After spending 7 years at Google, where he helped launch marketing operations in Spain and Portugal and was “instrumental” in helping to set up the YouTube symphony orchestra, Custom founder Maximilian Madile’s world changed forever – all because of a coat.
It was whilst shopping online for a coat for his wife that Madile decided to quit his job and become a start-up founder. After selecting a budget, style, and size, Max was amazed by how hard he found it to locate suitable items online – having found a problem that needed solving, like all the best entrepreneurs, he decided to do something about it.
Alongside co-founders Andy Weir and Robin Wong Max launched Custom – unlike most fashion aggregator sites, Custom’s algorithm is programmed to learn about site visitors as they search, helping to build up a unique profile drawn from more than 40,000 brands, and over half a million separate items. The more you shop, the more personal the site gets.
The site provides a level of detail and personalisation that goes beyond what most online retailers usually provide. The exact measurements of the models featured, detailed description of the style and materials used in each and every garment – even washing instructions are available – a must for anybody who has ever attempted to machine wash their Christmas jumper!
Having come out of beta in January, Custom has already secured financial backing including some senior Google execs and tech angel investors. It hasn’t always been easy, as Max has testified in a recent blog post detailing the struggles an entrepreneur, even one who has worked for the biggest “start-up” of them all, encounters on the road to success.
“I don’t regret my decision to join the world of start-ups at all. I am working with amazing people, escaped the bureaucracy of a big company and I found myself back on the steep learning curve that I missed so much”, Max says, praising London as the premier destination to build a start-up outside of the US, despite high costs and the difficulty of securing early stage funding with little traction.
Having overcome these obstacles, however, Max, his fellow co-founders and their growing team are thriving on the pressure than running an online start-up can bring – searching for the best staff, developing the back end functionality, and providing a seamless, highly personalised shopping experience for all the budding Anna Wintour’s and male and female clothes horses out there.
If 2015 was the year FinTech took hold of London, could 2016 herald the arrival of genuinely world beating Fash-Tech scene in London? It’s too early to say, but we wouldn’t bet against it, and no doubt it will be fun finding out!