Ready Player Me, a leading designer of interoperable avatar technologies, announced it had received $56 million USD in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) GAMES FUND ONE and a16z crypto.
Additional investors include Roblox Co-Founder David Baszucki, Sebastian Knutsson & Riccardo Zacconi, Robert Chan, Co-Founder of Fractal, Justin Kan, Co-Founder of Twitch and Fractal, Henry Ault, Co-Founder for Eco, and many others.
Entities contributing to the Series B funding round also include Endeavor, D’Amelio family, Punk6529, Snofro, Konvoy, Nordic Ninja, Collab Currency, and Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Ventures.
Learn more: https://t.co/Zp6d4fjuFS
— Ready Player Me (@readyplayerme) August 23, 2022
The funding aims to scale up the company’s staff from 51 employees and stabilise its earnings amid market volatility as numerous developers rely on their platform.
The additional funds will boost flexibility and performance of the platform, add avatar creation tools and diversify real-time 3D (RT3D) assets for avatar demographics, and expand to other avatar platforms.
Interoperability as a Necessity
A16z General Partner Jonathan Lai explained in a blog post how interoperability was a “key guiding principle of the Metaverse,” allowing people to own digital identities, assets, and “travel between virtual worlds.”
Despite this, many of the largest platforms such as Fortnite, Minecraft, League of Legends, and others were “closed economies” that lacked interoperability, he explained.
He added the next generation of games and virtual worlds would be “built with interoperability as a core tenant and would empower users to “own their identity and take their digital assets wherever they go.”
Echoing the need for global standards in metaverse interoperability, a Ready Player Me spokesperson said,
“For the open metaverse to emerge, cross-world services and standards that enable virtual worlds to be connected and interoperable must be built. […] It’s essential for anyone to be able to create an avatar they love and take it to any virtual world they want”
They added the future of the Metaverse was “open and connected” and created by many developers rather than a single company.
The news comes as the Tallinn, Estonia-based firm builds partnerships with global tech giants such as HTC, Verizon, Tencent, Huawei, VRChat, Adidas, RTFKT, Dior, Spatial, and many others.
The announcement comes amid a major partnership with WebAR publishing platform Geenee AR to launch no-code wearable augmented reality (AR) avatars, allowing users to ‘wear’ or overlay digital content over physical objects.
Ready Player Me also teamed up with AR veterans 8th Wall to open developer tools for integrating avatars with browser-based experiences across extended reality (XR) headsets, mobiles, and PCs.