Foot Locker Continues Investment Streak With Minority Stake in Youth Culture Platform

Foot Locker Inc. continues to make bets on promising startups.

The specialty athletic retailer has announced a $3 million strategic investment in Commerce Media Holdings LLC, which does business as Ntwrk — an e-commerce and content video-based platform that works with big-name brands and influencers to sell limited-edition products.

“Ntwrk’s innovating and engaging content platform is pioneering the way brands tell their stories and the way youth culture shops,” Foot Locker chairman and CEO Richard Johnson said in a statement.

Foot Locker’s move closes the platform’s Series A funding round, which totaled $10 million. As a minority investor, the New York City-based retail company will be able to use Ntwrk’s episodic format to release exclusive merchandise, produce original content and tap into its young consumer base.

Founded in October 2018, Ntwrk — which is headquartered in Los Angeles — describes itself as a Home Shopping Network or QVC for young, mobile-savvy shoppers. Among its recent and current high-profile brand partnerships are Nike, Adidas and New Balance, with celebrity participants including designer Alexander Wang and NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. Ntwrk regularly offers one exclusive product each day, netting profits from retail sales and through content-creating services for brands.

“Ntwrk is building the content platform and retail marketplace of the future through an approach that has undeniably elevated the consumer experience,” added CEO Aaron Levant in the statement. “We are excited to partner with Foot Locker on this journey, further enhancing what experiential commerce means to the consumer.”

The Ntwrk deal comes less than eight months after Foot Locker put $100 million toward a strategic investment in GOAT Group, which operates sneaker marketplaces GOAT and Flight Club, in an effort to capitalize on the burgeoning sneaker resale market. Over the past two years, the retailer has also thrown its financial muscle behind kids’ clothing brand Rockets of Awesome, design academy Pensole Inc., children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic and women’s luxury activewear maker Carbon38.

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