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Digital merch platform Hawkr secures £260k funding

Digital live music merchandise firm Hawkr has secured £260,000 (€296,000) in a seed round led by venture capital firm Jenson Funding Partners and other investors.

Launched in 2021 by co-founders Jamie Monson and Les Seddon-Brown, London-based Hawkr aims to streamline the process for artists and fans via a digital platform and data-driven solution to make buying and selling merch at live music events more accessible, profitable and sustainable.

Hawkr is centred around print-on-demand technology and direct-to-consumer sales. Artists can use tools on the platform to create designs, upload the final product to their virtual merch stand and then set the items live during a show while directing fans to the platform via in-venue promotion.

“Hawkr isn’t just improving the live music industry with a platform that makes the merchandise buying and selling process easier for all, but doing it in a way that takes sustainability into account,” adds Sarah Barber, CEO of Jenson Funding Partners. “It’s exciting to be investing in a company that values reducing the carbon footprint of tours and live events alongside the profitability and accessibility that is at the heart of the music industry. We look forward to seeing Hawkr’s continued growth as it makes the merchandise experience better for music fans everywhere.”

“It’s a problem that’s needed a solution for a long time”

Fans are able to browse merchandise on their phones, select their item and have it sent to Hawkr’s print-on-demand supplier. Some 150 artists are currently on the Hawkr platform, and the firm also has partnerships with industry organisations and groups including Marshall Amps, the Featured Artists Coalition, and Brian Eno’s music eco charity Earth/Percent.

Hawkr plans to use the new investment to develop a pipeline of new innovative features, while continuing to build out its partnership network within the music industry.

“When I ran a portfolio of major music festivals for nearly a decade, I got to experience the merchandise world and all the issues that artists and fans go through first hand,” says Monson, Hawkr CEO. “It’s a problem that’s needed a solution for a long time, particularly on the sustainability front where it was often the case where I’d be left with countless boxes of items and be left to find ways of getting rid of it.

“Our marketplace platform helps alleviate all of these pain points and offers a more seamless process for all parties from start to finish. This funding will help us continue to develop our service and expand it to other parts of the world so artists and fans everywhere can enjoy a better experience with merch at live gigs.”


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Warner Music partners with DRESSX on digital merch

Label giant Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with digital fashion retailer DRESSX, which will enable acts to design their own virtual merchandise.

Select WMG artists will collaborate directly with DRESSX to design and launch 3D and AR virtual clothing that fans can collect across platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, enabling them to unlock new revenue streams while creating additional outlets for fans to showcase their fandom across multiple digital worlds.

“The representation of our future digital selves will be as important and, if you’re measuring by sheer volume of interactions, maybe more important than how we represent ourselves physically,” says Oana Ruxandra, WMG’s chief digital officer & EVP, business development.

“As our digital identities become exponentially more robust and impactful, we are focused on building partnerships that will enable WMG and our artists. With its leadership in wearables and sustainability, DRESSX is exactly the type of partner we need sprinting alongside us as we build for the future.”

The deal marks the latest in WMG’s growing number of Web3 collaborations.

“Digital merch and swag from musicians will definitely be a part of the digital wardrobes of fans”

“We are extremely proud to partner with Warner Music Group and their incredible artists to continue building and scaling the DRESSX meta-closet vision for the future,” say DRESSX co-founders Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova. “Digital fashion is a visual language for communicating and creating bonds online, and at DRESSX we use technology to provide the utility for digital wearables using augmented reality, machine learning, and blockchain.

“Digital merch and swag from musicians will definitely be a part of the digital wardrobes of fans, and it’s great to see that more and more stakeholders believe in this new domain that is already changing the fashion industry at a scale. Every day, we are getting closer to our aim of giving a meta-closet to every person in the world, making fashion accessible to everyone through innovation and tech.”

Launched in August 2020, the company has become the largest platform for digital-only fashion, with more than 3,000 digital items available in the DRESSX library, and launched the largest AR fashion app on the market. DRESSX has partnered with leading tech, fashion, and lifestyle companies, including Meta, Roblox, Snapchat, Google, Coca-Cola and FARFETCH.

DRESSX is committed to sustainable fashion and has invested in science-based evaluation of the carbon footprint of its digital fashions. Since June 2021, it has partnered with Flow Carbon to offset the carbon emission from all of its operational activities, making the company carbon neutral due to offsets.


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