NTWRK, a video shopping app that helped popularize the idea of livestreamed commerce in the United States, announced today that it has raised $50 million in new funding led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Kering, the global luxury group that owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and other luxury brands. As COVID-19 ravaged the United States last year, the company pivoted towards live virtual events and festivals to capitalize on the increased demand in live commerce and creator content. It now says it would spend in expanding its business and establishing a more worldwide presence.
LionTree Partners and Tenere Capital are among the other investors in the current round. They join the company’s previous backers, which include Jimmy Iovine, Drake, and LeBron James, as well as live Nation, Foot Locker, and others. Allison Berardo, a vice president in Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Growth Equity unit, will join the NTWRK board of directors. NTWRK a platform that allows producers to engage with viewers and sell things in real time, similar to QVC, Twitter, and Twitch. It is aimed at a younger audience of Gen Z and millennial consumers.
The experience combines commerce and entertainment, as viewers purchase for streetwear, shoes, collectibles, and other products while simultaneously watching and chatting with other viewers and hosts in real time. Billie Eilish, Juice WRLD, DJ Khaled, Odell Beckham Jr., Eddie Huang, Blake Griffin, Alexander Wang, FaZe Clan, Nadeshot, Jonah Hill, Gary Vee, A$AP Ferg, Wu-Tang Clan, Doja Cat, and others have all hosted exclusive content for the brand. (It also made an investment in FaZe Clan last year.)
Its business approach goes beyond merely providing live video shopping that you can watch at any time; it also incorporates product drops on a regular basis, which help to build anticipation and excitement. This type of feature is only now making its way to major social media networks, such as Instagram, which only recently launched drops. Live events and virtual festivals have also been used by NTWRK to engage audiences. It held TRANSFER last year, which featured 30 companies and artists, as well as panels, interviews, DJ sets, and musical acts. It also hosted BEYOND THE STREETS, a virtual art fair with nearly 250,000 visitors.
Unboxed, a two-day designer toy and collectibles festival held earlier this year, was the first of a series of digital events that have continued throughout the year, including Surface Festival, a virtual food festival, and a virtual home goods festival. It’s now preparing for the return of TRANSFER, its main event.
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