Sneaker marketplace Futures Factory raises $2.5m seed round

Futures Factory, a marketplace for selling sneakers, that merges both the physical and digital worlds through Augmented Reality (AR) and NFTs, has raised a $2.5m seed round led by Seedcamp and Stride. Further participation comes from the co-founders of Voodoo, Kima Ventures, RTP Global, along with technology, crypto, and fashion angel investors.

The French-based company’s core mission is to empower sneaker designers by creating new work opportunities for them, allowing them to meet with and share their skills with others, engage and connect with their audiences in new ways, and generate new revenue streams.

Futures Factory will also improve the way that people interact with and purchase sneakers, providing new experiences for collectors to trade footwear in a more entertaining and efficient way. The start-up will also offer a new demand-driven distribution model for footwear brands, allowing them to sell virtual sneakers via NFTs to finance the production of physical ones.

Virtual-only sneakers that users will be able to collect in the near future, potentially use within popular video games, and display on their feet using AR will feature across the marketplace. Another kind of sneakers, known as “Futures”, will also be available. These virtual sneakers are backed by a physical pair of sneakers that can be redeemed by the owner of the NFT.

The start-up will use the $2.5 million raised to build its product between now and March 2022, with the aim of tapping into the growing NFT market, worth an estimated $2.5 billion as of the end of Q2 2021.

Futures Factory’s founding team is led by Nicolas Romero as CEO and Alexandre Frih as CTO. Romero is also the founder of Satoshi Studio, the first sneaker brand to use NFTs. Frih is the initiator and architect behind LVMH’s partnership with Aura, the first global luxury blockchain.

With a community of more than 30 passionate footwear designers and brands, Futures Factory’s long-term goal is to engage its users as stakeholders and provide them with the infrastructure to leverage the decentralised web – or Web3. The company intends to give back to and invest in its community, allowing the creator economy to strive against bigger brands to gain more power and control over the market.

Nicolas Romero, CEO & Co-founder of Futures Factory, said: “We’re delighted to have received backing from such renowned investors and look forward to continuing our growth. Futures Factory will be a great place to discover innovative projects coming from the hottest brands and talented designers. It’s very exciting! We started this project to change the way brands pre-finance their production of sneakers, as the fashion industry needs more demand-driven models. Futures Factory will also empower sneaker designers, creating new opportunities for them and helping them generate revenue.”