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Why Nike Acquired Virgin Mega Startup

The Swoosh doubles down on digital
Image via: Virgin Mega

Image via: Virgin Mega

With the launch of its new Nike+ app, Nike is signaling a fundamental shift in the way it sells to customers, predicated on the notion that consumers will increasingly turn to their mobile devices to purchase shoes, apparel and equipment. Not only does the app make it easier for users to purchase directly from Nike, but it's also meant to foster a personal relationship with the consumer, thanks to training tips from experts, as well as a story feed tailored to the individual's interests.

Additionally, Nike announced the launch of a new digital studio New York City, focused on "engaging, consumer experiences across the Nike Digital portfolio. " The studio will be led by Virgin Mega, a 12-person startup formerly ensconced in Richard Branson's Virgin Group. The new team is charged with "expanding the community and functionality" of Nike's core mobile experiences, and while that may sound vague, Richard Branson himself offers a clue to what the new group will be offering: "Virgin Mega's first mobile product was a clever concept called the 'MegaLine,' which allowed fans to engage and compete with one another while waiting in a digital 'line' for limited edition products. Fans would earn 'jumps' that would allow their avatars to literally leap over one another to get a better spot in line for coveted products."

Virtual queues for high-profile Nike launches could become a lot more interesting. Stay tuned.