San Francisco-based Kalder has announced its formal debut, steaming out of the gates with a $3 million pre-seed round for its blockchain-powered marketing tool concept that's being pitched to numerous European clothing brands. (disclosure - Kalder is backed by Arda Kutsal, founder and CEO of Tech.eu's parent company.)
Fashion is a sizeable opportunity for fledgling Web3 startups - last year clothing super retailer H&M broke new ground here with the launch of clothes that you can rent to try out before returning to the store, all underpinned by impenetrable blockchain tracking every garment's journey.
Kalder is the brainchild of 23-year old Turkish entrepreneur and UC Berkeley graduate Gokce Guven, and she's already garnered bags of experience in Web3, previously working as an early product designer with the leading NFT marketplace OpenSea.
Guven believes Web3 now is where social media and Web 2.0 was a decade ago, and she's pitching Kalder as the ultimate Brand 3.0 toolkit enabling marketing firms, brands and creators to tokenise product enthusiasts and make following luxury brands a full-time leisure pursuit for the customer.
From the initial press announcement, early use cases could involve NFT-driven membership cards for "superfans", airdropping NFT-carrying containers to likely target markets or a social media token loaded with benefits. Companies can work with creators to launch advocacy campaigns where customers become influencers, create exclusive rewards and tiers and track in-person/online engagement data.
The pre-seed raise is currently earmarked for getting brands onto Kalder's on-boarding programme, while also scaling up headcount and the number of blockchain-powered experiences. At the moment Kalder is still in "waitlist mode", but it says it has garnered interest from luxury brands, streetwear ranges and in hospitality, with the full launch of its platform due early next year.
A healthy slate from the US early-stage VC ecosystem participated - among them is Indigo Fund, 500 VC and Human Capita. 8VC and Soma Capital also took part in the round, alongside Amit Kumar from Accel investing in a personal capacity, Alyssa Fanelli (currently with wellness real estate developer Delos, and Victress Capital), Arda Kutsal (founder of Webrazi, owners of Tech.eu) and others.