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Metaverse startups to watch, according to VCs

No one really knows what the metaverse is going to look like yet — but that hasn’t put investors off so far. European metaverse startups have raised around $666m so far in 2022 according to Dealroom, a significant rise against 2021’s $143m.

The two biggest rounds of 2022 have both gone to London-based metaverse platform builder Improbable, which landed $150m in April followed by another round of $112m in October. In third place came AI-powered 3D visualisation software startup nfinite’s $100m Series B, led by Insight Partners.

Investors are clearly keen to get in on the game, just in case the virtual reality world truly is the future. So which are the next big companies who will shape the direction of this nascent industry? Sifted asked some VCs with their eyes on the metaverse to share which early-stage companies they’re keeping tabs on. Here are the 13 startups they highlighted.

Namat Bahram — associate at Omers Ventures
OMERS Ventures is a global early-stage tech investor with around $2bn in assets under management. Founded in 2011, the firm is part of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension providers. The company typically invests at Series A to C across both consumer and B2B. Portfolio companies include Deliverect, which helps restaurants sell online, search engine DuckDuckGo and tech data platform Crunchbase.

Eleven Labs
Eleven Labs is a UK-based voice-tech business creating automatic dubbing for creators and “voice cloning” for individuals. It allows anyone to clone their voice and use it in the metaverse — for example, with an avatar that could translate text to the sound of the user’s own voice. The company is still at an early stage, with a focus on research work for now.

Condense Reality
Another UK-based startup, Condense Reality, is working on creating large-scale live events within virtual worlds, via cross-platform game engines Unity and Unreal. Condense captures and streams live 3D video into metaverse games and platforms, meaning that true-to-life live performances can be streamed directly into virtual worlds.

Moralis
A development platform powering decentralised applications (dApps), Moralis is building the infrastructure layer for game developers to embed NFT and blockchain mechanics into their games. It uses Javascript to build and host cross-chain dApps, and is working on releasing its own software development kit.

Hadean
Hadean runs an open platform for distributed cloud computing that says can power virtual worlds. The company offers the infrastructure needed for creators to build and monetise metaverse experiences, from running virtual events to hosting networking conferences and accessing Web3 gaming experiences. It’s secured partnerships with entertainment companies Sony and Minecraft.

Amadeus Capital team
Amadeus Capital Partners is a global technology investor that has backed more than 180 companies and raised over $1bn in investment over the last 25 years. Its UK team is largely focused on deep tech investments and has supported startups in the AR/VR space including XYZ Reality, which develops AR products for the construction sector.

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