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Rebecca Minkoff introduces VC fund for early-stage tech start-ups

Rebecca Minkoff's in-store digital mirror
Rebecca Minkoff’s in-store digital mirror

Rebecca Minkoff is continuing on the fashion and tech train, this time launching a venture capital fund dedicated to finding relevant early-stage start-ups.

Run in collaboration with Quotidian Ventures, it plans to identify and invest in six to eight companies per year.

According to Pedro Torres-Mackie, founder and managing director at Quotidian Ventures, the programme will serve as a talent funnel to help identify companies and resources that would best benefit the Rebecca Minkoff brand and the industry at large, reports Glossy.

Speaking at the National Retail Federation’s Retail’s Big Show in New York this week, Uri Minkoff, CEO and president of Rebecca Minkoff, said the brand was inspired to launch a fund off the back of the number of tech companies that got in touch following the introduction of its tech-enabled store concept in 2014. That includes its connected fitting room experience, and more recently its self-checkout concept.

He said the company’s first investment is in 42 Technologies, a big data business working with retailers (including Rebecca Minkoff already), and previously part of the New York Fashion Tech Lab cohort.

Rebecca Minkoff herself added that she hopes the fund will help leverage female entrepreneurs in STEM fields. “There are not enough female engineers and coders working in the tech space to bring their user experience to the conversation when it comes to design,” she said. “As females, we have different user experiences, and so the opportunity to invest in those that have a company that serves women by women, is what excites me the most.”

Torres-Mackie added that he’s particularly interested in growth areas including virtual reality and wearables. “We’ve reached the point where a virtual augmented closet will be an inevitability, and the reason we’re here is to make it happen faster,” he commented.

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Digital snippets: Iris van Herpen on designing the future, TAG Heuer’s luxury smart watch, Alibaba’s Singles Day smashes records

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

irisvanherpen_ss16

  • Iris van Herpen’s astonishing designs don’t look like ‘clothes.’ They look like the future (as pictured) [The Washington Post]
  • TAG Heuer Connected: the first ‘legitimate’ smart watch? [Wired]
  • How Alibaba turned an obscure, made-up Chinese holiday into a $14.3 billion shopping extravaganza that’s bigger than Black Friday [Business Insider]
  • Dior breaks its e-commerce ban [WWD]
  • REI’s Reddit experience shows brands need to be ready to take the tough questions [AdWeek]
  • Canada Goose debuts first global campaign [AdAge]
  • High-tech Sephora flash boutique in Paris has a robot greeter [Brandchannel]
  • Farfetch tries to reach a little further [Bloomberg]
  • The Minkoffs want to disrupt the dictatorship in fashion with digital innovation [Fast Company]
  • Fashion platform Zalando wants to be Europe’s top tech company [Wired]
  • Macy’s CEO defends role of stores in e-commerce era [Fortune]
  • Apple’s Angela Ahrendts on where the company is taking retail next [Fast Company]
  • Natalie Massenet’s Imaginary Ventures proves she’s ready for next venture after exit from Net-a-Porter [Independent]
  • How Revolve Clothing uses data to create a global brand [Digiday]
  • Adam Selman, Rihanna’s favourite designer, enters the wearables war with Mastercard [NY Times]
  • As luxury brands embrace data, will they use it like a butler or a stalker [AdWeek]
  • Retail’s best Snapchat campaigns [L2]
  • Tel Aviv’s booming tech start-up community is expanding its focus to fashion [Fashionista]
  • Singapore’s postal service provider is developing a futuristic shopping mall to house online retailers [TechCrunch]
  • “People don’t buy stuff in actual stores” – the future of retail, as explained by Gen Z [Quartz]
  • Wary of the next ‘Warby Parker’ [TechCrunch]
  • Refinery29, Dazed and i-D battle for millennials [BoF]
  • Essena O’Neill quits Instagram, rewrites her self-promoting history [The Guardian]