an aggregator of discounts “Edadil” and 83.3% of service delivery of grocery sets “Party food”.

2. Mail.ru Group

Mail.ru Group continues rivalry with Yandex to diversify an online business. In the beginning of 2018, the group bought eSports holding ESforce for $100 million, and in April launched an online service medicines, “All the pharmacies”. In the fall of 2018, the group received about 18% stake in the online taxi service “Citymobil” and agreed with Chinese Internet giant Alibaba to build an online retailer AliExpress Russia.

3. Avito

Largest free classified ads website in Russia was founded by Swedish Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert. The service was earned mostly on the service for the promotion of advertisements. For the year 2018, the number of users has grown from 32 million to 35 million people per month. In January 2019 Fund Naspers bought 29.1 percent of the company’s shares for $1.16 billion, bringing its stake to 99.6%. So the service received a valuation of $3,85 billion

4. Wildberries

Founded in early 2000-ies Wildberries company started with the sale of clothing through catalogs. Now it is the largest online retailer, the revenue of which is growing every year. The founders, wife of Bakalchuk, once admitted to Forbes that you never imagined that will create a superproject. But by the end of 2018, the revenue of their company exceeded 100 billion rubles, and assessment of capitalization — $1 billion

5. Ozon Group

In March 2018 MTS has invested in online retailer Ozon 1.15 billion rubles, having increased its share from 11.2% to 13.7%. Later, the Telecom giant has increased its share already to 16.66%, the transaction amount was not disclosed. The funds raised Ozon invests in infrastructure and new projects. In 2018, he received a license for pharmaceutical activity and began to deliver the medication at home.

6. HeadHunter

HeadHunter is a leading sites for job search in Russia and CIS countries. In 2017, the service has announced plans to go public in 2018 on the NASDAQ. He hoped to attract investors $250 million, which would mean a valuation of $500 million eventually, according to some, the deal was called into question because of the stringent U.S. sanctions, adopted in April 2018.

7. “CITILINK”

“Citylink” is the only online retailer on the Forbes list, which specializiruetsya in electronics trade. The company is actively increasing its presence in offline: the number of its stores increased from 44 to 80. The retailer has a network of 470 points for issuing and receiving orders “Sitilink-mini”. By the end of 2019, the company plans to increase the number of stores to 200, own collection points to 600.

8. 2GIS

In 1999, Novosibirsk businessman Alexander Sysoyev came up with to unite the city map directory. Today the service is used monthly 45 million people from 370 cities in nine countries. In 2018, the American company Apple has included data 2GIS in the standard Maps app. In addition to maps in the service of 2GIS also presented about 60 free travel guides to different countries.

9. Lamoda

The last few years, online retailer of clothing and footwear Lamoda is actively developing b2b-direction: the shops-partners had the opportunity to use the logistics and infrastructure of the company. Now on this model Lamoda has partnered with 20 major brands. In 2019 Lamoda plans to open its first offline store of almost 1000 sq. m.

10. ivi
In 2018 the revenues of the largest Russian online cinema ivi has increased by more than half. Pay model in its structure became the main, finally overtaking is. According to the founder of the service, Oleg Tumanov, by 2020, the ivi may go for an IPO on the NASDAQ, if you keep the pace of growth. Recently the service became available on consoles for the TV Roku in the US, Canada and UK.

11. Aviasales

Service for search and reservation of air tickets Aviasales belongs to the structure of the Go Travel Un Limited with its headquarters in Phuket. For 2018, the year its audience has grown from 10 million to 12 million unique users per month. In early 2018, the company entered the market of Kazakhstan, which earned the website aviasales.kz and in July launched together with the Amazon search portal for tours and tickets avitotravel.ru.

12. Profi.Ru
The idea of the service belongs to Serhiy Kuznetsov, who, as a graduate student of MIPT, worked as a tutor and in 2006 created a website for search orders “Your tutor”. Later he was joined by Egor Rudi, they combined several projects into one Profi.ru. The service earns a Commission with each service provided. In 2018 through Profi.ru carried 2.8 million orders.

13. Onlinetrade.Ru
Internet-shop “Onlinetrade.ru” sells products in 30 categories, including electronics, appliances, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, furniture, clothing and even food. Its network is comprised of 390 points of delivery of the goods in 102 cities of Russia. The retailer handles more than 16,000 orders daily. In 2018 he launched in Khimki transport and logistics complex with an area of 23 000 sq. m.

14. Skyeng

Online English school Skyeng has developed rapidly over the year 2018, the number of teachers registered on the site increased from 2200 to 5440 people, and students from 19 500 to 52 500. The company’s revenue has doubled compared to the 2017 year. In January 2018 Skyeng attracted funding from the investment Fund Baring Vostok, said the deal valued the startup at about $100 million
15. 1C-Bitrix

The company originated as a joint venture Sergey Ryzhikov (Bitrix) and Boris Nuraliev (1C) and the development of a management system websites and online projects. Initially, the main income came from the sale of licenses to web design and web development (more than 15,000), but now most of it provides “Bitrix24”, which develops CRM and service management business in Russia and around the world.

16. TalentTech

Technology company that grew out of the branch of the investment company “Severgroup” Alexey Mordashov. 2017 brings together several projects in the field of education and employment: “Netology”, “Foxford”, “Repairman.ru”, FL.ru, Potok, JungleJobs. The largest project of the group — “netology-group”, included into the structure in August 2017, provides about 80% of annual revenue.

17. CYANOGEN Groups

In five years the portal cian.ru turned into blockbuster service rental and sale of real estate. Now his audience of more than 12 million people per month. In 2018 CYANOGEN announced the launch of the service a mortgage approval from banks: buyer fills out a questionnaire online, choose the suitable offer, refers to the Bank scans documents and receives the consent or waiver.

18. B2B-Center

B2B-Center helps large organizations to select contractors for complex services and look for expensive industrial equipment. In 16 years on the court has been more than 1.1 million trading on 16.1 trillion rubles. In January 2019 B2B-Center has launched a B2B-Start for medium-sized businesses to participate in tenders for it, every registered company, in this case an electronic signature is not required.

19. Superjob

The launched portal Superjob Alexei Zakharov, then owned by the developer of sites “Triumvirate development”. For 19 years, the service has not changed the founders. The company has a non-profit direction “vocational Guidance” – experts Superjob are in universities with lectures on how to build a career. According to Forbes, Superjob has a share of more than 20% in the market of online services for job search.

20. YouDo

The service YouDo unites customers and providers of different jobs: courier services and freight, repair, cleaning, computer help. On the website generated more than 4 million jobs and was around 1 million performers, from which the fee is charged for information about their services. In 2018, MTS bought a 13.7% stake in service for $12 million Earlier in the project, invested venture Fund Sistema Sistema VC.

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