China Digest: RTFKT Studios raises $8m; Foodpanda sets up Taiwan tech hub

a16z x RTFKT, 'Meta- builder,' sneakers. Source: RTFKT Studios

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) startup RTFKT Studios has raised $8 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz while Asia-focused food and grocery delivery network Foodpanda has opened a new technology hub in Taiwan.

NFTs creator RTFKT Studios raises $8m in seed round

RTFKT Studios, a startup that creates digital goods like collectible sneakers and game skins, announced on Thursday the completion of an $8-million seed funding round led by Silicon Valley’s venture capital (VC) firm Andreessen Horowitz with participation from C Ventures, Galaxy Fund, and others.

The startup will use the proceeds to expand its global team and incubate new digital community projects.

Founded in late 2019, RTFKT Studios is a creator of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the market for blockchain-based digital assets, in the areas of fashion, gaming, and technology.

The firm’s offerings include collectible sneakers, game skins, and in-game limited physical collector editions, which are designed to appeal to early adopters of the metaverse, who could later auction them off via blockchain. Buyers of its NFTs can even adopt a customised augmented reality (AR) filter so they can “wear” the sneakers on social media and subsequently redeem a physical, real-life pair of sneakers.

“Against a backdrop of exponential growth in blockchain technology, digital assets have ushered in a new era of high demand for digital fashion, art and gaming from the younger generation,” said Adrian Cheng, founder of C Ventures, in a statement. C Ventures is a Hong Kong-headquartered VC firm that mainly invests in technology, lifestyle, and media startups.

RTFKT Studios has launched partnerships with brands like crypto artist FEWOCiOUS; video game company Atari; Japanese automaker Toyota’s luxury vehicle division Lexus; and other notable individual artists and celebrities including Paris Hilton, Jeff Staple, and Janet Jackson. The startup plans to offer a revenue share model to the artists and collaborations building on its platform.

Foodpanda sets up new Asian tech hub in Taiwan

Food and grocery delivery network Foodpanda has opened a new technology hub in Taiwan, as part of the firm’s NT$610-million ($21.8 million) investment plans for the local market, to strengthen and diversify its talent pool, it announced on Tuesday.

Foodpanda plans to start the operations of the new tech hub in the second half of 2021, with a focus on R&D in new technologies and enhancement to build seamless user experience across its mobile and web applications, said the firm. The firm has started the recruitment process for key department roles including digital innovation supervisors as well as engineers.

The firm said that it is looking to leverage “a highly tech-skilled workforce” in this Asian tech centre, where, according to consultancy INS Consulting, over 10,000 computer science graduates join the workforce per year.

Asia-focused Foodpanda, which became part of Berlin-based Delivery Hero in December 2016 after the parent acquired it from Rocket Internet, currently operates across 400 cities in 12 countries including Asia-Pacific markets like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Japan became its 12th market in the region after its official entry in September 2020.

The launch of Foodpanda’s tech hub in Taiwan comes as Asia has become the largest contributor to Delivery Hero’s 2020 global gross merchandise value (GMV), an e-commerce metric used to measure transaction volumes.

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.