Buying clothing online has always been a hit-and-miss proposition. How will it fit? Will such a bold pattern overwhelm my frame? Technion alumna Yael Vizel ’10 came up with a solution — a virtual fitting room — that removes the guesswork. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, was so impressed, it is buying Vizel’s startup.
Customers upload photos of themselves on their Zeekit app or choose a model approximating their look in height, shape, and skin tone. Through real-time computer vision and image processing, the technology shows customers how the clothing fits and looks, enabling them to virtually “try it on” before buying. Hmm, still not sure the outfit works? No worries. Shoppers can enlist a friend’s opinion by sharing the virtual outfit through the app. Customers have access to national brands such as Free People, Champion, Levi Strauss, and Bonobos, as well as Walmart’s private labels.
Walmart announced the acquisition in May 2021. “Virtual try-on is a game-changer and solves what has historically been one of the most difficult things to replicate online: understanding fit and how an item will actually look on you,” said Denise Incandela, Walmart U.S. executive vice president of apparel and private brands. “Zeekit will help us deliver an inclusive, immersive, and personalized experience for our diverse customer base.”
In 2014, Vizel co-founded Zeekit (Hebrew for chameleon) with fellow Technion alum Nir Appleboim ’09, vice president of R&D, and CTO Alon Kristal. The following year, Zeekit was one of three startups to win Israel’s Smartup2competition, hosted by the financial daily Globes and Bank Hapoalim.
During Vizel’s time at the Technion, she was one of just seven women studying electrical engineering. She graduated with honors and earned many awards, including being named a finalist in the popular BizTEC entrepreneurial challenge. Speaking about her Technion studies she has said: “What Technion graduates bring to the table is the methodology or spirit of taking a very big problem, breaking it into small building blocks, delving into every building block to create a solution for each one, and then zooming out and combining those solutions to make this huge system work as a whole.” Many Zeekit employees are Technion graduates.