NIKE Inc has announced that they have bought the virtual sneaker company, RTFKT. With this acquisition, it is clear that the leading sportswear brand is pushing its boundary by entering into the fast-growing metaverse.
Founded by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev in 2020, RTFKT is the company that influences cutting edge innovation to distribute next-generation collectables that merge culture with gaming. The value of the contract was not revealed. RTKFT had upstretched around $8 million at a $33.3 million valuation in May.
In a press release, Nike stated, “Leverages the latest in-game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences”.
John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc, said, “This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture.
“We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. We plan to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
About the deal, Benoit Pagotto, one of RTFKT’s co-founders, said, “This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are excited to benefit from Nike’s foundational strength and expertise to build the communities we love. Nike is the only brand in the world that shares the deep passion we all have for innovation, creativity and community, and we’re excited to grow our brand which was fully formed in the metaverse.”
RTFKT has a strong digital presence, having recently launched CloneX in association with the artist Takashi Murakami. According to CryptoSlam, the project has already seen more than $75 million in transaction volume.
In November, Nike become one of the big sporting brands to arrive in the shared virtual world which gained fame after Facebook recently rebranded itself to Meta Platforms Inc.