“That’s what a richer life means to me. It’s about empowering people.”
An entrepreneur and AI innovator.
Having grown up in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Michael Musandu travelled to the Netherlands to study computer science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, before going on to earn a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence at Utrecht University. This technical background laid the foundations for his subsequent entrepreneurial career.
Michael founded Lalaland, a company which uses artificial intelligence to create photo-realistic digital human models, in 2019, with the intention of allowing brands to use diverse models to showcase their collections. The idea for the company came from his own experience of struggling to see himself reflected in the models used by fashion companies. He realised that he could use his background in computer science to build digital models for e-commerce that would reflect the physique, skin tone and age of real-world customers.
Michael’s innovative approach to online retail, which not only addresses diversity but reduces return rates due to increased customer satisfaction, has been internationally recognised: Lalaland won the Philips Innovation Award in 2020 and the company has secured partnerships with multinational fashion brands, including Adidas. An advocate for building a business by empowering its employees, Michael has also prioritised diversity and inclusion in building his company, which has 11 different nationalities represented and a 40% female workforce.