On July 23, I was lucky enough to attend the “Lady Pitch Night” the final of the European competition for startups founded by women, organized by Girls In Tech Paris (LeWeb thank you for the tickets, GiT for the entire evening, and TheFamily for hosting this wonderful event).
Today I wanted to introduce EasySize, the winner of the contest. So, friends, here Gulnaz Khusainova, CEO EasySize, who will give us more details of the startup she founded.
Hi Gulnaz! Could you introduce yourself in few words, your background, experiences
I’m originally from Moscow, Russia. I founded my first startup Youreserve when I was 19 years old. It was an iPad app and a system for booking tables in restaurants, similar to Opentable, but more advanced for hostess managers to optimise their work. I’ve gotten angel investments, but after deeper test of the market found out that the Moscow market hasn’t been ready for such kind of solutions yet. So I closed the company and sold the technology.
My next venture was an online-shop which I started a year later with 2 friends of mine. My first try in a fashion e-commerce was my next startup called Brameter. This iOs app could define a bra size for ladies using an image recognition technology. The app hasn’t been published in AppStore because of the Apple’s policy, and after it has been re-invented to become EasySize.
Between running startups I also worked in IT and marketing as a project manager and a marketing specialist. I have my masters degree in Strategic Marketing (National Research University – Higher school of economics – one of the best economic universities in Russia). I also worked for a year in one of the largest banks in Russia as a head of strategic planning unit – analysing big data and running web- projects. It gave me a deep understanding of algorithms and data.
Let’s talk about EasySize, the startup you created 3 years ago. What’s its story? The solution, who are your core targets, and what problem does it solve?
EasySize as an idea of solving the size issue was born 3 years ago.
However, the EasySize as a current product was created only last September. Initially EasySize was a mobile app, where everyone could define body parameters and sizes in popular brands using 2 photos. During almost a year me and my team were working on improving the technology, and in September 2014 EasySize has been selected to the Startupbootcamp acceleration program in Copenhagen.
Only in Copenhagen we had a chance to test the idea with shops and made a pivot. We were convinced that the right fitting service should be extremely easy to use for clients and online shops, but also accurate enough to predict a correct size.
Our dream solution only has to ask clients about something that everyone knows or can easily check — the size of any piece of clothing they own. The solution is built on a technology using various factors to analyse online-shops orders records. It means that the size is calculated not based on what clients think they look like or prefer to think they look like, but what they actually buy, return and do not return.
Regarding the competitors – including Fitizzy, created in Lille by Sébastien Ramel – what’s the main differentiating factor? How is perceived this factor by your current customers?
Our main advantage and differences are:
1. Minimum actions for online shoppers. We don’t want to distract users but improve their shopping experience. That it’s why EasySize asks about something that everyone knows and can easily add – the size of any piece of clothing they own.
2. No registration – we don’t want to own online shops customers. That is why we don’t ask online shoppers to create any kind of account at EasySize.
3. Easy to integrate. EasySize can be integrated to any online shops in less than an hour – no size chart, clothes measurements are required.
4. White label solution. Our main goal is to help online shops. We keep the usual user experience by customising EasySize for every shop.
5. Our prediction is based not on a static information, for example, body parameters mapped to brands size charts, but on customers shopping behaviour. It allows us to predict the size, which will fit your style and you.
You’re based in Copenhagen, could you describe us how is the Danish Startup scene, who are the main actors (startups, VCs, incubators, …)
The are few advantages of running an IT startup in Denmark.
1. The market is small but really open for new technologies.
2. Denmark is well-connected with other Nordic countries and Europe in general, which makes it easy to travel and have partners all across the Europe. It’s also easy to get the right connections – everyone knows everyone :)
3. There are few technical universities to find employees and talents to join your team. Regarding the main actors, I would definitely recommend to check out www.cphftw.dk, where you can find all the startups and news. And for startups it also might be interesting to join the Startupbootcamp acceleration program.
You raised a 30K$ fundraising and you are currently raising a 150K$ round, what are your next milestones?
Yes, we’re currently closing the special angel round to get smart and dedicated angels with experience in fashion, e-commerce and technology on board. We’re going to close our VC round next year to scale the business to new markets and new e-commerce platforms.
You have a strong entrepreneurial background as a founder, CEO and CMO, when did you feel the need to become an entrepreneur?
Since I read my first marketing book I always knew, that I want to be a marketing specialist or have my own business. I started writing business plans since I was 14 and I took the 3rd place in a All-Russian competition within students when I was 16. I believe, it is extremely important to do something that I’m passionate about and, as an entrepreneur, I can make my dreams come true.
As a startup founder, what wise words could you provide to the wannabe startuppers who are reading this post?
First of all, it’s extremely important to have a right team – people passionate and dedicated enough. Secondly – killing your darlings. It’s difficult to “kill” something you worked on for a long time or fire someone, whom you personally like. But as a founder you always have to be focused and sure that the team spends time right. And finally – own your problems. As a founder you are in charge of everything, which doesn’t mean that you have to do everything by your own. But you need to know what goes on and how to solve the problems.
What could we wish to EasySize for the next year?
To the end of the next year our plans is to have 80 shops integrated with EasySize. We also have few sweet features we’ll be launching next year their customers even better.
I wanted to say a big thank you to Gulnaz who despite her super-busy schedule, has managed to be available for me to write this article.