BY LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
The startup, founded in Los Angeles, works with apparel retailers to help shoppers understand what size they are so they can order the right size clothes online, said Daina Linton, CEO and co-founder.
Linton, a former PhD candidate at UCLA, came up with idea for the company following a Lean Startup weekend. She continued to work on it at AngelHack. Then she landed angel investment from Mark Cuban. Her husband Morgan Linton, an engineer and sales expert, is also a co-founder.
They’ve been working to solve a common problem people encounter when ordering clothes online – they don’t know what size will fit them. Fashion Metric created data-driven software that solves that problem.
“We’ve built software that acts as a virtual tailor,” Daina Linton said.
Fashion Metric asks shoppers a few questions such as height, weight, size in name-brand shirts and then uses a proprietary algorithm to create custom clothes or to find the right size in off-the-shelf clothes.
Daina Linton comes from a long-line of master tailors, but her experience is in data mining. She did research at MIT and started her PhD at UCLA in informatics. She received a Master’s degree in molecular and medical pharmacology and bachelors degree in engineering from UCLA.
Morgan Linton received a bachelors and masters in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He got hired as a very early employee at Sonos. But instead of engineering, he went into sales and helped them build their U.S. and international business for 10 years.
Fashion Metric spent the past three months at Techstars in Austin. They are one of the 11 startups pitching Wednesday afternoon at Techstars Demo Day at the Austin Music Hall. Fashion Metric might move permanently to Austin, Morgan Linton said. They’ve extended their lease and they are staying through the fall, he said.
“We’ve really fallen in love with Austin,” Morgan Linton said. “We’re seriously considering moving our company to Austin. For a lot of the reasons everyone is seeing. We see ourselves as a company that is really pulling the fashion industry through the keyhole.”
The last innovation in the apparel industry was a long time ago, he said.
The U.S. Army invented the standard sizes of small, medium and large during the American Revolutionary War so that it could easily outfit soldiers, Morgan Linton said. Those sizes vary widely between brands and it makes purchasing clothes online difficult, he said.
“We see ourselves making the next innovation in the apparel industry,” Morgan Linton said. “We see Austin as being focused on innovation more than any city in the world right now.”
“One thing we’ve noticed in comparison to Los Angeles is the companies that are here are interested in helping out other companies,” he said. “It’s about being part of an ecosystem.”
Fashion Metric, which started focusing on men’s shirts and men’s wear, is expanding into women’s wear.
Today, only 14 percent of people buy clothes online, Morgan Linton said.
“It’s an industry that hasn’t been disrupted by the Internet yet,” he said. “People don’t buy clothes online because people don’t know how something is going to fit.”
Companies like Zappos allow people to buy several different sizes and return what doesn’t fit, he said. But that means a really high return rate. The return rate online is 28 percent, he said.
“The standard sizing system for the ready to wear business has not translated well online,” Daina Linton said.
Fashion Metric’s data driven system understands fit preference as well as size, she said.
Right now, people can take their body measurements three different ways: using a physical body scanner in a store, take a picture with a cell phone or provide measurement statistics, Morgan Linton said.
Fashion Metric also provides data on customers to brands so they can augment their sizing to better fit their customers needs. Fashion Metric’s questionnaire is simple to fill out and provides accurate results, he said.
“We have a massive pipeline of clients that want to use our technology and we’re letting them in as fast as we can with our small team,” Morgan Linton said. “We’re getting incredible introductions from the community to brands that want to use our technology.”