AI-based PSYKHE Recommendation Platform Raises $1.7 Mn Seed Round

Fashion recommendation and personalization platform PSYKHE today announced it has raised $1.7 million in seed funding. PSYKHE is the first company to use AI and psychology for personalization in e-commerce. The platform’s algorithm is powered by both machine learning and personality-trait science to tailor product recommendations to users based on their unique personality traits, which are captured through a psychological test that users take when signing up. The company has already secured partnerships with leading retailers that include Moda Operandi, Mytheresa, LuisaViaRoma, 24S and 11 Honoré. PSYKHE is launching in the fashion e-commerce space and has plans to scale its technology to other consumer verticals.

PSYKHE was founded by Anabel Maldonado, a fashion journalist and editorial consultant with a background in neuropsychology. “Clothes have qualities that we seek out for psychological pay-off and that we connect with based on who we are,” said Maldonado. “It’s why one outfit makes us feel electric and why another feels wrong, why we wear certain pieces over and over again, and others just sit in our closet. The real pain point is our current struggle to drown out the noise and understand what aesthetic is truly in alignment with us, which is the problem we will solve through personalizing by personality.”

PSYKHE secured a total of $1.7 million in seed funding led by SLS Journey, the new investment arm of MadaLuxe Group, North America’s leading distributor of luxury fashion. Focusing on high-potential emerging companies at the intersection of wellness, beauty, fashion and technology, SLS Journey, with headquarters in Los Angeles and New York, is led by Sandy Sholl, the co-founder and current Chairman of MadaLuxe Group.

Other investors include founding investor Carmen Busquets, the largest co-founding investor in Net-a-Porter, an early investor in Lyst and Moda Operandi, a strategic investor in Farfetch, and a co-investor with funds that include Felix Capital, Susa Ventures, Imaginary and Kindred; John Skipper, DAZN Chairman and former Co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and President of ESPN; and Lara Vanjak. Joining PSYKHE’s advisory board is Zsofia Jamieson, an industry veteran most recently of The Net-a-Porter Group and Imaginary Ventures.

Sholl commented, “As experts serving the luxury market, we’ve been looking for a way to scale the specialist knowledge owned by personal shoppers, those who can curate for their clients because they know them personally. By establishing personality through a proven scientific method underpinned by proprietary artificial intelligence, the PSYKHE team is building the brain of the ultimate stylist. Anabel is an extraordinary founder with an exceptional vision and the ability to execute not only the product, but a cultural movement.”

The PSYKHE platform uses the Big 5 model (openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism), the most respected personality-trait framework within psychology, which has known correlations with behavior and style preferences. The results enable each user to receive a completely personalized feed of products from brands and retailers and organically connects brands with their natural consumer.

PSYKHE’s novel AI-led features allow users to “shop by mood,” a first in e-commerce, and to “tune” their feed, zapping away styles they don’t like. The platform lets users upload a picture and displays their name, giving PSYKHE users a sense of ownership through a social-media feel. Shoppers can use filters such as Black Designers, Sustainable Credentials, Social Impact and Size-Inclusive, all returned in a personalized order. Adapting for COVID-19, PSYKHE has included athleisure, loungewear and select homeware categories as well.

The PSYKHE founding team has spent a year training its AI models to assess surface attributes to assign a psychological profile to over 1 million products from its commerce partners, without the need for human input. The added layer of personality psychology, understanding why each consumer responds to certain aesthetic details, renders PSYKHE’s algorithm more powerful than other offerings. Unlike other applications that look for context-poor patterns from purchase history, PSYKHE uses personality data to cultivate the largest and most sophisticated taxonomy in fashion. The company has patents pending internationally to protect its technology.

Busquets said, “I’ve long been aware of the connections between mood, personality and fashion, and was excited to see how Anabel and PSYKHE are using AI, data science and psychology to disrupt the personalization space. As my focus remains on creating sustainability within the industry, the level of recommendation and science-backed reassurance the customer receives is the perfect antidote to the mindless overconsumption that plagues the industry.”

The platform is now live in beta phase by referral only, although users can request early access through the waitlist, which is approaching 10,000. PSYKHE launches fully to the public this fall.

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