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From computer vision-driven technologies aimed at cutting down on apparel returns by enabling consumers to utilize advanced sizing tech to artificial intelligence and machine learning-driven software that helps to prevent counterfeiting, piracy, and digital impersonators, companies across the retail segment are introducing new tools that make fashion commerce – and retail more broadly – “more nimble, sustainable, and engaging for shoppers.” At the same time, the striking rise of e-commerce, especially in the wake of the pandemic, and the post-pandemic call for companies to provide consumers with “an exponentially deeper level of engagement [both] online and offline,” per McKinsey, has led to the rise of an array of B2B SaaS solutions-providers that are looking to help transform the retail segment. 

Research published by Google’s Cloud business in November 2020 (and reported by Wired) revealed that retailers were “looking to use AI within ten different areas of their business – from demand prediction to customer loyalty schemes and product personalization.” More recently, McKinsey stated in 2021 that “the operational potential of technology is becoming ever more apparent,” with fashion companies that embed AI into their businesses models now – in order to “enable new logistics and sales-fulfillment options (such as click-and-collect and drive-through), fuel innovative ways of customer acquisition, help predict and manage inventory to create a more resilient supply chain,” etc. – standing to see “a 118 percent cumulative increase in cash flow by 2030.” On the other hand, the consultancy stated that companies that “are slower to invest in digital technology will lag behind, and could see a 23 percent relative decline.” 

Meanwhile, Meticulous Research expects the value of the AI-in-retail market, alone, to reach $19 billion by 2027.

Against this background and in light of enduring efforts to bring new tech to the retail market, we have compiled a tracker of funding and M&A to provide a broad overview of tech-centric investments in fashion and the broader retail space, and shed light on what the trajectory of this segment of the market looks like more broadly.

Apr. 4, 2023 – Zyod Raises $3.5M for Sourcing Tech

Zyod has raised $3.5 million in a seed round led by Lightspeed Venture India Partners and with participation from FJ Labs, Panthera Peak Capital, and angels. The Gurugram-based startup, which offers apparel sourcing and manufacturing services to fashion brands on a global scale via a B2B platform, claims that it “can disrupt the apparel industry by delivering a new product range in a mere 21 days, with a minimum order quantity of just 50 pieces,” per TechCrunch. “This stands in stark contrast to the traditional supply chain’s 180-day lead time and 2,000-piece minimum order.” The retail-focused company plans to use the funding to improve its tech and hire more people. By adding more manufacturers and suppliers to introducing new features, the company says that it “will continue to focus on building a larger network of MSMEs in the apparel sourcing and manufacturing segment.”

Mar. 8, 2023 – Elyn Raises €2.5M in Pre-Seed Round

Elyn, a Paris-based startup that enables online merchants to offer consumers a try before they buy option at checkout, has raised €2.5 million ($2.7 million) in a pre-seed round led by Sequoia Arc and Headline, with participation from Motier Ventures (the tech-focused family office of the owners of Galeries Lafayette Group), Financière Saint James, Founders Future’s Marc Menasé, and former Stripe EMEA director Guillaume Princen. “With try-before-you-buy (“TBY”), you only pay for what you decide to keep,” Elyn co-founder and CEO El Mehdi Hachad told TechCRunch. “We are also helping retailers with their returns so that return requests are turned into exchanges directly in the return interface that we provide.” The company’s founders claim that “every major e-commerce brand will offer a TBYB option in the next 12 months.” 

Feb. 21, 2023 – Fabacus Closes £4.5M Round

Fabacus has raised £4.5M in funding led to accelerate the growth of its data intelligence platform, Xelacore. The round was led by Wealth Club with participation from Tom Singh OBE, Seneca Partners, Inovia, and Mitch Foreman. The London-based provider of a SaaS global licensing platform that connects retail industry license holders, licensees, and end users will use the new funds to accelerate growth and expand its operations and business reach. Founded in 2016, Fabacus claims that existing operating procedures for monitoring licensed IP are “largely siloed,” with license holders “frequently struggling to reconcile royalties” due to a lack of data and lax governance rules.

Feb. 13, 2023 – eBay Acquires 3PM Shield

eBay Inc. has acquired 3PM Shield LLC, a provider of advanced AI-based marketplace compliance solutions. San Jose, California-headquartered eBay said the acquisition will help to enhance its “world-class monitoring solutions with new technologies designed to prevent the sale of counterfeit items, unsafe products and illegal goods.” The marketplace site said in a statement on Feb. 13 that “bringing 3PM Shield to eBay” enables it to bring “advanced marketplace compliance technology in-house … as part of eBay’s ongoing commitment to provide sellers and buyers with a safe and trusted platform enabled by technology.” eBay acquired 3PM Shield LLC, also known as 3PM Solutions, and the deal closed as of February 9, 2023. Further details were not disclosed.

This is a short (and incomplete) excerpt from a data set that is published exclusively for TFL Enterprise subscribers. For access to our up-to-date retail tech investment and M&A tracker, inquire today about how to sign up for an Enterprise subscription.