Chaya Weiner
Sep 27 · 10 min read

As a part of my series about the future of retail, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kosta Popov. Kosta has a 16+ years successful track record as a software company CEO. Under Kosta’s lead, Cappasity successfully raised $4.9M and launched its platform and 3D digitizing software. Kosta is an expert in 3D technologies, SaaS solutions, and mobile applications and one of the top innovators by Intel Software.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me!

In 2013, there were several M&A deals in 3D technology, and since the team had prior experience in 3D, video gaming to be precise, we decided that the market was ready to step into the era where 3D technology would be used by regular consumers.

We chose e-commerce in general and fashion e-commerce in particular as our target because at the time it was evident just how quickly this market would evolve and how expansive the demand for innovative solutions for online retail would be.

We began with product visualization but it soon became clear that what we needed was a pipeline solution for large retailers. And so Cappasity was founded in December 2013 with the aim of developing an easy and scalable platform for creation, embedding and analysis of 3D and AR/VR content that would allow to erase the line between brick-and-mortar and online shopping.

After several years of R&D Cappasity platform was launched in 2017 and now serves millions of views of 3D content each month.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

We had been thinking for a while about the best way to offer our services to LVMH (LVMH Moët Hennessy — Louis Vuitton SE) and in the end, we tagged one of the innovation program directors in a tweet featuring a 3D image of a bag produced by one of their brands. We hoped for the best, sure, but were still very much surprised when he responded. I strongly believe, that you needn’t be wary of unconventional ways of establishing business connections, because your competitors certainly won’t be.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I don’t think that any mistake you make when starting out can be seen as funny. You shouldn’t treat every single misstep as the end of the world, of course, but being too carefree isn’t the way, either.

The lesson I learned was that if you are developing software for content production, you should begin with the version for macOS and later follow-up with the Windows version. With the majority using a Mac, you’ll speed up the development process and get to enter the market sooner than if you’d begun with Windows. I didn’t do that at first and had to learn from my mistakes.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Cappasity belongs to the luxury tech market segment and can be found among 65 highly technological companies on the Luxury Tech Market Map, created by CB Insights. Luxury Tech is a new market segment as luxury brands have only just begun their way to e-commerce and are now facing transition difficulties. And here’s where Cappasity, as a comprehensive 3D Product Imaging SaaS solution for e-commerce and retail, comes into play. Cappasity is the only pipeline solution which solves all the problems of 3D product imaging and provides an analytics tool that tracks the way potential customers interact with 3D product images as well as predicts the probability of the purchase based on the patterns in customer behavior. This is what makes us stand out.

Our clients see the advantages of our offerings. For instance, the worldwide leader in superior travel bags, luggage, and accessories, Samsonite is now using our 3D product imaging solution for its US online stores. 3D visualization has been made available for products by Samsonite, American Tourister, Hartmann, High Sierra, and Gregory Packs.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I believe you have to love your job, but still, remember that it’s not the only important thing in the world. To avoid burnout, you need to plan tasks for the whole day and view each completed task as you would an “achievement” in a game. This way, you’ll stay in a good mood, even if you are the only one to know about your “achievements.” It’s also important not to set more tasks than you can realistically complete.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Thanks to my parents, I learned to set goals and achieve them. Every year would mean a new short-term plan, and every 3–5 years I’d come up with some major goal. I believe that independency and dedication are vital for self-improvement. Teachers and mentors, on the contrary, stifle introspection and independent thinking by setting you up with a collection of off-the-shelf solutions. I don’t have a particular story I can share, and a life time of experiences will take a while.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

We never stop working on those. Recently we announced our partnership with San Francisco Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion during the annual Spring Show, which is an exhibition of student work that the School hosts.

For the first step in the collaboration, SF Academy of Art University’s Fashion Merchandising and Marketing departments integrated Cappasity’s solution into their curriculum. We selected 11 fashion school students from the FSH 460: Merchandising Industry Collaboration class to produce product imagery of a new line of clothing for Shop657, the school-run marketplace. SHOP657 is an innovative concept store that carries brands and products designed and produced by Academy of Art University alumni, students, and faculty.

With a green light to use the Cappasity platform and software for the store, the students tried their hand at creating and embedding 3D product images of different products in the new clothing collection. Every step of the process: shooting the item in motion, using the Cappasity Easy 3D Scan software to process the content, getting the desired result (a 3D View), and incorporating it into the website, went off without a hitch. What’s more, the collaboration of talent and technology has already borne fruit — the new clothing line has sold out. The shop was launched on Shopify, and since Cappasity provides plugins for many ecommerce platforms, Shopify included, the integration process was made seamless.

The Spring Show was a brilliant opportunity to demonstrate what Cappasity is all about and share our passion for technology. I hope that in time we’ll see many student portfolios on our platform. And with our updated mobile application it’ll be possible to create interactive presentations and display them on an iPad.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

When we were just starting out, we focused on luxury retail. As a scalable platform for creation, embedding and analysis of 3D and AR/VR content meant to erase the line between brick-and-mortar and online shopping, our solution has proven to be commercially successful. Now we are spearheading a new initiative, Cappasity for Art, that aims to bring the art exhibitions to those who for some reason are unable to attend, be it financial constraints or physical limitations.

3D Imaging solution for Art was born as a result of our partnership with the New York Academy of Art and our mutual desire to prove that fast and qualitative production of virtual museums, galleries, and exhibitions is possible and can help convert online visitors into physical ones.

With a VR headset and compatible software, it is possible to replace your surroundings with the virtual gallery full of paintings, sculptures, and installations.

At the moment we plan to offer virtual and augmented reality tours of the Academy’s major exhibitions and galleries, allowing viewers all over the world to ‘virtually’ visit the Academy. Right now you can access a basic version of this tour as a demo on Steam. The creation of an easy-to-use digitization platform for 3D artworks has allowed New York Academy of Art sculptors and mixed-media artists to accurately showcase their work like never before.

Another aspect of the solution is its ability to serve as a valuable archive for past exhibitions. If a show has been run in partnership with us, it can be preserved online, allowing for visitors to access it again even after the physical show has ended.

Can you share 5 examples of how retail companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers like to shop?

When it comes to retail, it seems like one day you are in and the next you are out. With online shopping now more accessible than ever, customers steadily are becoming harder to please, and they are considering it a given that their rising expectations be met every time. So it’s to be expected that trends will continue to shift, fueled by consumers’ desires and tastes. Here’s five examples:

1. Improved product visualization.

Online shopping is very different from the in-store experience as it’s really hard to bring the emotions to digital. Moreover, customers cannot touch the product and make sure that this is exactly what they are looking for. Especially this problem is relevant for the luxury segment. So how do we solve it? 3D product images make online purchases interactive and close to reality, which helps increase sales by more than 30% and reduce the number of returns. With a 3D image, a customer gets to choose what part of the object they’d like to see. Zoom in or out? Rotate the object? View it in motion? All these features are easily accessible thanks to 3D product imaging. Moreover, according to research conducted by Cappasity, 82% of visitors to the product page activate the 3D view, and 95% of respondents prefer an interactive 3D representation to video playback.

2. AI tools for customer behavior analysis.

AI analytics is becoming crucial for retailers. Cappasity AI, for instance, tracks the way potential customers interact with 3D product images created with our solution and embedded into retailers’ websites and presents the most telling metrics on the dashboard. Apart from dwell time, the tool highlights points of customer interest and the best angles for thumbnail product positioning, as well as predicts the probability of the purchase based on the patterns in customer behavior.

With the insights gathered by AI retailers will be able to improve content visualization and product design. The accumulated data could prove to be invaluable. For instance, you can save the money usually spent on retargeting, as the solution will tell you which user is likely to make a purchase.

3. Renaissance of the physical store.

I believe that digital won’t replace physical and the two will successfully coexist. For example, a great way to bring the digital shopping experience inside physical stores is digital signage. While digital kiosks aren’t unknown to brick-and-mortar retail, digital signage, offers additional interactivity, increased engagement, and a seamless omnichannel experience, as any product visualization available to websites also can be used for digital installations. Interactive kiosks feature a variety of products offered by the store, and — depending on the digital signage software provider — introduce different ways of storytelling. Some show branded films, while others focus on 3D product imaging. Both are interactive, yet — as always — it’s up to the customers to decide which approach works better.

4. Increasing role of AR/VR in customer experience.

VR & AR in retail is becoming more and more popular with brands like Gucci at the forefront of the innovation. I am curious to see what’s next.

5. Social media & E-commerce.

Adam Mosseri, the new head of Instagram, in a recent interview described his e-commerce ambitions and expressed his hopes to unite shoppers, sellers and manufacturers, and Instagram’s native talent–influencers.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I think that it would be a movement for mutual understanding since many bad things happen because people refuse to understand each other and seem to lack empathy.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Chaya Weiner

Written by

Director of branding & photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator, helping leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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