AI startup Daydream raises $50M to transform e-commerce

    AI-powered e-comm startup Daydream raises $50 million in funding. Plus, AR-platform Wanna launches a new jewelry VTO tool, and 9dcc unveils new NFC-connected headwear.
    Image: Getty Images

    There’s a new kid on the Gen AI block. Daydream, a startup that aims to streamline the online shopping experience via machine learning, has raised $50 million in funding. Set to launch this fall, the company hopes to put an end to the tiresome search for products.

    As Web3 matures, industry leaders are approaching the space in two ways: some, like Farfetch, are establishing their own incubator programs to ride Web3’s next wave, while others, such as Estée Lauders NIV, are financially supporting startups via seed funding rounds and fundraisers. Both routes signal a promising future for emerging tech and reflect fashion’s shifting mindset towards the virtual sphere.

    In other news this week, Farfetch-backed AR platform Wanna is leveraging its virtual try-on capabilities for fine jewelry.

    Customers can input prompts to Daydream, which uses generative AI to pull up product options from its brand catalog. Image: Daydream
    Customers can input prompts to Daydream, which uses generative AI to pull up product options from its brand catalog. Image: Daydream

    AI-powered startup Daydream raises $50 million in funding#

    What happened: Julie Bornstein, an e-commerce veteran and co-founder of Pinterest-acquired fashion platform The Yes, has raised $50 million for her new AI-powered startup, The Daydream. Co-founded by a group of former Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Farfetch executives, the startup’s round was co-led by Forerunner Ventures and Index Ventures, with participation from Google Ventures and True Ventures. 

    Daydream is a fashion search and discovery platform that aims to solve the e-commerce search conundrum via generative AI. Customers can input prompts regarding the specific outfits they are searching for, and Daydream will generate multiple options from a catalog of brands that it deems acceptable. The platform will launch in beta this fall.

    The verdict: While Google’s AI shopping tool sifts through countless fashion pieces on the internet, Daydream only pulls products from 2,000 participating brands, including Net-a-Porter, Alo Yoga, Altuzarra, Jimmy Choo, and Dôen. The idea, Bornstein told the press, is for Daydream to successfully simplify the fashion search experience, as opposed to harnessing machine learning just for the sake of it.

    AI in e-commerce remains a relatively nascent concept. However, more and more retailers are beginning to incorporate the technology into their online shopping roadmaps. Last week, Michael Kors introduced a new AI-powered chatbot to its US site to aid customers with sizing and styling queries. Meta’s new smart glasses also feature a personal shopper that gives wearers advice on products, while Apple’s Vision Pro headset employs VR, AR, and AI.

    Wanna’s new Enhanced Gems tool aims to significantly improve the try-on experience of fine jewelry. Image: Wanna
    Wanna’s new Enhanced Gems tool aims to significantly improve the try-on experience of fine jewelry. Image: Wanna

    AR platform Wanna introduces new VTO tool for jewelry#

    What happened: Farfetch-backed AR platform Wanna has launched a new tool designed to help customers accurately try on jewelry. Coined Enhanced Gems, the virtual try-on (VTO) 3D tool enables consumers to envision exactly how diamonds and colored gems would look IRL via mobile.

    The verdict: When it comes to AR-powered jewelry try-on services, the technology has struggled to replicate the look and feel of certain pieces. For example, differences in lighting, shading, and reflections can cause a mismatch between the virtual try-on and the actual product, leading to customer dissatisfaction.

    While digital jewelry designers like Xtended Identity have built their businesses on surrealism and fantasy, e-commerce-centric platforms like Wanna face a greater challenge in achieving realism. The platform’s new Enhanced Gems feature aims to advance VTO innovation by accurately capturing the quality and nuances of precious materials.

    Meta Bites#

    • Beverage company Sazerac has partnered with global marketplace BlockBar to auction off several bottles of its Eagle Rare 25 whiskeys. As the oldest expression in Sazerac’s portfolio, this release marks the debut of Warehouse P, one of Buffalo Trace’s two experimental warehouses. Bidding starts at $10,000; winners will also receive an invitation to visit Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. The visit includes a private tour of the distillery and Warehouse P, a VIP tasting, and an overnight stay at Stagg Lodge with dinner prepared by the distillery’s private chef.
    • NFT collector and entrepreneur Gmoney’s lifestyle brand 9dcc has dropped a new collection of bucket hats for its tight-knit community of Web3-fashion enthusiasts. This marks the brand’s debut in bucket hats, featuring an embroidered ‘9’ emblem on the back that utilizes NFC technology. Wearers can tap this emblem to access exclusive digital experiences on the 9dcc platform. As part of the launch, the label has released an AR-powered try-on filter on Instagram.
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