Startup Diaries: Disrupting the Online Shopping Experience

What if your favorite fashion e­commerce portal could read your mind?

That's the idea behind Riviter, a startup in this year’s Kaplan New Venture Challenge.

Riviter, the brainchild of Andi Hadisutjipto, a Booth ’16 student, uses image recognition technology to analyze users' fashion pins and social media likes and offer shopping recommendations on e­commerce websites. Andi worked in e­commerce for several years and noticed that people are more likely to shop online than ever before, but large retailers still rely on textual keywords and manual product tagging to understand what a customer might want.

Emily Ruff, '16

Emily Ruff, '16

Shikha Kapoor, '17

Shikha Kapoor, '17

"Shopping for clothing is obviously a very visual decision, and yet a lot of the tools out there are built around language."

Through conversations with a friend and prominent Austin blogger, Andi found that shoppers usually tend to know what they want, but are not able to find it very easily.  Further, the problem of inaccurate search results gets even more aggravated, since categorization of e­commerce data is mostly manual, and tends to be prone to errors. Andi envisioned disrupting this area using latest Computer Vision technologies. She came to Booth determined to execute this.

Andi credits resources, people and opportunities at Booth for supporting her in this journey. She started off by brainstorming and iteratively refining the idea with her peers, building a highly talented and motivated team along the way. She utilized her Booth classmates’ network, resources at Polsky Center, and classes such as Entrepreneurial discovery, Building a New Venture etc. to propel the idea further. The Entrepreneurial Internship program helped her focus on the startup over the summer as well, when she took it to the Plug and Play StartUp Camp accelerator in Silicon Valley.

Last but by no means the least, the faculty at Booth have added immense value. Says a team member and Booth’16 student Emily Ruff, “The Booth entrepreneurship faculty is beyond compare. These professors are not only top investors, advisors, and practitioners in their fields, they are also available at a moment’s notice to support, critique, and mentor. The week before the 2016 SXSW MBA Pitch competition, Waverly Deutsch sat down with our team and helped us build a streamlined, vastly improved storyboard. We got equal support from Steve Kaplan.”

Andi has helmed Riviter through some amazing achievements: one of the top three finalists in SeedCon 2014’s Napkin Pitch Competition, one of 12 companies selected from 900+ applicants for the Plug and Play StartUp Camp accelerator, one of 15 companies selected for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Accelerator, in addition to being one of 30 teams participating in this year’s NVC.

Most recently, the team won the SXSW Pitch Competition, taking top prize over 12 very impressive semi­finalists from Babson, McCombs, Tuck, HBS, Ross, Wharton, MIT, and Fuqua.

Today, Riviter has grown into a fully functional B2B image recognition company that allows online and mobile retailers to read shoppers’ minds based on social media pins, likes, and tags. Over the next few months, Andi and team are working with large retailers to integrate their technology and offer customers a highly personalized shopping experience.

Shikha is a first year Booth student enjoying all things Spring in Chicago.

Emily is a second year student and Director of Technology Partnerships for Riviter.

Riviter with the winners prize for SXSW'16 Pitch Austin Competitio

Riviter with the winners prize for SXSW'16 Pitch Austin Competitio