If you’ve ever had trouble finding the right bra size, now a couple of iPhone photos is all you’ll need. ThirdLove, a new clothing brand under parent company MeCommerce, has designed an app to find and buy the perfect bra, simply by taking two pictures of yourself in the mirror with your iPhone. Announcing a $5.6 million seed round today, the company has created its own line of lingerie and a personalized shopping experience that takes less than 15 minutes.
The round was led by NEA and joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, Novel TMT, Yuri Milner, Keith Rabois and others. Co-founders Dave Spector and Heidi Zak tell me the funding will go to building out their supply chain, scaling the product development team and moving to more mobile platforms, including Android.
The ThirdLove team walked me through a demo of exactly how the app works. Luckily, it’s not as awkward as it may sound. The app doesn’t require you to be naked to get the right measurements. You don’t even have to take a direct picture of your chest. All that’s needed is a mirror, a form-fitting shirt and a basic, supportive bra.
When using the app, a Siri-esque voice will guide you through the directions. You start by holding the iPhone to your stomach while facing the mirror. The app will tell you to tilt or move the phone if needed, then tap the screen to take a picture (You get a robotic “Good Job” when you’re done). Then repeat from a side view.
In each picture, you can zoom and drag the iPhone in the image into a dotted blue box. Your phone then becomes a point of reference for the app to scale the rest of your body. After matching up a couple of blue lines to the width of your bust, you’re all set. The platform collects your measurements from the pictures, and puts it into an algorithm to determine your size. It then takes you to a custom page to choose from three bra styles.
With ThirdLove, you will never know the actual bra size assigned to you. Everything on the landing page is completely tailored to you: the models, the sizes, previous purchases you’ve made. But the company has gotten rid of the drop down menu for sizes, and any sort of numbers or letters that go along with it.
On one hand, this is a great way to alleviate comparisons or concerns about size– you are what you are. On the other hand, it could get a little frustrating if you are looking to shop elsewhere and still have no clue what your proper fit is.
Zak tells me ThirdLove started with lingerie because shopping for bras is not only frustrating, it’s a private process. “It’s not a social shopping experience, so it’s actually the perfect category to bring online,” she says. But ThirdLove isn’t the only one taking an online-focused approach to lingerie. Aside from large brands like Victoria’s Secret and Soma Intimates, there are already several startups in this space.
True&Co and Brayola both offer bra-fitting services to help women find the right size. But unlike these companies, ThirdLove’s business is all based on its iPhone app. Its website allows visitors to sign up for the app, but there’s no other platform to purchase from. ThirdLove also manufactures its own lingerie instead of referring user to other brands, and has twice the number of standard bra sizes. Spector says ThirdLove’s main differentiator is its personalization and custom fit.
“Unlike everybody else, in this case the whole experience starts off with learning about who you are,” Spector tells me. “And once we know that data, it’s really a third element to the whole personalization scene.”
With bras ranging from $45 to $70 and panties ranging from $11 to $35, the price is comparable to companies like Victoria’s Secret. However, ThirdLove lacks a broad selection of styles and designs for customers to browse. Starting off with more sizes means the company is limited to three basic styles in three colors each. ThirdLove also wants to expand into more areas of apparel, but Spector says overseeing manufacturing is already a complicated task.
ThirdLove is currently in private beta, but the app will launch publicly by the end of September.
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