👽 Understanding the metaverse
November 1st, 2021 - November 5th, 2021 - 5-min read
Good morning Upscalers’ followers. Time to bring you the 5th edition of our weekly journal.
This week we’ll try to Understand what the metaverse is. Plus, we selected this week’s most interesting articles about the EU ecosystem.
As always, feel free to like, comment, react and respond. Thanks for reading!
And if you enjoy our content, why not join Upscalers as a member?
Understanding the metaverse
In last week's newsletter, I told you about Facebook becoming Meta to assert its focus on the Metaverse. I also promised to dedicate a few lines on the topic in this week's newsletter.
So here we go ⬇️
1. What is the metaverse?
Metaverse is a combination of "meta-" (ancient Greek for "beyond") and "universe".
The term, which dates back to the 1990s, refers to a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the analog one in which we live. In fiction, it often refers to a "new frontier where social norms and value systems can be written anew".
Yet today, everything seems to be "metaversal". Fortnite's CEO claims that he is building a metaverse. Trading cryptos is described as a metaversical experience. Virtual reality is at least metaverse adjacent....
It has come to be everything and anything.
2. Where do we truly stand?
Just as any technological development, we have imagined the rough outlines of the Metaverse well in advance of having the technical capacity to produce them.
Matthew Ball, venture capitalist and essayist, believes the metaverse would:
Be persistent, real-time and open to everyone - it will be a living experience that will continue indefinitely for everyone
Be fully functioning economy where participants can trade, exchange, invest...
Integrate both physical and digital worlds
Offer unprecedented interoperability of data and assets between its various experiences (unlike the Internet... today you can't play on Fanion with a football card you buy on Sorare...)
Be constructed by a wide range of contributors, from independents to organized groups and commercial enterprises (👋 Meta - ex Facebook).
You understand it, the Metaverse is not a virtual world (with AI driven character), nor a game (like Fortnite) or a virtual theme park. It is much more intertwined with real life and open to endless possibilities.
Well... we are not there yet.
By the way, there will probably be no clear "Before" and "After" the Metaverse. It will slowly emerge from the capacity of various products and services to fully integrate with each other.
In French we say, "La Révolution ne s'est pas faite en un jour" 🇫🇷
3. Why are companies interested?
Though the level of decentralization in its construction is highly debated, it is very unlikely that the Metaverse will see only one owner.
It is likley to offer, just like the Internet did (and still does), thousands of business opportunities on countless verticals - from identity creation, to confidentiality, advertising, gamification, security, education, health, entertainment...
So that's no surprise that current tech giants want their piece of the cake.
But they are not alone working on this. And as Upscalers, it was our duty to share some European early stage startups that are building the Metaverse:
Varjo 🇫🇮 (a bit late stage) raised nearly $100M since 2017 to develop VR with “human eye resolution”;
Polystream 🇬🇧 raised $12M since 2018 to reimagine the way 3D interactive content is delivered forever.
Wolf3D 🇪🇪 raised nearly $3M since 2015 to create virtual humans for virtual worlds
Stage11 🇫🇷 just closed a 5M€ round to reimagine music for the Metaverse.
So well, that leaves us with a ton of questions.
If you're interested and want to deep dive in the topic, I encourage you to visit Matthew Ball's blog on the matter. It is truly enlightening.
All eyes on the EU... and elsewhere
Monthly funding recap in Europe 🇪🇺 🇬🇧
$9.6B (-19% v. sept) raised in Europe in October 2021 (inc. seed, venture and private equity funding)
$293M raised in Pre-seed and Seed rounds (3.1%, stable v. sept)
Top 5 industries for the month: Fintech ($3.3B), Transportation ($1.4B), Energy ($1.3B), Healthtech ($1.3B) and Software / SaaS ($1B)
Biggest round goes to N26 🇩🇪 , with a $900M Series E at $9B pre-money valuation
Data from Dealroom.
Raise a round... and double it! 💰
Yet another option for founders to raise money, without giving away equity.Capchase, a UK and US-based startup just launched a bank account for startups, allowing them to double their VC money with a loan at a 2% annual cost.Such loan mechanisms already exist at state level in France with BPI (public investment fund), and Belgium with PMV bank for example.But having a startup doing this is quite disruptive don't you think?
New European climate tech fund 🌱
The green search engine Ecosia just launched its 350M€ climate tech VC fund. The largest of its kind in Europe.
The fund is called World fund and will only focus on companies that will help decarbonizing the planet.
We will deep dive into Climate Tech in next week's newsletter.
... and elsewhere
Squid game token scam 🤷♂️
On October 26th, $SQUID launched as the "exclusive crypto from Squid Game", promising to use the tokens to fund an online play-to-earn game based on the show.
3 days after the launch, prices rose from $0.01 to $4.42.
Despite warnings such as CoinMarketCap saying that it had received “multiple reports” that users were not able to sell the token, people continued to buy.
Price surged to $2,861 on Monday and people were forced to hold. 🤯
Fifteen minutes after reaching $2,861, the prices dropped 99.9% to... less than a penny 📉
The token's website and social media accounts all disappeared, and scammers responsible for the project said:
"Squid Game Dev does not want to continue running the project as we are depressed from the scammers and overwhelmed with stress..."
There can only be more scams like this in the future if we don't provide basic education around crypto...
Funny end note 🤣
Anyone knowing a company with a fax machine around here? I want to start a business...
Thanks again for reading guys
See you next week 👋