Daydream co-founders, from left: Matt Fisher, Dan Cary, Julie Bornstein, Richard Kim, Lisa Green. (Lonnie Webb Photo)

A new startup founded by longtime e-commerce leaders is using artificial intelligence in a bid to shake up the way people find and buy clothing online.

Daydream announced a massive $50 million seed round from top venture capital firms to develop technology that aims to supercharge the shopping search experience.

The company, which has offices in New York City and Seattle, isn’t revealing many details about its platform, which will launch in beta later this year. But its website hints at the vision with a series of hypothetical search queries, such as:

  • Bright-colored sneakers that feel old school and classic
  • Street style tops inspired by Bella Hadid
  • I’m shopping for cozy and effortless vibes for fall in NYC
  • I love this tote, but I want it without stripes
  • I need a dress for a summer wedding in Costa Rica

Daydream said it has nearly 2,000 brands in its catalog through partnerships.

The startup is led by CEO Julie Bornstein, former chief operating officer at clothing rental giant Stitch Fix. Bornstein also held executive roles at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Urban Outfitters. Her previous startup, an AI-powered shopping platform called THE YES, was acquired by Pinterest in 2022.

Bornstein pointed to “massive gains in AI over the past year.”

“We can finally build an intelligent online shopping platform that will make it easy and fun for consumers to find products they love among the best selection of brands and retailers in the world,” she said in a statement.

The rise of generative AI and other advanced technologies could shift the way people find information on the internet — and have big implications for e-commerce.

Online retailers are testing different AI-related ideas in their search experiences. Amazon recently introduced its new AI shopping assistant Rufus. Alaska Airlines rolled out a new trip itinerary search tool earlier this year that leverages generative AI technology from OpenAI.

A recent survey from Adobe on generative AI trends found that two-thirds of respondents want brands to use purchase history and other data to make shopping experiences more relevant to what they want.

“Online shopping is in need of an overhaul, particularly in the realm of memory and context, to provide seamless and intuitive experiences that truly understand and anticipate customer needs,” Daydream CTO and co-founder Matt Fisher told GeekWire.

Fisher is one of several Seattle-area employees working out of Daydream’s office in Kirkland, Wash.

Dan Cary, co-founder and chief product officer who is also based in Seattle, previously spent 12 years at Google, most recently as a product manager for generative AI for YouTube.

Fisher said the company plans to grow headcount in the Seattle region.

Other co-founders include former Pinterest execs Lisa Green and Richard Kim.

Forerunner Ventures and Index Ventures led the round, which included participation from GV (Google’s VC arm) and True Ventures.

“We believe that search will transition to service, with the search giants dominating the space losing market share to new entrants providing personalized, AI-driven services that work in collaboration with consumers to meet their end goals and delight with a fundamentally new level of value,” Kirsten Green, founder and managing partner at Forerunner, said in a statement.

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