Hot crypto fashion brand RTFKT Studios just won $ 8 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, the company announced on Tuesday.
“We are very proud of the way we have organized our fundraiser, bringing together a unique team of gaming, fashion, technology and art to create the future of fashion for the metaverse,” co-founder Benoit Pagotto told WWD.
Known for its digital sneaker collaborations, the company now has the fuel to add more staff and plans are underway to develop its own online marketplace.
Currently, RTFKT operates with just a backbone team of two full-time employees – which is remarkable, given the hype that has developed around the brand on its NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
Blockchain-based technology has evidence of ownership and authenticity, making it a topic of intense interest in the worlds of digital art, fashion, and collectibles, all of which have seen a surge. activity on high-value NFTs.
Among them was RTFKT’s collaboration with 18-year-old artist Fewocious on fully digital NFT sneakers, which drew more than $ 3 million in March. The start-up followed up another collaboration, this time with digital fashion house The Manufacturer, for a collection that included earrings, dresses and sneakers. It offered some 223 digital products, which sold out in less than 12 minutes in total.
This year, the company has already accumulated $ 4.5 million in revenue, far exceeding the $ 600,000 it raised throughout 2020. Now, with new funding, it is ready to hire a team of engineers and designers, as well as game experts. flesh out the business.
Pagotto describes the company as “99% digital, 1% physical, born in the metaverse” – a term that can mean a lot of different things, depending on the context. But generally it alludes to alternate digital realities which may include augmented reality, virtual reality, and other online digital platforms.
The founder of the start-up sees many opportunities for RTFKT, especially with the latest funding.
“This is a unique round of funding for a new type of business… a fashion business born out of video games,” he continued. “It’s our culture, and [we] do things differently. We are super exclusive, but have an open source approach to our content. We work with creators, empower them and share the revenue with them.
“NFT allows us to combine all of our expertise and our community to create the future without having to worry about legacy or how things are done today,” he explained.
Later this year, Pagotto plans to release a new platform that will feature “secondary market elements,” he added. “We will promote community projects and artists, allowing [them] to deposit on our platform using features we develop for RTFKT projects, incubate and fund some of them, giving some of our iconic designs to redesign and use in games.
The look of the game can be key. Currently, buying an NFT sneaker or dress doesn’t allow the owner to do much with it other than looking at the screen and admiring it. But soon, owning a true digital sewing piece that can be authenticated and showcased in the metaverse – in places like games – might be more mainstream.
Apparently the venture capital world agrees.
“RTFKT is leading the way in building the bridge between digital and physical fashion,” said Jonathan Lai, partner at Andreessen Horowitz in a statement. “As we spend more time in virtual worlds, I believe we’ll care as much about our digital sneakers and handbags as we do about our physical shoes.
“Over the past decade, games have shifted from entertainment to social media – for a lot of people today, games are the new mall and the new sports bar,” he said.
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