Sknups raises $ 3.5 million for blockchain game collectibles, unveils partnership between Dolce and Gabbana

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Digital fashion collectibles platform Sknups has raised $ 3.5 million in funding and announced a global gaming partnership with fashion house Dolce & Gabbana.

Based in London, Sknups (pronounced Skin Ups) is a new collectible digital platform for fashion and beauty stylists in the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds all interconnected, as in novels such as Snowfall And Player on loan one.

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Funding comes from fashion and web3 investors, including angel investors and traditional funds including Redrice Ventures, Blue Wire Capital and Adelpha. Sknups also plans to partner with Dolce & Gabbana to bring its signature Italian style to the games.

To commemorate the Dolce & Gabbana announcement and kick off the first collection campaign, a new inaugural digital launch is now available on sknups.com.

Founded in 2020, Sknups wants to allow gamers, cryptocurrency enthusiasts and fashion to update their skins in the Web2 and Web3 digital worlds. Sknups launched in stealth open beta in December 2021 and has since signed a mix of global fashion brands and emerging young streetwear designers such as Benny Andallo and James Mack. Sknups will soon announce new collaborations with leading brands and cultural icons.

“We have seen the opportunity for brands to move more into a digital world to better connect with Gen Z consumers in places where they have fun and socialized,” said Fred Speirs, CEO of Sknups, in an interview. at GamesBeat. “And this happens so much in games now. It was the thrill of knowing how to unite these two worlds.

The mission is to enhance personal expression online by bringing unique skins and collectibles into people’s favorite games and digital worlds.

“We have a really good team that brings together strong expertise and experience on the fashion side, very strong deep technological know-how behind the platform and what we develop, and then a lot on the gaming side too,” said Speirs. “I come more from the business side of fashion. For nearly a decade I have been a global lifestyle brand analyst. So we’ve covered a lot of the brands we talk to and focus on now. And then, more recently, I have dedicated myself to building businesses. And I am very happy to be driving Sknups now.

Sknups works with Benny Andallo.

“We have our first big brand that we can talk about publicly, in the form of Dolce and Gabbana. So we felt like it was a good time to come and talk about it, “Speirs said.” We have a super scalable technology platform. We have an ambition to be able to help create repeatable and scalable drops for partners. “

The Sknups team has created a proprietary hybrid Web2 / Web3 platform that combines the highest quality digital production with enormous metaverse reach:

  • The world-class team creates digital collectibles with high-fashion 3D models made in Sknups’ metaverse laboratory.
  • The Sknups platform is scalable for billions of users and includes Airdrop tools that provide democratic Drop access to the entire fan community, with climate-friendly Solana NFTs for collectors, social flexibility tools, Web2 / Web3 game fan composability and additions.

“Brands and creators looking to establish a scalable presence in digital worlds need to find a balance between premium and access,” said Speirs. “Fashion in the metaverse should be accessible beyond a small core of celebrities and wealthy VIPs to communicate the transformative power of style and craftsmanship to the next generation of fans.”

Luke Alvarez, co-founder of Hiro Capital, is co-founder and president of Sknups. Other founders include Speirs, Simon Low, and gaming technology innovator Alistair Hopkins. The team has 20 people spread all over the world, some of them based in London.

Switch to games

Former Ubisoft esports leader and gaming veteran Robb Chiarini helps drive the company’s relationships with the gaming ecosystem and game publishers.

“We are in different stages of discussion both internally about how they are handling things like skins and game introductions, and about all the things we are trying to provide,” said Chiarini. “I would say there is some interest, but there are different levels of preparation”.

Chiarini said skins have been around in games for a long time, and there are now showcases within games for digital skins and even physical goods. But a lot of things are changing at a very rapid pace, he told her.

Connect Web2 and Web3

skup 3
Will you take your brand into the metaverse?

Speirs said the company is trying to solve the problems of several parties. The company brings together desirable brands and creators on the one hand, then connects them to gaming experiences, on the other hand, the company focuses on making experiences fun, he said.

“We make it easy and we make it something both sides can trust and want to move forward with,” said Speirs.
The company is starting in the Web2 space by making digital collectibles. And it offers an option to embed this digital collectible with a non-fungible token (NFT). But right now, that’s not something all brands need to do, Speirs said.

“Every brand we talk to and every game we talk to has a different view of NFTs,” Speirs said. “An important part of our solution is that we have the flexibility to integrate a very broad range of consumers. If an involved party wants to move it to an NFT, we can do it. But we don’t have to.

In this way, Sknups allows partners to decide if their customers are ready for NFTs. In games, NFTs have encountered some resistance from gamers and game developers. But others have been more receptive to the idea of ​​using blockchain to authenticate unique digital items.

To NFT or not to NFT

I’ve noticed how many players have reacted badly to NFT announcements from Ubisoft, Team 17, GSC Gameworld, etc.

“It’s an interesting question because space evolves, interests evolve and products evolve,” said Chiarini. “Our space is made up of digital collectibles. NFTs may not be the direction these different brands are heading. Inside, we are a digital collector’s item. And we’re working with various gaming initiatives to bring brands into the game. This doesn’t necessarily mean in-game NFT. I think space is changing.

Speirs said Web3 now has a limited reach and the company wants to bring its products to a large group of people.

“Web3 is super cool, but it’s a smaller addressable audience than Web2,” Speirs said. “That is why it is important for us to have a hybrid solution. We want to allow a combination of cryptocurrency enthusiasts and fashion fans to update their skins and avatars in the web2 and web3 worlds, as we don’t want to be exclusive to a subset of them. As the company grows, as the environment changes, we will obviously respond to it.

In the metaverse?

smelly
Dolce & Gabbana collaborates with Sknups.

In a way, brands see the Metaverse as something of a Wild West. They may want to switch to a user-generated content (UGC) platform, but they may find that the brand has been infringed and is already on those platforms.

Going back in time, “You’ve always asked yourself this question of whether you mind people making counterfeit products or physical items. And often the conclusion has been, well, no, you don’t, because at least it means you’re a trendy brand and people are excited about you, ”Speirs said.

Brands have different opinions on this. They want to control their brand, but are very clear about the importance of embracing the gaming community, Speirs said. The question is how to make the metaverse safe for brands and help them maintain quality with things like UGC.

“It’s not about the old ways of communicating,” he said. “It’s about finding the right ways to empower communities, to really be part of the conversation. And for us, that’s why we don’t want to be just a platform. We are also a partner to really help connect these two very different worlds. “

Speirs knows that some brands will enter the games directly without using partners. Gucci is one example. But others are looking at Sknups to accelerate their entry into the metaverse in the right way, Speirs said.

“We’re a great way for brands to start moving into this space,” said Speirs. “At the same time, we also want them to have a great experience with us.”

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