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Imaginary Ventures Leads Funding of Digital ID Platform Eon

It’s a bet that these digital IDs will be crucial to brands as they try to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by Web3.
A text box hovering over a shot of a detail shot of a leather jacket over top a shirt has information such as brand on label, materials, retail price and more.
Eon's digital ID. (Eon)

Imaginary Ventures, the venture-capital fund co-founded by Natalie Massenet and Nick Brown, is investing in a platform that enables brands to create digital identities for their physical garments. It’s a bet that these digital IDs will be crucial to brands as they try to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by Web3, a term technologists use to describe a coming decentralised version of the internet, powered largely by blockchain.

The firm led a $10 million, series A funding round for Eon, which works with brands and retailers to give their garments digital IDs and acts as a data manager for those identities. Massenet, who helped bring luxury brands online when she founded Net-a-Porter in 2000, described the company as building the infrastructure connecting the physical and digital necessary for brands to capitalise on emerging opportunities in Web3.

”It’s like laying the railroads at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

The digital identities can include information such as a unique serial ID, the maker, size, colour and other attributes of the item, as well as a digital representation. Data can also be added to the digital ID after the item’s initial sale, such as if it is subsequently recycled, added to a digital wardrobe or resold, in which case a brand could potentially collect a royalty on the sale. Eon is already creating digital twins of garments for industry partners such as Yoox Net-a-Porter, Gabriela Hearst and Target.

Natasha Franck, who founded Eon in 2017, pointed out that many companies are currently talking about the potential of using technologies such as blockchain to track an item across its life. To do that, however, they first need to make a unique digital ID for the product. Eon uses QR codes, NFC chips and RFID tags to allow a user to scan an item and see its information.

The idea of creating digital identities for physical fashion has attracted growing interest. LVMH, Prada and Richemont-owned Cartier, for instance, have joined forces in the Aura Blockchain Consortium, a private blockchain developed to solve traceability and authentication challenges around luxury goods.

”I think every physical product needs a digital twin,” Daniela Ott, Aura’s general secretary. “I’m absolutely convinced about that.”

Massenet said she was attracted to Eon in part because it is working with both luxury sellers and mass-market retailers. The investment from Imaginary Ventures will go toward hiring staff and accelerating Eon’s growth. Massenet is also joining the company’s board and will help to make introductions to more brands and retailers.

Both she and Franck emphasised that Eon’s purpose is to serve as the data manager for these digital IDs and not define how they might be used.

”We specialise in being a platform,” Franck said. “All of the applications are waiting for digital ID to really be unlocked successfully.”

Learn more:

Aura Blockchain’s Daniela Ott on Persuading Luxury Rivals to Join Forces on Product Passports

The leader of the Aura Blockchain Consortium is tasked with persuading big brands such as LVMH, Prada and Richemont-owned Cartier to work together on the shared digital platform that creates ‘product passports’ for luxury goods.

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