Carol Hilsum, senior director of product innovation at Farfetch, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Outlier Ventures on the Dream Assembly Base Camp Web3 accelerator program. Web3 is an evolving area of growth, but with fundamental challenges to overcome to be usable and scalable within the luxury industry. We are on a mission to support the creation of a unique, curated, connected conversation to help drive the future of this space.
The program will run remotely, kicking off in late September, and highlight four key areas of Web3: digital fashion, tokenised loyalty, immersive experiences, and the creator economy. Entrepreneurs who land a spot in the Dream Assembly Base Camp cohort benefit from a tailored experience matched to their key area. They also gain from Outlier Ventures’ extensive network of industry experts and services, including in-house operational, legal, commercial, marketing, and token model support.
“Outlier Ventures is excited to collaborate with Farfetch for Dream Assembly Base Camp. Web3 is now at the intersection of fashion, culture, and art. It’s hard to think of a better combination than Outlier Ventures and Farfetch to accelerate luxury fashion founders and their projects,” said Des Martin, chief marketing officer, Outlier Ventures.
Dream Assembly’s past, present and future
Farfetch has established itself as not only a leader in luxury e-commerce, but also a retail solutions provider, having developed its own technology for hybrid retail environments. By investing in the future of retail technology, the e-commerce giant has established a trusted position for guiding and supporting fashion and retail tech entrepreneurs and has done so since it first launched Dream Assembly in 2018.
Dream Assembly was designed to benefit the entire luxury sector by uplifting the next generation of technology companies. As such, Farfetch has taken more than 60 startups through the accelerator program, which has led to ongoing partnerships with several successful ventures, including Australia’s own Good On You, a sustainable and ethical fashion brand ratings website and app.
The next phase of Dream Assembly, partnering with Outlier Ventures, shows significant investment of resources into Web3, particularly in the luxury consumer space, where many premium brands are solidifying their presence in virtual spaces.
The future of retail will be open, social, and highly interactive, consisting of completely new and innovative retail models that entrepreneurs are now on the cusp of creating. Some global brands have recognised that the goal is not to conquer all, but to make a bigger consumer pie, one that supports immersive and blended experiences.
French luxury conglomerate LVMH established La Maison des Startups in 2018, housing it in the world’s largest startup campus – Station F in Paris. Since it opened, LVMH has fostered 285 collaborations between startups and maisons.
Companies from a variety of sectors are making a Web3 play to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs who have a strong emphasis on entertainment. Recently, Disney announced six Web3 projects participating in its latest accelerator cohort. Its program this year will focus on augmented and virtual reality and building the metaverse. These technologies are already being heavily adopted in fashion and retail to embed interactive brand and product storytelling.
The beauty of accelerators is that they can appeal to a variety of startups in a certain area and provide them multiple retail environments to test and learn. Such support from larger companies mitigates the risk that entrepreneurs in fashion and retail take when they develop their own innovative technologies in-house.
In Australia, there are several accelerator programs, some are part of global networks. However, there has never before been a successful fashion and retail tech accelerator designed specifically for entrepreneurs building tools for the industry. Many entrepreneurs in the space have had to apply to one of the general programs with little support from subject matter experts and mentors.
Farfetch has always been an impressive player in retail. By partnering with a highly reputable venture capital firm specialising in Web3, it showcases another way that retail companies can do more in the world than sell. They can be part of the industry’s future without needing to own it. As a local retail business, if an entrepreneur asks if they can pitch you their startup idea, hear them out. You might find you need them just as much as they need you. Because that’s how the future is created.