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PlatformE acquires Cambridge-based Catalyst AI to make sustainable fashion production a reality

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PlatformE, the fashion technology company enabling on-demand production for top brands, is announcing it has acquired Catalyst AI, an artificial intelligence company based in Cambridge, UK. The deal will see Catalyst AI’s machine learning tools for optimising fashion supply chains bolster PlatformE’s services for efficient on-demand and made-to-order fashion. The company is enabling brands to move away from wasteful systems of mass production to more sustainable on-demand manufacturing.

Overproduction and waste make the fashion industry one of the largest polluters in the world. Traditional supply chains require brands to guess several months in advance what people are going to buy, and where they will buy. This leads to huge quantities of unwanted items being manufactured. As a result, it is predicted that by 2030 more than 134 million tonnes of textiles will be discarded every year.

PlatformE allows brands to move away from this wasteful system of mass production. Instead, items are produced according to demand, with shorter supply chain times from manufacture to delivery. Since its launch in 2015, PlatformE has worked with leading brands including Dior, Gucci, Puma, Farfetch and The North Face.

PlatformE’s offerings cover three categories: 3D digital product creation for consumer-facing retail experiences; a software platform streamlining e-fashion across the value chain from the product configuration to ordering, production, and logistics; and a global network of digital-savvy factories that are able to produce fashion products on-demand and in record time. Together these services enable brands to shift to a new model of production, operating with as little waste as possible and avoiding monetary losses from excess inventory. The turnaround time from samples to retail can be shortened from many months to less than six weeks. 

AI and machine learning tools will optimise fashion supply chains

“Machine learning and predictive technologies have a vital role to play in improving the efficiency of supply chains and moving to less wasteful models of production. The digitalisation of supply chain processes is leveraging data that allows us to reduce uncertainty and improve decision making through every step of the supply chain, from procurement of raw materials to purchase by customers. PlatformE is on the front of this wave, so it is the perfect place for our technology to be applied“, said Catalyst AI co-founder and CTO, Dr. Ahmed Zaidi. 

Following the integration process, the founders of Catalyst AI will continue to support the growth of PlatformE’s data science capabilities as advisors on AI.

PlatformE co-founder and CEO, Gonçalo Cruz, said: “We’re delighted to strengthen our capabilities with Catalyst AI’s innovative intellectual property, and will benefit immensely from the team’s expertise and their network of talent in one of the world’s leading data science ecosystems.”

Catalyst AI co-founder and CEO, Raymond Siems, said: “We started Catalyst AI with the mission to bring the latest in AI and data science to industry, which has taken us across agriculture, transportation, finance and many other sectors. Nothing matched the scale of inefficiencies we discovered in fashion supply chains, so we set about building tools to tackle these problems, which brought us into contact with the PlatformE team. Goncalo has an unwavering vision for the future of fashion, and the pace of change is picking up. We’re excited to be part of that journey and unlock a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.”

PlatformE Ecosystem

About PlatformE

Founded in 2015 by Ben Demiri, Goncalo Cruz and Jose Neves, PlatformE is a specialist fashion technology group headquartered in London with offices in Porto and Los Angeles. The company is pioneering new models of production at scale and is backed by Nordstrom, Amorim, TLF Ventures, founders of Net-a-Porter and Farfetch. PlatformE offers solutions for on-demand manufacturing and digital fashion. Its clients include brands from LVMH, Kering, VF Corporation, PVH, Farfetch, among others.

About Catalyst AI

Based in Cambridge, Catalyst AI builds machine learning and data-science tools for industry. Founded in 2017 by Raymond Siems, Dr. Ahmed Zaidi and Evan Martin after emerging from the renowned computer science and engineering departments at the University of Cambridge, the Catalyst team has built award-winning products in agritech, healthcare, fintech, ecommerce and fashion. The Catalyst AI team is connected to the latest in AI research through a team of PhDs, postdocs and professors from leading research institutions.