Miqyas CEO Abdulla Almazroa loves online shopping. “It’s so convenient,” he told an audience last September at an event hosted by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s (KAUST) startup accelerator Taqadam.
“So many options that get delivered right to your doorstep. Although it’s convenient, there’s a problem. The clothes we get just don’t fit. So the return button is clicked. What bothers me even more ... thobes, abayas and custom-made garments, don’t even think about buying those online.”
Custom-made garment stores were unable to take advantage of the fast-growing fashion e-commerce market, he added, while retailers of ready-made clothes were paying the price for free returns.
Miqyas, an app which has a tape measure snuggled in its logo, wants to take the guesswork out of online clothes shopping by giving customers and retailers the tools they need for better sizing. The app’s team benefited from mentorship and funding from the Taqadam program.Almazroa channeled his frustration with online shopping to inspire the startup’s work. “I saw the gap in the thobe market,” he told Arab News. “There is no technology to measure customers and sell thobes online. We have achieved very high accuracy for our products, over 98 percent, which we are very proud of. This also means that our customers are going to have very high-quality products that guarantee them the right sizes.”
Miqyas has two products, both developed in-house.
SizeIt is an add-on for any e-commerce platform that removes the hassle of dealing with size charts. Users answer a few questions and receive a size recommendation that fits them whatever the brand. CustomFit helps people to get their perfect size every time by taking photos of their body.
“The end-user takes two pictures of their body, from the front and the side,” the app’s co-founder Fares Maimani told Arab News. “Then our software utilizes computer vision, machine learning, and big data to get an accurate 3D model of their body. This model is used to generate human body measurements. In the beginning, it was really difficult for us to find a business model that worked best for us, so we would come up with something and then it would fail and we would try again until we figured this model out.” Maimani said that the support from Taqadam had helped to jump-start the business and allowed them to work in the Saudi startup sphere.
The Taqadam accelerator program, which was launched in 2016 in partnership with the Saudi British Bank, has successfully graduated dozens of startups and awarded more than $2 million in funding.
In line with Saudi Arabia’s objectives of supporting new ventures, the program focuses on preparing new entrepreneurs for the challenges ahead, offering over six months of business training and mentorship in various industries, including e-commerce, health care and technology.
It gives Saudi students, staff and recent graduates the support to start a successful tech-based company through mentoring and training.