4 years ago I invited 5 friends to join a new Meetup Group called Fash&Tech. 35 people showed up to our first event in May 2013. I was blown away thinking that in such a small country, like Israel, a small niche like fashion technology would attract so many people, yet it did.
Fast forward 4 years later, our Meetup Group in Tel Aviv now has over 1,100 members, and our sister Meetup Group in New York already has almost 300 members. Our Facebook community is thriving with almost 1200 members who are engaging daily in conversations about trends in the fashion tech industry, job opportunities, and success stories.
Today, I am thrilled to announce the launch of the Fash&Tech Innovation Center – an umbrella organization for everything related to fashion and retail innovation in Israel.
I am joined with Alla Foht and together we are aiming to become the One Stop Shop for fashion tech startups looking to grow and scale, and for brands and investors looking to collaborate and invest in these startups.
One of the key highlights from our recent activity, is a delegation of executives from ASOS.com that we hosted in Israel. The delegation included 6 executives from both technology and creative sides, and was led by ASOS’s CIO Cliff Cohen and Creative Brand Director, John Mooney.
During their visit the executives met with 15 companies in Tel-Aviv, learned about the fashion tech and entrepreneurship scene in Israel and also made sure to indulge in some Shawarma. Following these meetings, many of the startups are currently moving forward to pilot stages. We learned a lot from this experience, and I will be sharing my key take-aways on the next blog post.
Fash&Tech Bootcamp with Eilat Hub
Another exciting event, was the launch of the first batch of our Fash&Tech Bootcamp. We joined forces with Eilat Hub, led by Or Haviv, and together we developed a one of a kind program, dedicated specifically for early stage fashion tech startups.
We were overwhelmed by the amount of applications from Israel as well as Italy, France, UK, and US. Eventually, we chose 6 companies to take part in the program, and 5 companies made it all the way to the finish line, and presented to a room full of investors and industry leaders in Israel’s southeast city – Eilat.
During the program’s 5 days, the teams had the opportunity to meet with 15 mentors, who gave them insights, feedback and guidance in their fields of expertise: fashion, technology, marketing, finance, business and product. Our mentors, some coming from companies such as Browzwear, Cyberint, ASOS.com, Azrieli E-commerce and The Guild (fashion design school) all volunteered their time, energy and knowledge. In which we are very grateful for their contribution.
“Fash&Tech Bootcamp helped us focus and get ready for the next phase. We earned a significant value including progress in our startup process and connections with investors and potential customers” said Adi Ronen, CEO and Co-Founder of Co-Commerce, who took the 1st place at the demo event.
What’s Next – The Journey Continues
As I am writing these lines, I am beginning my travels in Berlin to speak in a panel about investments in fashion tech startups. Next week, I will visit NYC where I will be meeting with fashion brands, retailers, investors, and industry leaders. I am hoping to bring some of these people to Israel to meet our amazing startups. But for now, we are focusing on 2 main initiatives:
The Fash&Tech Hub
This is super exciting, and I am thrilled to give you an insight into a special secret that Alla and I have been keeping for a while now. We are tapping into the future of co-working spaces and launching the first fashion and retail oriented co-working space in Tel-Aviv – a one of a kind space. Here, any company, entrepreneur, designer, or investor who is working to innovate the way fashion is produced, sold, or consumed across channels would find a supporting community, a uniquely designed working environment, and an infrastructure of services to help them thrive.
If you are looking for a new space for your team or for yourself, contact us here for more information.
During the past 4 years since we opened the Fash&Tech group, we have always collaborated with the DLD Festival happening in Tel-Aviv in September. This year we are going bigger and launching the first annual international event focusing on fashion tech in Tel-Aviv. This is a full day event, integrating keynotes and panel discussions together with interactive experiences such as a fashion technology runway show and a technology powered pop up store.
Tickets for the event are already available here, and you can use the code Fash&Tech30 to get 30% off – in addition to the early bird price (until July 15).
How Can You Get Involved?
If you made it this far reading this post, then I assume that you are taking an interest in what we do. Whether you are an entrepreneur or you work in the tech or fashion industries, we want you on board. If you have ideas for how we can work together, or if you just want to say hi – you can reach out to us here. Join one of our events via our meetup group so that we can meet you in person (if we haven’t already met) and join the conversation on our Facebook community to keep up with news and opportunities.