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Archive for October, 2015

Yael Vizel is a Technion graduate and co-founder of Zeekit Ltd., a fashion startup that removes the hit-and-miss aspect of online clothes shopping by enabling shoppers to “try on” clothing — virtually — before buying. Zeekit won Israel’s Smartup2 competition in 2014, and Yael has been named one of the top three entrepreneurs in Israel.

Yael served in the Israeli Air Force, breaking gender barriers to become the first woman to command the field technology crews and to lead the Telecommunications Officer’s Course. She graduated from the Technion Faculty of Electrical Engineering with honors in 2010, and started her career at Elbit Systems.

We had the chance to sit down and talk to her about her startup.

Can you tell us about Zeekit and how it works?

Speaking at Innovation Exchange, an event in Tel Aviv to tap into Israel’s community of innovators and entrepreneurs.

A user uploads a full-length photo of herself/himself and then proceeds to shop in our online store. Our software scans the web and fashion catalogs to analyze every item of clothing for size, fit and look. You can filter according to product type (i.e. dresses, shoes), price and brands. Once you have selected your items, we use image-processing technology to show you exactly how you will look in the item and what size you would take.

How does Zeekit differ from companies online with similar “try-on” features?

Other solutions do not show how the clothing will actually look on you, but how it will look on a 3D avatar. Our technology gives a more accurate picture. We analyze 80 different points of fit, such as the shoulders, armpits and collar. Once you are in our system, we can reconstruct every item of clothing out there and you can see yourself actually wearing it. We offer recommendations and choose the right size for a specific retailer. You can mix and match, and use our app to ask for the crowd’s help in choosing which dress looks better.

We have been called the Google of Fashion because we map the fashion world in a new way, making it accessible and giving you the valuable experience of seeing yourself wearing all the clothes sold online, without any additional effort from clothing companies.

How did your Technion education help shape your career?

Yael at the 2015 AIPAC Policy Conference

Zeekit’s technology is incredibly complicated. You can never tell what kind of pictures consumers will upload and there are no standards in how clothing is presented in stores. There are so many factors that influence the algorithms. What Technion graduates bring to the table is the methodology or spirit of taking a very big problem, breaking it into small building blocks, delving into every building block to create a solution for each one, and then zooming out and combining those solutions to make this huge system work as a whole. Many of our employees are Technion graduates.

Also, my favorite course at the Technion was image processing. So when I worked at Elbit, I took a few algorithms from my project at the Technion and applied them to my work designing microprocessors for computers of airplane cockpits. With Zeekit, I thought I’d take more or less the same math from the image processing algorithms and apply them to the e-commerce world.

Do you ever envision using these solutions for a greater good?

Image processing can push civilization forward in so many areas. We didn’t plan to be in fashion, but found an untapped niche in the marketplace. I had always intended to study biomedical engineering, and take my skills to the medical world. So in our next company, we hope to use our algorithms for human body recognition but focus them on medical analysis. I have so many ideas where we can use this technology to help civilization take a few steps forward.

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