42 Debut


Retail data startup, 42, launched this week with the backing of Y Combinator. The company came to life during Decoded Fashion Hackathon last year, and headed to Milan as a finalist for our Fashion Pitch competition presented by e-Pitti. 42 went on to debut at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, being then accepted at the prestigious accelerator program Y Combinator.

The company turns raw point-of-sale data into actionable insights that help businesses boost sales. The idea that ignited the company came from co-Founder Cathy Han, formerly of Procter & Gamble. As she told Techcrunch while working with larger retailers to help them better analyze data, she realized that a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses lacked a suite of online tools to leverage customer and sales data.

“One of the things we’ve been focused on is our data infrastructure – to design it to handle retailers with a growing quantity of data, and to have an API that will allow it to handle any type of query,” said Han.

Today, 42 works with its customers to configure custom reporting for their businesses, these custom reports can be automatically sent out via email to store managers in all locations on a regular basis.

Our last Startup Showcase with Glamour Magazine presented at Condé Nast was packed with interesting demos and valuable tips for startup founders on how to approach a top publication for a possible partnership.The evening’s keynote speaker was Mike Hofman, Executive Digital Director at Glamour Magazine, who shared a few tips for founders on how to pitch to the publication.

Hofman, a former INC magazine writer who covered startups, said that he frequently meets with founders pitching him a new idea. Decoded Fashion founder Liz Bacelar asked him how he navigates the ocean of pitches, and determines what’s worthwhile.

 Many startups don’t understand their competition, Hofman said. “The person who thinks about having no competition usually doesn’t have the best business idea. When startups have competition…there’s a real business here; it’s are not just an idea.”

Startups must understand that onboarding a solution might take a lot more time than (the founders) expect and too much aggressiveness in the pitch is not really appreciated, he proffered and also suggested that entrepreneurs avoid presenting their ideas close to fashion weeks – February and September – which are the busiest time of the year for the fashion industry.

Mike Hofman

According to Hofman, the most successful companies typically have been the least  reliant on funding.  “As a result of that, they have gotten really good at sales and have modified their original ideas so that they work with what the customers want, as opposed to where they thought the market should be,” he said.

He also shared that Glamour and GQ were the first magazines to launch digital video networks. Glamour, he said, is very focused on social media, including video platforms such as Instagram and Vine.

The evening wasn’t all words and no tech. It was kicked off with demos via Skype with SayDuck, an augmented reality app from London and StyleSaint, a Los Angeles-based social platform that gave a sneak preview of a fashion collection inspired by its users. The platform will be launching this summer.

The chat was also followed with three quick startup presentations:

Shapeways spoke about the evolution of 3D printing for fashion and how on-demand production will change the industry. Carine Carmy, Director of Marketing, also predicted that, within the next two years, the technology will be at the point where it’ll give a new definition to the term ‘printed fabrics.’

Aubrie Pagano, founder of Bow & Drape, walked the audience through the customization tools on her site and revealed that due to personalization, the site’s return rate on items is very low.


Lastly, Lucas Lemanowicz, developer of the recently launched startup 42, demoed a dashboard that allows retailers to customize consumer experience based on past purchases, as well as allowing them to easily identify the items that sell the most, and the customers who spend the most in a store.

The next Decoded Fashion Startup Showcase will be an anniversary celebration for the almost 800-member group and it will take place Wednesday, July 24, at the new GRIND located, appropriately enough,
in the Fashion District. To reserve your spot, visit www.DecodedFashion.com