TAQADAM Tales: Saudi Arabia-Based Miqyas Has Its Sights Set On Providing Online Sizing Options For Fashion E-Commerce Retailers
Built as a software as a service (SaaS) platform, Miqyas helps online fashion retailers precisely measure clothing sizes for customers.
Since its inception in 2016, the TAQADAM Startup Accelerator, a program powered by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in collaboration with Riyadh-based Saudi British Bank, has been able to boast of providing a nurturing environment for many successful startups. TAQADAM Tales is a series of success stories of six such businesses, and through these, what is made evident is TAQADAM’s secret for success, which seems to be a combination of the best of technological advancements and mentorship, with a keen focus on building a sense of community within Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
As a college student in 2017, Miqyas founder Abdulla Almazrooa was fascinated by the idea of offering online custom-fit options, and initially pondered upon the possibility of using it for measuring the Arabian thobe, a garment that’s traditionally worn by men of the Middle East. “I was just observing what was happening in computer vision and the quick advancements in deep learning, and it occurred to me that it was just a matter of time before we are able to scan human bodies using only a camera,” recalls Almazrooa. This idea was then modified to incorporate all clothing, from across the fashion e-commerce realm, and eventually led to the launch of Miqyas in 2020. Built as a software as a service (SaaS) platform, Miqyas helps online fashion retailers precisely measure clothing sizes for customers. “We developed two Miqyas products,” Almazrooa explains. “The first service, ‘custom-fit,' takes two customer images and measures exact body measurements. The second one, ‘size-it,’ asks users simple questions on product pages, and then recommends the perfect size on all brands. Our clients can use these plug-ins on their platforms to solve the problem of online fit, and we charge them a subscription fee.”
With many fashion retailers moving towards e-commerce as a result of the repercussions of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the demand for Miqyas’ services has increased. Take, for example, its recent partnership with Femi9, an online women’s fashion retailer. “Femi9 had a problem with online size, so we gave them the solution, and they’re not only using it on their e-commerce but in their physical stores too,” Almazrooa explains. “Women in Saudi don’t have fitting rooms in malls, which is inconvenient. But with Femi9’s physical stores, we eliminate that problem completely, by integrating our solution to their physical retail store, which resulted in less returns, higher convergence, and higher basket size.”
Abdulla Almazrooa, founder and CEO, Miqyas. Source: Miqyas.
While the startup has been bootstrapped ever since its launch, Almazrooa says it was TAQADAM’s network that helped in gaining its first client. “I got in touch with a fellow TAQADAM entrepreneur from 2018, although we’d never met before, told him about our business and sure enough, that is how we got our first client through TAQADAM’s network,” he says. And it is this sense of togetherness that sets the accelerator program apart from the rest, according to the founder. “I can definitely see that everyone at TAQADAM wants to help each other out,” Almazrooa says. “We all want to see the other startups succeed and it’s a great community to be a part of. If you’re in the MENA region, I think it is the best accelerator program that exists!”
Now, with plans to have the startup enter into other sectors in the future, Almazrooa believes that KAUST will continue to play a major role in Miqyas’ journey. “Our plan is to continue expanding in the short term in the fashion market, and in the medium term, as we expand and get more data, we want to move to other applications such as fitness, augmented and virtual reality,” he says. “In order to do that, there are a lot of things that we need to do- one of them is having access to a super high performance computer, and I think KAUST is the best option that we have, since we are already familiar with its supercomputer, Shaheen.”