Emerging Europe’s start-up scene is thriving: new money and new ideas are coming onto the market all the time. To keep you up to date with the latest investments, innovations, movers and shakers, every week Emerging Europe brings you a round-up of the region’s start-up news.
Ready Player Me: Estonian gaming start-up raises 56 million US dollars
While it’s incredibly difficult to build a game or a virtual world, Estonia’s Ready Player Me is aiming 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.
Ready Player Me’s 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, says the firm, will result in a better overall experience.
Investors agree. On August 23, the start-up announces a 56 million US dollars Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and including many other investors.
More than 3,000 apps across both Web2 and Web3 already integrate Ready Player Me, including VRChat, Spatial, Somnium Space, RTFKT and many more.
The company also already works with individual creators and fashion brands such as Adidas, New Balance, Dior, Pull&Bear, and Warner Brothers (Dune movie outfits) to enable cross-game avatar assets across the metaverse. The platform also provides distribution through its network and opens new revenue opportunities through interoperable avatar asset sales and a cross-game economy.
“What will unlock the true metaverse experience is interoperability between games, worlds and applications and a consistent identity for users across all experiences,” says Timmu Tõke, co-founder and CEO of Ready Player Me.
“We think it’s essential for virtual worlds users to create an avatar they love and buy avatar skins and accessories that work across the metaverse and are not stuck in one game. This infusion of funds will allow Ready Player Me to continue scaling the avatar system to make it more flexible for developers, create new tools to help developers monetise with avatar assets, and build tools for individual creators to take part of the cross-game avatar marketplace.”
“Ready Player Me is loved by both developers and players as the largest platform for avatar-systems-as-a-service and is well on their way to building the interoperable identity protocol for the open metaverse,” adds Jonathan Lai, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
“We’ve been deeply impressed by the team’s blend of developer empathy, technical chops, and entrepreneurial pragmatism, and couldn’t be more excited to partner with them on this journey.”
Boomio: Lithuanian start-up making customer loyalty accessible to all raises 550,000 euros
Boomio, a Vilnius-based customer loyalty platform, has raised 550,000 euros in a follow-up investment round led by Lighthouse Ventures and a syndicate of four European angel investors. It follows a raise of 215,000 euros last year.
Boomio says it is on a mission to make digital customer loyalty tools available to small and medium businesses that cannot afford to develop them in-house.
Currently, such tools are only available to the enterprise segment, as developing them in-house costs thousands.
The company’s online platform and mobile app allow businesses to create and manage their rewards and loyalty system for a small subscription fee.
“We will help small and medium businesses to discover their loyal customers who generate around 80 per cent of revenue and provide simple and effective tools to help them grow up to 2.5 times faster than their competitors,” says Jonas Davalga, CEO and co-founder of Boomio.
Robert Reich, investment manager at Lighthouse Ventures, adds: “We see huge potential in what the Boomio team is working on and the ability to bring added value to the number of small and medium-sized businesses.”
The company will use the new funds to improve its product and expand to the German market.
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