Picture a conveyor belt dotted with the latest Yeezy’s or the covetable Travis Scott Nike Air Jordan 1’s, or whatever is top of the sneakerhead’s “cop list.” Now, picture human authenticators working in tandem with what’s essentially large wooden “lightboxes” to artfully authenticate each with up to 99.1 percent accuracy.
While that reality is a little further off today, it’s what Vidyuth Srinivasan, chief executive officer and cofounder of Entrupy, envisions on the industry’s roadmap for luxury authentication. Already the company’s AI-based solution has come a long way since its beginnings being incubated in NYU before moving out in 2015. Last September, Entrupy joined LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s third edition of La Maison des Startups, held in Paris.
Last year, Entrupy’s solution helped its partners seize over $170 million in counterfeit luxury goods and has been no doubt flirting with new business in the luxury space, recently partnering with business-to-business resale platform Yerdle and Nordstrom to bring its resale pop-up “See You Tomorrow” to life.
With the advent of online resale marketplaces such as StockX, Fashionphile, The RealReal and others democratizing access to luxury goods, Srinivasan is arguing the case for automation, telling WWD, “There’s not enough expertise to go around.”
It’s why the minimalistic boxes are designed for easy scalability, outfitted with a handful of iPods in the interior to capture as many as 12,000 data points with just eight images. “The idea was to make it so simple that any business can scale that expertise,” said Srinivasan.
Speed and accuracy in authentication are necessary to stay relevant within the drop cadence model that fuels the sneaker world. Because of limited releases, scarcity heightens demand — making payoff high for skilled counterfeiters. Entrupy traced counterfeiters back to their root manufacturers after combing sneaker forums, in order to instruct its authentication technology.
The business is lucrative. In 2016, footwear accounted for 22 percent of the total value of counterfeit goods seized by customs, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
With a priority to the most popular designs, Entrupy can get up to speed, authenticating a new model anywhere between one to 10 days after a sneaker drop. Its Legit Check Tech solution is capable of instantly verifying the authenticity of the most purchased series of styles. Although it’s currently limited to brands such as Adidas and Nike, the solution is still estimated to cover about 20 percent of the entire market volume.
Calling for authentication at not just the resale marketplace stage, but at the brand level and at the border, Srinivasan sees it as building a “trust circle,” adding: “We definitely want to be in as many places as we can be.”
And while Srinivasan cannot disclose Entrupy’s partners, as most technology solution providers must maintain anonymity, it is understood that the solution already is employed in many of the aforementioned places.
For More Sustainability News, See: