- Name of Startup: Uni-ke
- Year Founded: 2018
- Website: uni-ke.com
- Type of company: b2b platform, fashion tech
- HQ Location: New York
Uni-ke is the go-to platform for the modern fashion label: From connecting with manufacturers and marketplaces to participating in fashion weeks and entering the metaverse.
Problem the startup solves:
Scaling a brand is hard. Keeping up with emerging technologies is harder.
Uni-ke helps brands connect to the right suppliers, manufacturers, and digital asset creators by taking into consideration their order sizes, interested markets, and sustainability efforts. In addition to these traditional aspects of the industry, Uni-ke allows brands to partner with digital asset creators for the purpose of exploring things like AR/VR fashion and digital wearables.
For manufacturers, the platform acts as a method for leads generation, offsetting some of the costs associated with traditional leads generation practices like trade shows.
Progress and current status:
Our MVP was completed in 2019, followed by a beta and private release from 2020 to early 2022, and a large portion of our platform is now fully open to the public.
In 2021, we received the Global Thought Leadership award from Columbia University’s Data Science Institute and later the 30 Under 30 Hispanic Executive award.
Three of the designers who began their journey on our platform have since participated in New York Fashion Week and New York Digital Fashion Week.
Since our digital fashion expansion began, we have also become active in the web3 space:
1. We presented ideas on web3 business integration as panelists at NFT.NYC
2. Our CEO was a speaker on decentralization at the South American Business Forum
3. Dcentral welcomed us as speakers on the future of fashion in a digital landscape
4. Through our partnership with The Fashion DAO, we helped host Art Basel’s digital fashion events
5. We won the challenge for The Weeknd’s concert tour web3 integration plan
We’ve had a lot of hard moments, but by far the hardest was the 2019-2020 year. We started out from our dorm rooms at Columbia – but keep in mind our CEO had been homeless immediately before enrolling at Columbia, so university dorms were the only place to start and the only place to go.
You’re starting a company out of your dorm room.
Then the CTO has a major family emergency and has to leave school for the semester while keeping the company backend running.
Then the pandemic starts and schools begin to kick people out of dormitories – remember the situation the CEO is in.
Add to that all the normal school things that happen in university, like finals, projects, and finding a place to live after graduation.
We launched the beta version as this was all happening, but it was a time when it seemed hardships would keep piling on top of each other.
What is a company the startup looks up to, and why?:
JPMorgan Chase & Co due to its ability to last through centuries (in various iterations) and its leadership culture.
The company in four years will be…
Expanded to include the East Asia and LatAm markets, definitely. Many of our ideal partners are located in South Korea, including SwatchOn and Clo3D, and Latin America is full of untapped talent that struggles to reach the global market. These are also regions we have personal connections to and understand better than another company that may just be trying to expand for the sake of the market.