This week, we wanted to highlight some of the main takeaways from the Insights Deal Tracker. Since its inception in June, Insights Deal Tracker has listed 451 private market deals across verticals including crypto and blockchain, sports technology, social audio, augmented and virtual reality, healthcare technology, and more. .
Some quick observations from our first four months of follow-up:
- The game was – by far – the main vertical, with 47 transactions and $ 6 billion raised since June.
- The Lifestyle Health brands – defined as companies that provide health-focused consumer products – recorded the highest number of deals with 56 transactions listed and $ 2.6 billion raised.
- Crypto and blockchain were equally active, with 43 transactions executed in our Tracker, totaling $ 2.2 billion raised.
- Please note: we only track blockchain applications related to NFTs, sport-specific businesses, and creative tools, as opposed to the entire crypto landscape.
- While wearable devices receive inordinate coverage, they haven’t received the same attention from a capital markets perspective.
- We followed 25 wearable deals with a total of $ 782 million raised (much of which can be attributed to WHOOP).
For more information, see the Insights transaction monitoring now.
ICYMI: Last week we released a new Heat control on the future role of ESG in sport, with particular emphasis on the electric vehicle market. You can access this report, along with our entire research catalog, at Insights headquarters.
A great thing:
It was announced on Monday that sportswear giant Nike will acquire digital fashion start-up RTFKT (pronounced “artefact”) for an undisclosed amount. The company, which is classified as a âdigitally native clothing brand,â quickly became a mainstay in the digital clothing space as it successfully merged sneaker culture with NFT technology.
To date, RTFKT has raised $ 9.5 million on two deals to build the leading powerhouse in digital fashion. The company may very well be desired as a digital version of the famous street clothing brand Supreme. The company is best known (before the Nike acquisition) for selling $ 3.1 million worth of NFT sneakers in seven minutes.
Prior to the Nike acquisition, the company raised $ 8 million in its second round of seed funding from Andreesen Horowitz, one of the most active venture capital funds in the blockchain and NFT space. . According to Andreesen’s general partner, Jonathan Lai, RTFKT has the opportunity to create the first âdigital firstâ fashion brand.
âRTFKT is leading the way in bridging the gap between digital fashion and physical fashionâ¦ As we spend more time in virtual worlds, I think we will care as much about our digital sneakers and handbags as we do about our shoes. physicalâ¦ Over the past decade, games have shifted from entertainment to social networking – for many people today, games are the new mall and sports bar.
While RTFKT has planted its flag as a digital native brand, Nike by no means treads lightly in space. Over the past few months, Nike has made several direct investments in the major economies of Metaverse, Web3.0, and NFT. Nike began integrating blockchain strategies as early as 2019, when the shoe giant received a patent for blockchain-enabled sneakers known as âCryptoKicksâ. The original thesis behind CryptoKicks was that buyers would receive a digital copy of any shoes they purchased, which would then be deposited into a Nike-specific crypto wallet known as the ‘locker’.
Since then, the brand has made several new investments.
- Nike has its own virtual space within Roblox – called NIKELAND – where users can play games and explore products.
- The company has applied for a trademark for its swoosh logo and âJust Do Itâ slogan in âdownloadable virtual goods, namely computer programs containing shoes, clothing, headwear, glasses, bagsâ¦ for use online and in online virtual worlds â.
Nike isn’t the only brand to dig deeper into the metaverse. Adidas Originals recently announced that it will launch NFTs for blockchain-based virtual game worlds. The characters from The Sandbox and Bored Ape Yacht Club worlds would be dressed in exclusive Originals digital merchandise and associated experiences.
- In November, Adidas announced a partnership with the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, without providing further details.
- Right before that, metaverse company The Sandbox revealed that Adidas had purchased virtual land.
- In early December, the company purchased Bored Ape Yacht Club # 8774. The company is now using its newly purchased NFT as a profile photo for its 34.4 million Adidas Originals Instagram page.
Investments are strategic – they make sense. Current estimates in the Metaverse market range from large to downright gargantuan. Grayscale, the digital currency investment services firm, postulates that the metaverse is estimated to be a trillion dollar revenue opportunity in advertising, social commerce, digital events, hardware, and developer monetization / creators. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sees the opportunity as a “multi-billion dollar part of the global economy.”
What do we think?
With brands as established as Nike and Adidas dipping headfirst into the metaverse, it’s hard not to take the trend seriously. When looking at the fashion and clothing retail industry as a whole, there are many factors that point to an overall move towards a more digital market. According to Vogue Business 2021 Luxury Consumer Survey, three of the five ‘hottest trends’ were in digital developments
- 41% said they were most excited about the digital traceability of the brand’s products
- 21% said they were excited about the brand’s engagement with NFTs
- 17% said they were excited about brands’ efforts to increase product gamification
Blockchain technologies are likely to play a role in the current issue of product traceability. Customers will be able to accurately and verifiably trace the journey of their products to ensure authenticity.
LVMH has helped speed up the process by giving all of its brands access to Blockchain aura system he developed in 2019. LVMH’s involvement means that thirty percent of luxury brands now have the ability to collect the traceability details of their products through technologies such as blockchain.
In addition, brands are looking to further integrate virtual consultations, social and conversational commerce practices. In the United States, the trend has been slow to take off. In China, however, live commerce is a $ 171 billion market that is dominated by streaming on social platforms.
Both retail and luxury clothing have made great strides in becoming more digital native industries. Social commerce and social commerce are the first signs of the continued evolution of the distribution mix for retailers and brands. The metaverse, essentially the digital distribution of digital goods, is not a big step away from the current shift to focus on digital sales of physical goods.