Lyst, an innovative search engine for online fashion, has announced on Monday the launch of a French version of its platform. Based in London and created by Cambridge University graduate Chris Morton, Lyst is an innovative social curation platform for online fashion that’s currently being used by more than 70 million consumers in over 120 countries around the world.
While Lyst’s expansion to Asia and other parts of Europe has long been expected, the announcement on Monday of the launch of a French version of the platform remains a big move for the UK company. “Lyst currently offers the most complete catalogue of ready-to-wear items and luxury accessories with more than 5 million products from 5,800 brands and boutiques, including Monnier Frères, Galeries Lafayette, Gucci, Vanessa Bruno, Acne Studio, Christian Louboutin, Maison Margiela and Moncler,” a statement by the company read. Lyst currently generates 60 percent of its sales in the United States.
Founder of Lyst, Chris Morton, spent several years as an investor at Balderton Capital and Benchmark Capital, a US venture capital firm responsible for seed funding for many successful startups such as Dropbox, Uber and Twitter. Morton was also responsible for the business development of the Energy & Materials division of Qinetiq, one of the leading European R & D organisations.
Last May, LVMH announced that they would be helping to finance the UK company. Though the amount funded was not disclosed, market sources estimated that it was likely between 50 million pounds (66.5 million US dollars) and 100 million pounds (133 million US dollars). Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, had already invested in the platform in 2015 through his family holding company. The company expects a significant 45 percent increase in its turnover from 2017 to an estimated 230 million pounds in 2018.
So what is the principle difference that sets Lyst apart from traditional search engines such as Google? : “Beyond product search performance, Lyst stands out from its competitors by producing proprietary data, as well as offering a wealth of data on the global fashion market that is an invaluable source of information for advertisers and partners.” Ian Rogers, Chief Digital Officer of LVMH – who joined Lyst’s Board of Directors – explains: “In LVMH’s Houses, ecommerce is growing and represents a turnover of several billion euros. We invest in many areas of luxury online. With its vision of accessible fashion just waiting to be explored and its exceptional growth potential, Lyst represents a unique opportunity for our company.”
The funding that LVMH offered aims to support the permanent deployment of Lyst in new international markets and to fuel the growth of the company, driven by its New York and London teams. The scientific team will continue to study machine learning, artificial vision and artificial intelligence, in order to improve the search and personalisation algorithms of the platform. “The fashion industry is changing,” says Chris Morton. “Thanks to the digital evolution, Lyst has been able to monitor the habits of fashion users – we are today among the main suppliers of new customers for our partners around the world. To date, our success is based on the combination of cutting-edge technology and expertise in fashion.”
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