Investing in Space Runners - Metaverse Fashion Brand. Why we invested?

March 11, 2022,
by Yagiz Sözmen and Alara Vural
As Core Ventures, we are excited to announce our investment in Space Runners, co-led by Polychain Capital and Pantera Capital, along with Accel, Jump Crypto, and other participants including Yat Siu (Co-founder and Chairman of Animoca Brands), and Justin Kan (Co-founder of Twitch and Fractal).

We indulge ourselves into the virtual realm of the internet, as the digital space around us continues to evolve drastically. Today, we spend more time online than ever before with 3.8 trillion hours spent on mobile apps alone, a striking 30% increase from 2019. This digital shift has indeed changed our relationship with materialism, we spend more time online, hence we value the online things!

As common goods and services like money and transfers, shopping, meetings, and art become increasingly dematerialized, status symbols are also set to be transformed for good. Although luxury goods such as houses, cars and watches still stand as a fundamental pillar of social status, the notions of status symbols begin to manifest themselves in novel ways like verification marks, game badges and NFTs.

Among these daily goods, fashion stands out as one of the strongest means of self-expression in the offline world. People curate a persona with what they wear, and the items we choose to wear become a tool whereby we declare our differences, views and most importantly identity. Therefore, it is inevitable to ignore this transformation of dematerialization in fashion items too.

Well, this is already happening in games with the share of in-game purchases has drastically risen from 50% in 2015 to 75% in 2020. The majority of spend in the $150B+ games market is for virtual goods such as Among Us hats, Fortnite skins, and CSGO gun wraps. As games increasingly become more of a social space, digital clothing will become a crucial part of our social presence.

Gaming is just one component of a far-reaching ecosystem; virtual fashion will disrupt the fashion industry as we know with novel approaches like “wear-to-earn” thriving in AR environments. As iterations of NFTs, like PFPs (profile pictures) become more popular, fashion brands race for opportunities to incorporate themselves, by dressing and accessorizing PFPs with their very own digital wearables. This up-and-coming trend will spur the digital fashion industry forward by providing an opportunity for customization according to holders’ own aesthetic, unlike the digital clothing worn on self-designed avatars or predetermined designs revealed on the mint day. Following the trends, big names including Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Nike, and Ralph Lauren have already kicked off their collaboration with established players or launched their digital lines, betting envisaging further growth. The demand for digital fashion brands is expected to grow from current levels could reach $50B by 2030 according to Morgan Stanley.

Here Space Runners comes to lead this disruption in the Fashion Metaverse landscape as a digital-first brand! Founded in March 2021, the company creates digital wearables with the aim to build the first end-to-end fashion ecosystem on the blockchain. With over 500k members across Discord, Instagram, and Twitter, Space Runners is now one of the largest Metaverse Fashion Brands on the blockchain ecosystem. The items are designed as NFTs and are pluggable into any metaverse or game, and holders can try on their Space Runners with AR and social media filters to further establish a connection with what they are wearing online, similar to their offline presence.

Space Runners enables NFT holders to connect with one another and build a community, a true Fashion Metaverse. Much like any fashion week, Space Runners offers members-only benefits including unlimited access to Solana API services, as well as the chance to win courtside tickets to NBA games and meet & greet collaborators, which uniquely transform digital ownership to real-life utility.

With exceptional partnerships, Space Runners have established a remarkable platform for Fashion Metaverse. Their GEN1 drop, which was sold out in 9 minutesfor ~$8M and ranked #1 on Solana, featured familiar faces from NBA, Kyle Kuzma and Nick Young, along with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Paul Brothers, and more. As Space Runners go cross-chain with Ethereum, we look forward to their next drop, GEN2 featuring a surprise collaborator, and see them challenge the traditional fashion business models with their innovative approach on creativity, sport, culture, gaming and leveraging blockchain and augmented reality.