A lot has happened since Foundry Powered by IFA Paris launched a year ago and it hasn’t been easy for fashion technology founders and entrepreneurs wanting to come and work with our incredible team inside the fashion tech lab. We’ve had industrial strikes immobilizing Paris two weeks after we launched, COVID-19 cancelled all our physical events, lockdown, and some of our founders even faced troubles back in their home countries. However, in true entrepreneurial style, this has not stopped us from progressing.
Cohort 1 of our Startup Program was reprogrammed to be completely digital right at the last minute and saw the early-stage startups journey through workshops and strategy sessions like true warriors. Congrats to BizB, Court Folio, Good Brands, The Retouch, Speetra and Stylé to finishing the 6-month program this month. They powered through over 100 hours of expert-led masterclasses, over 20 hours of 1-2-1 strategy sessions with our program leads, pivoted their concepts several times and have consumed over 500 cups of coffee. Most of their solutions have now launched so be sure to check out them out.
“The only one thing that’s remained the same before and after me joining Foundry is the passion that I had for my idea. Joining Foundry opened up my vision for my business like I could’ve never imagined alone. They pushed me to think beyond what I had and all the opportunities that I hadn’t even considered up to that point. They actually helped me shape my business in a way that now we are not only gaining traction but planning to enter new markets as well!” – Sehrish Raza, Founder of BizB.
Cohort 2, which began in September, are also proving our lab to be a pretty diverse place. 70% of our founders are female and they come from all over the world – 11 to be exact, including Canada, U.S.A., Vietnam, South Africa, U.K., Turkey, Lebanon and all over Europe. We have seen that most teams are averaging on two co-founders with 20% of those being second time founders. This melting pot of cultures, perspectives and voices is what’s making our fashion tech ecosystem truly unique.
Aside from startup activity, we’ve seen some great projects come to life inside the lab. We officially launched TG3D Studio and their 3D fashion design software DC Suite into our undergraduate and postgraduate programs; and Cappasity delivered an immersive digital AR experience with the graduate collections from our final year Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology students. It’s not stopping there as we’re about to launch our first batch of students into the MBA Fashion Technology program in January 2021 and watch this space for new announcements on exciting projects with some of the fashion industry’s biggest brands coming soon.
So, what have we learnt this past year? First and foremost, that the entrepreneurs creating fashion tech startups are pretty resilient. Secondly, spaces to nurture ideas at the intersection of fashion, technology and innovation are needed to support projects that otherwise may not be seen, progress or even start at all. Today, there are still not many programs around the world dedicated to this sector and we hope that changes so that more cross-border collaborations can happen to pioneer fashion tech! As we go into our second year, we can’t wait to welcome even more fashion tech enthusiasts through our doors.
Sending lots of positive energy,
Foundry Powered by IFA Paris team