Tech start-up Body Labs raised $8 million in Series A funding.
Intel Capital led the Series A round, with participation from some existing investors such as FirstMark Capital. The firm raised $2.2 million in seed funding in November, bringing the total raise to $10.2 million.
Body Labs creates 3-D models of the human body from individual body scans to create a unique and personalized pattern that can be used for the manufacturer of custom-fit products. The new funding will help the firm expand its platform to customize fit in the design and manufacture of apparel. The platform scans one’s body and creates an avatar, which could be used in areas beyond apparel.
Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and executive vice president of Intel Corp., said, “Body Labs expands Intel’s goals of helping computers recognize objects and perceive scenes much the way humans do, with Intel technology as the backbone.” Sodhani added that the immediate application for “Body Labs technology is immersive online shopping, with exciting new applications and usages coming soon.”
Amish Jani, managing director at FirstMark Capital, said his VC firm invested in Body Labs because it sees a “profound shift from the 2-D to the 3-D world [and] Body Labs is where the world is headed in the digital environment.”
Jani noted new hardware capabilities, such as 3-D scanning on smartphones and how “building cameras into smartphones enabled Instagram to take off.” He said that the scanning capabilities that are native to mobile devices are benefiting Body Labs. “Body Labs can take a rich 3-D scan and have it become your unique body fingerprint….That one digital representation can be used across lots of different platforms,” he said.
In the apparel sector, one’s unique shape ID can help with fit technology and curtail the number of returns, Jani said of the concept. He further explained how the platform allows one to digitally see how the body can move in certain fabrics or when wearing specific garments. Taking the avatar idea beyond fit and apparel, Jani said the avatar can be placed in a digital gaming environment, or possibly used as a physical body map, using movement such as how one walks and extrapolating a predisposition to certain health-related biomechanical issues.
Bill O’Farrell, cofounder and chief executive officer, said, “In the last six months, scanning technology has changed. It used to require large scanning booths. Many companies, Intel mostly, have put scanning chips onto inexpensive consumer devices such as laptops and smartphones. This is the moment when scanning technology, body-modeling technology, apparel design and retail are all beginning to coalesce. We are creating body models that add meaning to that scan, enabling apparel and retail companies to match apparel — through visualization — to what fits the customers better.”
Citing client confidentiality, O’Farrell said the firm is working with 8 apparel firms, some of which have a retail presence in directly operated stores.
The platform has three “solutions” components. BodyHub is the cloud-based platform to process, store and access the body models. BodyKit contains embeddable components to build apps and tools surrounding the human body. BodySnap leverages Microsoft Kinect and BodySnap to create 3-D body models from anywhere.