Amsterdam fashion-tech startup Lalaland has raised €2.1 million in a new pre-series A funding round led by Orange Wings, Unknown Group and angel investors. Lalaland enables fashion brands and retailers to create hyper-realistic models using artificial intelligence, in every imaginable size, shape and skin color. With these body-inclusive avatars, the company aims to create a more inclusive, personal and sustainable shopping experience for fashion brands, retailers and customers.
The world of fashion e-commerce turns $408 billion (about $380 billion) in annual revenue and is constantly growing. Of that, 7.5% is spent on photography, production and modeling for product pages. Founded by Michael Musandu and Ugnius Rimša in 2019, Lalaland capitalizes on this market with a cost-efficient tool that generates fictitious models, replacing time-consuming and expensive photo shoots. Their self-service platform makes it possible to recreate the result of high-quality photo shoots with the greatest of ease. In addition, the generated models can be adapted to customer profiles and specific body types, enabling hyper-personalization. This drives sales, lowers return rates and costs, increases conversion, reduces waste and contributes to a more inclusive shopping and branding experience.
Wings to fly: investing in an inclusive and sustainable fashion industry
In their latest pre-series A funding round, Lalaland has raised a total of €2.1 million to facilitate their next phase of growth. The investment comes from Orange Wings, Unknown Group and angel investors, including former Nike General Manager Bart de Wilde, Googles Amhard Ford and Thorsten Koch and Christina Caljé of Autheos. Lalaland will use the amount for further commercial expansion and attracting diverse talent. “Our product addresses the issues of consumers who feel underrepresented in the areas of ethnicity, gender identity and body representation. That’s why we want to work with people who recognize themselves in these issues, to make positive change in co-creation.” says founder and CEO Michael Musandu.
Shawn Harris, founder and CEO of Orange Wings, was immediately inspired when she saw Lalaland’s pitch as Dragon at Viaplay’s Dragons’ Den: “This is an unprecedented opportunity to help retailers and brands make a positive impact in the fashion industry. industry, and to reduce returns and therefore waste”. Angel investor Bart de Wilde also underlines the urgency of Lalaland’s mission: “I have seen this problem up close in the sports world and with shoe and clothing brands, so I cannot emphasize the necessity and the added value of this hard enough”. CEO of Unknown Hendrik Halbe also echoes the company’s mission statement, adding, “Now is the perfect time for Lalaland to conquer the industry and we are excited to support their international expansion with this investment”.
Lalaland: where fashion, technology and sustainability intersect
The creation of technology, which fosters inclusivity in digital fashion, is at the heart of Lalaland’s DNA. Their business philosophy is based on two pillars: social empowerment and sustainable impact. They have already welcomed some of the biggest retailers such as Zalando, Wehkamp and Otto. In addition, Lalaland has won several awards, including the Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge. The company was also chosen by the Chamber of Commerce as one of the most innovative companies of 2021 and received an investment of $320,000 (about €298,000) from Google’s Black Founders Fund.