NIKE, Inc. has acquired RTFKT, a C Ventures-backed brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.

“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,” NIKE, Inc President and Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe said in a statement.

“We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities,” he added.

Founded in 2020, by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev, RTFKT is a pioneering and innovative brand that redefines the boundaries of physical and digital value to serve their broad community of creators. This dedicated team leverages the latest in game engines, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences.

“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,” said Benoit Pagotto, one of RTFKT’s co-founders.

“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,” he added.

Earlier this year, C Ventures, a venture capital company co-founded by Adrian Cheng, significantly backed RTFKT in a seed funding round, which totalled $8 million. C Ventures was one of the top three investors and the largest in Asia.

The new capital helped RTFKT to broaden its team of creators and artists, develop new NFT collections (most recently the CloneX avatar project) and grow its overall talent pool.

“I’m proud to see RTFKT’s long-term potential recognised with this acquisition,” Cheng said in a separate statement.

“Early on, I saw something very special in RTFKT and we share the same vision of using technology as a way to transform how we approach creativity and innovation. My commitment to developing the metaverse is strong and I am excited to continue on this journey with RTFKT,” he said.

According to the statement, Cheng has a strong track record of supporting and incubating start-up companies, through both his C Ventures company and personal investment portfolio, which spans technology, healthcare and consumer sectors.

C Ventures’ investment in RTFKT is strategically aligned with the venture capital company’s focus on disruptive businesses in technology, lifestyle and media and its core mission to curate a global ecosystem targeting Millennials and Generation Z.

The investment in RTFKT earlier this year followed C Ventures’ participation in a $100 million funding round for Singapore-based company Matrixport, one of Asia’s fastest growing digital asset financial services platforms, in August 2021.

Cheng also recently made a personal investment in The Sandbox, in which he will develop his land to showcase a range of successful Greater Bay Area (GBA) start-ups that he has supported and funded.

C Ventures is a venture capital company founded by Adrian Cheng bridging West and East, curating a global ecosystem targeting Millennials and Generation Z, with a focus on disruptive businesses in technology and consumer. Its dedicated and expert team have access to the most highly sought-after deals through collective network of top global entrepreneurs, family and thought leaders.

Other recent investments by C Ventures, include RTFKT Studios, well known for its NFT sneakers; FITURE, a leading household fitness equipment which offers customized fitness programs based on real-time data; and Lalamove, China’s No.1 on-demand and same-day delivery platform.

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