Meet Moritz, our Chief Technology Officer
Moritz Borgmann joined ZyseMe in 2015 and became Chief Technology Officer last year. We sat down to discuss the fashion industry’s current tech challenges and how ZyseMe’s digital solution can help.
You didn’t have a background in fashion when you started at ZyseMe. What got you interested in the company?
It was initially the opportunity to build a greenfield prototype that already had funding. Those greenfield opportunities are quite rare, especially funded ones. I was interested in evolving the supply chain to reduce waste and overproduction, essentially cutting CO2.
What have you learned about the industry that most surprised you?
How little digitization there actually is. I already knew that many companies struggled to adapt, but the amount of paperwork necessary to get a shirt to the consumer is astonishing.
A more pleasant surprise was the level of craftsmanship apparent across the industry. Whether it be a sales rep in an offline store or the people at the production site, they usually have a very deep understanding of their area.
What challenges make fashion technology unique?
The number of variances even in the small details. Fabrics alone are a unique challenge. Colors, fibers, shrinkage, stripes, checks – all those things need to be kept in mind when creating a garment.
What have you learned as ZyseMe’s CTO?
I became CTO here at the end of last year. Given the time I’ve already spent with the company, I know the system inside and out. I’m learning to make sure that this knowledge is passed on to those colleagues who need it. Being a CTO is not so much about writing great code, but creating an environment where the engineering team can deliver value for our partners and users.
What’s a typical day for you at ZyseMe?
It starts with balancing the time needed for meetings and the things I want to achieve. During a morning meeting we learn if things are going as expected or if further input, clarification or help is needed. If so, that becomes a priority. Otherwise I always hope to jump on my computer and actually write some code myself.
Can you explain what role data plays in ZyseMe’s AI?
There are different technologies with which AI can be built. While we are testing with different approaches, they usually come down to either expert knowledge or data. Getting information from an expert and into software is a pretty hard task and difficult to validate.
That is different if you have a big dataset. You split it into two chunks – one for training, one for validation. The training dataset is then used to establish the AI, which can range from regressions over finding nearest neighbors (closest data matches) to training a neural network. The resulting algorithm can then be validated with the second dataset.
What we learned is that the data-only approach is fast but that the best results are achieved when combined with expert knowledge. Similar to any other real-life problem, when you try to solve it with a mathematical model you need to make sure that the model actually fits the problem. An AI does not build a true understanding of the problem it is built for. It identifies patterns in the data fed into it, so still requires a human to interpret whether the result and the algorithm make sense.
What impact do you think ZyseMe will have on the fashion industry?
I hope that our impact on the fashion industry helps with global warming. 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions is a major factor that needs to be dealt with.
Secondly, I believe that we will see people wearing higher quality clothes in general. When I know that something is being made specifically for me, I want it to be high quality. I want it to last.
Are there any other developments in fashion technology that excite you?
Bringing production back to where the consumers are. We’re not just outsourcing labor to low income countries, but also environmental and social aspects of the production. Bringing it back to where the consumers are will increase their awareness of these issues. After all, they are the ones with the power to change things with their purchasing decisions.
The efforts and progress in digitizing the business also has exciting potential. Breaking the barriers between brands and consumers – offering them products they are desperately looking for – will make fashion shopping more enjoyable.
How would ZyseMe have affected your personal shopping habits in the past?
Well, it already has. When I need new shirts, I hold back on buying new ones until we have a new manufacturer or retailer integrated in our solution so I can purchase from them!
I am one of those shoppers that buys things online in at least two sizes so that I know one will fit. What kills my mood is when something I like is not available in my size. Those two problems would be a thing of the past with ZyseMe.
Anything else on your mind?