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Bandicoot off endangered list with Angels’ support

Last year we published a story on Bandicoot Imaging, a business formed by a group of imaging engineers following the closure of Canon Australia’s research facility, CISRA.

Bandicoot is developing software to create a more realistic look online for clothing fabrics, and has recently secured $330K in funding from one of Australia’s most active ‘angel’ investment groups, Sydney Angels.

Here’s a conventional photo of a leather wallet, followed by Bandicoot’s interactive version (optimised for desktop). Hover your mouse over the bottom image to see the full effect:

The funding is to help launch Bandicoot Imaging’s ‘digital material’ technology (‘material’ in this instance referring to fabric used in clothing), which will give online fashion retailers a better way to showcase their products.

Bandicoot’s technology gives shoppers a better feel for the materials that make up a garment, through conveying not just the garment colour, but by also conveying a sense of its texture and the way light plays across the fabric.

The company was founded by former engineers and employees of CISRA arm after they discovered that nearly one in three online purchases were returned. They set out to develop a way to use advanced image processing techniques to address this in an easy, cost effective manner.

‘We were actually quite shocked when we realised that nearly one in three items bought online are returned,’ said David Monaghan, managing director and co-founder of Bandicoot Imaging.

‘Of these returns, around 30 per cent were attributed to the items “looking different” than they did on the website. Unfortunately, a lot of returns can’t be resold, and end up in landfill.

‘We wanted to solve this problem for retailers, in particular as the pandemic has driven ever-increasing numbers of consumers online. Retailers can use our true-to-life digital materials to give these online shoppers greater confidence in their purchases, and avoid all of the unnecessary wastage.’

Bandicoot’s unique technology creates a sophisticated digital rendering of the material from photos, which can be especially valuable for challenging fabrics such as those with metallic threads or a satin finish, where the appearance varies dramatically depending on the viewpoint of the observer.

The funding from Sydney Angels will give Bandicoot the capital required to develop an enterprise-ready product for retailers as they rapidly shift their focus online, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

‘Purchasing of clothing via ecommerce is booming. Bandicoot’s technology produces images of fabrics that are so real it’s almost like touching and feeling the material, which enhances the online customer experience and enables fashion retailers to drive sales and reduce returns,’ said one of the Sydney Angels investors, David Myers.

‘The founding team’s deep expertise in advanced image processing is not easy to find, and I’m impressed with the quick progress they have made.’ (So much so that he is now listed as a non-executive director!)

For a demonstration of Bandicoot digital materials: www.bandicootimaging.com.au

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