Accelerators / Arts / Startups

This Brooklyn startup is bringing computer vision to fashion

Dressometry is finishing up a stint at the Friends of eBay accelerator in Flatiron.

Dressometry's front page. (Screenshot)

After getting his master’s in financial math at the University of Chicago, Kurt Kimmerling spent more than ten years as a data scientist in the financial services sector.
Then he ventured into the fashion industry.
But first, the 36-year-old Fort Greene-based founder taught himself to code.
“I picked up a book that happened to be on PHP and MySQL,” Kimmerling said over the phone. “Basically, I read it from cover to cover and then started coding the project I wanted to code.”
That first project was a movie recommendation app for couples. “It’s really random, but the financial math for modeling interest rate yield curves is the exact math that Netflix uses to give movie recommendations,” he said. He designed the app because he and his wife could never decide on a movie to watch together.
Although the app no longer exists, it did open up the ability for Kimmerling to transition into Dressometry, which he believes is a better business model. eBay seems to think so too: the tech giant chose Dressometry for its Friends of eBay accelerator, which offers free space and services in Flatiron in exchange for no equity.

Dressometry started out as an affiliate shopping site, like Lyst or ShopStyle, but quickly became a B2B service, using the company’s computer vision technology to analyze products for big brands. Dressometry’s technology aims to help retailers improve the company’s online shopping experience, forecast trends and make outfit recommendations for customers. (The technology reminds us of Philly venture-backed company Curalate, which uses computer vision to help brands with marketing.)
“We got really good with computer vision and extracting product data from images,” said Kimmerling, who built most of the technology for Dressometry.
Over time, their team of two expanded into four with a worldwide network of contractors who act as the human check on the company’s machine learning technology. “Now we have a great data scientist who does all of our development work,” he said. “That frees up my time for all the things I’m supposed to be doing as CEO.”
Dressometry, which has raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding, has plans to double the size of their team, particularly developers, as all of their tech development is done in house. It’s currently hiring software engineers, both junior and senior.
Though Dressometry has been based in Manhattan during the eBay accelerator, it plans on returning to Dumbo’s WeWork at the end of the month when the program ends. Kimmerling likes the community and environment of coworking spaces.
“Startups are very hard,” he says. “It is especially hard when you have a really small team. So, it’s great to be surrounded by other like minded people who are going through similar problems and challenges.”
With that said, though, Kimmerling admits that being in Manhattan has been beneficial, particularly for a fashion tech startup such as Dressometry. This is because of proximity, which allows them to be in front of their clients within a five to ten minute walk. However, Kimmlering has no plans on moving his business to Manhattan after the accelerator.

Kimmerling said Dressometry has a couple of paying customers so far. The company is also still making some money off its affiliate commissions from its initial consumer site, which Kimmerling said garnered 10,000 monthly users.
When asked what he thinks is lacking for both the fashion and tech industries to merge seamlessly, Kimmerling relates his own experience. “For us, it was a matter of being driven by customer problem,” he said.
Kimmerling also landed Megan Meagher, an industry veteran, as his business development and strategy lead. Meagher, who has a background in fashion data, was a sales exec at Manhattan trend forecasting company StyleSight, which merged with London-based competitor WGSN in 2013.
“With my tech background, the two of us together have been able to figure out truly what the problems are and how to solve them,” Kimmerling said.
As for those of you who are interested in learning how to code, Kimmerling encourages you to do so. He’s quick to highlight how supportive the developer community is.
“You would never see that type of environment in fashion or finance,” he said. “It doesn’t exist.”

Series: Brooklyn

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