Eight years ago, we started on a journey to make it easy for anyone to create an avatar they love and can use in virtual worlds. It felt obvious that people would spend more and more time in 3D virtual worlds over time and would need an avatar that truly represents themself and, eventually, travels across many virtual experiences.
We started by building 3D scanning hardware and moved on to building custom avatar systems for companies like Tencent, Huawei, HTC, Wargaming and Verizon. In May 2020, we launched Ready Player Me and have rapidly scaled it to 3,000+ customers across the metaverse. We're incredibly proud to work with VRChat, Spatial, Hiber, Pixelynx, Adidas, RTFKT and Dior among many others.
Today, we're excited to announce a $56M Series B funding round led by a16z GAMES FUND ONE and a16z crypto, with participation from Plural, David Baszucki, co-founder of Roblox, Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch and Fractal, Robin Chan, co-founder of Fractal, Henry Ault, co-founder of Eco, Sebastian Knutsson & Riccardo Zacconi, King Games co-founders, Collab Currency, Endeavor, Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Ventures, D’Amelio family, Punk6529, Snowfro, Nordic Ninja, Konvoy and more.
The metaverse is not a single app. It's a network of millions of virtual worlds people visit to play games, socialize and collaborate. Today, most of those worlds are closed and disconnected walled gardens.
We believe in the future of an open and connected metaverse that is built by many developers and creators and is not controlled by one company.
For the open metaverse to emerge, cross-world services and standards that enable virtual worlds to be connected and interoperable must be built. Avatars and identities play a huge role in that. It's essential for anyone to be able to create an avatar they love and take it to any virtual world they want.
Ready Player Me exists to break down walls to build a more connected virtual world. We are the avatar interoperability layer for the metaverse.
The actual builders of the metaverse are the game and virtual world developers working hard to create fun and engaging (perhaps even life-changing?) experiences for all of us to participate in.
It's incredibly difficult to build a game or a virtual world. We aim to make it slightly less painful for developers by removing an important and complex part they have to spend their time on — building an avatar creator. It makes no sense for each game to build its own closed avatar creators.
We've spent eight years building avatar tech, so they don't have to. Our tools give developers a world-class avatar creator they can integrate in days. This leaves more capacity for the core experience of their games and will result in a better overall experience.
Over time, we will enable developers to take part in the cross-game metaverse economy. Would you rather buy a skin that works in 1 game or 3,000? We believe that building an open marketplace of avatar assets (with the right economics for developers) will increase the market size for everyone involved and will create a much better end-user experience.
We couldn't be more excited to welcome this amazing list of investors to join the journey. The round is co-led by Jon Lai from a16z GAMES FUND ONE and Chris Dixon from a16z crypto.
Along with a16z, we welcome:
- David Baszucki, co-founder and CEO of Roblox
- Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch and Fractal
- Riccardo Zacconi and Sebastian Knutsson, co-founders of King
- Erick Calderon (Snowfro), founder of Art Blocks
- Kevin Hart, HartBeat Ventures
- Collab Currency
- D'Amelio family
- Robin Chan, co-founder of Fractal
- Henry Ault, co-founder of Eco
The funding will help us scale up the team from 51 people today and will give us financial stability for the unpredictable markets ahead. Many developers are relying on us with a key feature of their product.
With the new funding, we will:
- Scale the Ready Player Me avatar creator to make it more flexible and performant for the many types of developers we work with.
- Build avatar content creation tools to enable developers, brands and individual artists to create and sell avatar customization assets that work across thousands of virtual worlds.
- Improve avatar diversity with body types, granular clothing customization, more accurate face shape prediction, stylization and more.
- Include other avatars on Ready Player Me. We're not aiming to be the only avatar in the metaverse. The goal is to help any avatars to travel across virtual worlds.
It's been a wild ride thus far, and now the real work starts. We're humbled to have the opportunity to build something so fundamentally important for the metaverse.
There are many exciting problems to solve at Ready Player Me. Check out our jobs page to join the journey! 🚀
It’s time to build!