The saying we all want what we can’t have may be outdated now that Sarafan Tech is around. This AI engine recognizes clothes, shoes, and beauty items from photos and videos. In less than 1.5 milliseconds, users can find exactly where to buy items from any content posted by their favorite media site, blog, or influencer- so long as the Sarafan widget is installed on the sources page. This provides a completely non-invasive way for brands to advertise their products, by being seamlessly “built-in” to the website of any content creator.
AlleyWatch spoke with marketing manager Nadya Kosnyreva to discuss Sarafan’s impact on fashion and how applying sophisticated technology will enhance consumers overall experience.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Our lead investor is Admitad Invest. The Untitled Ventures and Sergey Dashkov participated in the funding round repeatedly. Sarafan Tech raised Series A round of venture funding.
Tell us about the product or service that Sarafan Tech offers.
Sarafan AI is an Artificial Intelligence engine that recognizes clothes, shoes, and beauty-items in photos and video and selects counterparts in webstores. Our partners are media sites, blogs, fashion and lifestyle websites, bloggers. Partners install a Sarafan widget on their site. It shows similar clothes to one in the photo or video. There is only one thing to do for the website visitors – to click on the look they like and go directly to the webstore’s page.
What inspired the start of Sarafan Tech?
On the basis of the artificial intelligence technologies our founder Andrey Korkhov studied at the university, Andrey decided to focus on the technology of computer vision. The idea of clothes recognition in photographs came across his mind by accident: Andrew analyzed the market and realized that this field is still free, there were companies that developed tools for the recognition and selection of items on the photo, but technologies that were highly specialized on fashion sphere were not elaborated yet. While at the same time people are always interested in where you can buy this or that thing, how to dress like a celebrity or a blogger. It is difficult to find similar models, but thanks to Sarafan.AI users can find and buy desired look in 1.5 milliseconds.
How is Sarafan Tech different?
Our main difference is the unique business model. We offer innovative advertising tool for media on the base of Artificial Intelligence. Sarafan is a completely new format of promotion on the Internet. With the Sarafan widget, readers perceive advertisements as a part of the website, as a native and useful content. Using Sarafan, brands obtain high-quality target channel and receive buyers willing to make a clear purchase. For media — Sarafan is an added way of monetization. It is able to monetize photo content on the CPC, CPA and CPM models.
What market does Sarafan Tech target and how big is it?
We target the fashion market. Value of the global fashion industry: $3T.
What’s your business model?
Sarafan installs the widget on a website, users navigate to an online store’s brand product page and online stores pay the cost of every unique transition\purchase commission\showing to the sites and commission fee to Sarafan.
How much computing power is needed for one to implement this on their site?
Set-up of a widget is a quick and easy process that won’t take long. Media receives a code-script and embeds it into a website. All the recognition processes are conducted on the side of Sarafan.
An obtaining investment was a very long process for us. Many startup people think that the period from striking a deal until receiving funds is a one-day job. In fact, you have to wait a very long time. All the large financial transactions consume time. The term from agreement until receiving investments could be extended to 6 months.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
You have to be prepared for the fact that an obtaining investments process squeeze out all your energy and power. You may not have the time to decide some operational questions. Of course, the discussion processes cannot continue all day long, but only a few hours of negotiations can squeeze you out.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We understand which are the targets of our investors. We don`t manipulate them or make some influence, we are sincerely trying to respond to their needs.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
At present time we are focused on teaching our technology to recognize beauty items in photos and to do video recognition. Also, we want to increase the CPM opportunities for our clients and elaborate programmatic buying functions.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
You just have to admit that the motives and goals of the investor are primary, and your project is secondary. Transactions are concluded only when you as an entrepreneur find an option in which, thanks to your business project, the investor realizes his goals.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our main plan is a very ambitious: Sarafan Advertising has to be on every website with the fashion or lifestyle photos and videos all around the world.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
My favorite restaurants are The Sunday in Brooklyn and La Pecora Bianca