Ready Player Me Raises $56 Million for Metaverse Avatars in Latest Funding Round
The cross-game metaverse avatar platform Ready Player Me has announced that it raised $56 million in its second funding round. The new funding came from the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz along with other investors such as David Baszucki, co-founder of Roblox.
The Ready Player Me cross-platform metaverse avatars enable users to traverse virtual worlds using a consistent identity. Its cross-platform approach, with its interoperable avatars, has been a very successful model. The company has so far partnered with over 3000 game and app companies that use its avatars.
Also participating in this funding round were Twitch co-founder Justin Kan, the sports and entertainment company Endeavor, Sebastian Knutsson and Riccardo Zacconi, Amelio family, Hartbeat VenturesD, Snowfro, Plural, Collab Currency, King co-founders, Konvoy Ventures, and Punk6529 among others.
Ready Player Me avatars have already been integrated into more than 3,000 apps on both Web2 and Web3 platforms. These include apps such as Spatial, RTFKT, VRChat, and Somnium Space among others.
Ready Player Me has also partnered with various individual creators along with fashion brands like New Balance, Warner Bros, Adidas, Dior, and Pull & Bear among others.
According to Ready Player Me CEO Timmu Tõke, the company’s cross-platform avatars provide the interoperability that will bring out the potential of true metaverse experiences between worlds and games as well as in applications where users need to project a consistent identity in all experiences.
Tõke says that the metaverse being a network of different virtual worlds needs just the kind of cross-platform avatars that his company offers.
Tõke says the Ready Player Me avatar system will also come in handy for developers as it can be integrated into new games and new worlds within a few days or weeks thereby saving them both in terms of manpower and development time. Typically, a developer may take up to six months or even years to build out an avatar system or character creator for their experiences. The Ready Player Me solution can easily be plugged into an app in a few days thereby taking away the pain of building out a new system from scratch.
Ready Player Me places an emphasis on the tools for the developer side of the network and this has simplified game development for developers. The avatar system also enables players to easily craft out their avatars.
The Ready Player Me out-of-the-box avatar solution allows many developer teams to focus their efforts on building worlds and experiences thereby streamlining the development process. The platform also offers distribution via its network. Through interoperable avatar asset sales and the cross-platform game economy, it unlocks revenue opportunities in the ecosystem. The interoperability between the worlds, games, and applications will open up the true potential of the metaverse, according to Tõke. He says that it is essential for virtual world users to create avatars they like and to purchase avatar skins and accessories that can be used across the metaverse, rather than ones that are limited to one game.
The Ready Player Me boss says the new funding will go into scaling up its avatar system in order to make it more flexible for developers. The funding will also be used for creating tools that developers can use to monetize with avatar assets. The funds will be channeled into building tools for individual creators so they can participate in the cross-game avatar marketplace.
Ready Player Me says it works with the belief that better user experience, creator experience, and metaverse economics will be derived from an open metaverse that offers millions of interlinked experiences rather than from a few large closed-off spaces.
Having an interoperable user ID and avatar is key to the realization of an open metaverse and a cohesive cross-platform experience. Besides, an open marketplace for avatar assets will expand the size of the market and enable developers in the metaverse to grow their revenues.
Ready Player Me will use the fresh capital to primarily improve services for the developer studios. The company wants to make its avatar system more flexible. It will also enable studios to monetize their avatar accessories. Additionally, Ready Player Me will give individual developers access to tools with which they can take part in the cross-game avatar marketplace.
From 2014 to date, the company has raised $85.5 million in venture capital. Its avatar software has already been implemented in more than 3000 apps. In recent months, Ready Player Me has been registering very fast growth.
The Ready Player Me avatar system is the product of more than 8 years of research and development. In the early days, the company created custom avatar systems and technology for various top-tier enterprise clients including Verizon, Wargaming, Tencent, and HTC among others.
For close to a decade, Ready Player Me has been aggregating a proprietary database consisting of more than 20,000 face scans that were captured using its hardware-based 3D scanners.
These scans have allowed Ready Player Me to develop a deep-learning solution capable of predicting and rendering realistic faces using a single 2D photo. This AI system can run on the web, mobile, and desktop. Developers can also access it via a software development kit (SDK) and through an application programming interface (API).
Ready Player Me began developing hardware for face scanners that utilized 100 cameras. It subsequently built a photo booth where it took footage of thousands of people in airports and museums. Using this image database, it developed a deep learning solution capable of converting a single selfie into different avatar styles. In 2016, Ready Player Me shelved the hardware and started focusing on a full software implementation.
The company then moved on to creating solutions for various companies. While the custom work generated revenues, it wasn’t scalable. That need for scalability drove the company to take a more universal approach in its solution and from there, things ballooned with the solution being adopted by various companies in the metaverse space.
Ultimately, Ready Player Me wants its avatars to be like other sharable file formats that will make them usable on different platforms be they Unreal desktop games or Unity mobile games.