By Riley Kaminer
When I got an invitation to interview Mytaverse co-founder and CEO Kenneth Landau in the metaverse, I was skeptical.
It would take me outside of my comfort zone of Zoom and Google Meet interviews. How would it stack up to an in-person encounter? I had no frame of reference whatsoever, so I decided to approach it with an open mind.
After booting up Mytaverse’s website, I was prompted to create a digital avatar. Channeling my inner Tony Stark, I decided to don an outfit reminiscent of Iron Man himself.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself (virtually) walking around what looked to be an outdoor conference center. Landau beamed himself in and gave me the grand tour, featuring an auditorium, cafe, and executive briefing center.
This environment was developed by the Mytaverse team to show potential clients – enterprises – what their own metaverse could look like. The idea is that users can build their own digital world and import their own digital assets.
“With our artificial intelligence technology, users can ingest 3D assets in 8 hours,” Landau told Refresh Miami. This stands in stark contrast to competitors who can take up to a week to do the same process.
The origins of Mytaverse can be traced back to early 2020, when Venezuelan-American businessman Kenneth Landau made an investment into a virtual reality business founded by Jaime Lopez, which originally focused on experiences for musicians such as Tiesto. (If you’ve partied at Ultra before, chances are you’ve experienced Lopez’s work.)
Fast forward to today and the Mytaverse team has developed a scalable, easily deployable system to bring businesses into the metaverse. Crucially, the platform is hardware agnostic, meaning users can fire it up on any device they already have, including their computer or mobile phone.
From early traction to platform expansion
The platform already has a host of high profile clients such as Pepsi, aviation companies Dassault and Asian Sky Group, and architect Zaha Hadid.
Landau noted that Pepsi in particular has seen the value of convening employees in the metaverse. The beverage giant told Landau that during their large virtual events, they typically lose 12% of their audience every hour. During their Mytaverse event, however, they only lost 5% of their total audience.
“Pepsi told me, ‘Mytaverse made this happen for us,’’ Landau recalled. “‘This is the way we should be engaging. The metaverse is allowing us to engage in a way that we could not engage before.’”
In the first year of full operations, Landau said that Mytaverse has surpassed $1 million ARR. So far, 15 large brands have signed onto Mytaverse’s platform, with an additional 10 currently in the proof of concept stage. Mytaverse now has 42 employees working in 22 cities across 14 countries. Seven of these staff members are based in South Florida, with a few more to come.
Expanding their range of digital offerings
Since we last caught up with the Mytaverse team, the platform has expanded significantly from a product perspective.
Top of the list is a collaboration with Dolby to improve the sound on the platform. Depending on the position of avatars, the sound changes dynamically – further creating the ‘in-person’ feel of the platform.
Mytaverse has also integrated metaverse 3D avatar creator Ready Player Me into their platform, meaning that I could take my Iron Man twin into other metaverse environments.
Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in Mytaverse’s platform. For instance, it enables Mytaverse to create 3D content from 2D content. It also will help enable users to deploy their Mytaverse environment without interfacing directly with the Mytaverse team.
Mytaverse plans to start raising a Series A, which they hope to close by the beginning of the third quarter. This fundraise will enable the company to further develop their platform, particularly when it comes to the AI features. Mytaverse has so far raised $10.3 million, including a $7.6 million seed round led by Blumberg Capital.
Miami at the forefront of the future for Mytaverse
“It’s insane,” Landau said of the growth of Miami’s tech ecosystem. “You’re finding VCs and investors and web3 in every capacity.” Even from a talent perspective – one of the biggest concerns of startup founders – Landau asserted that Miami has been a big draw for top technologists.
“I think that Florida in the next two or three years will be very comparable to the west coast in terms of technology. Miami especially is becoming a center of technology.”
Looking forward, Landau said he is excited about bringing people together in a way that has not been done before.
“When I finish this meeting and people ask me what I was doing for the last hour, I will say that I spent time with Riley having a conversation. That feeling you cannot replicate in other technology, and that’s what we’re most proud of.”
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