Ready Player Me, a Tallinn-based cross-game avatar platform, announced on Tuesday that it has secured $56M (approximately €56.4M) in a Series B round of funding led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Notable investors participating in the round include David Baszucki (co-founder of Roblox), Justin Kan (co-founder of Twitch), Sebastian Knutsson & Riccardo Zacconi (King Games co-founders), sports and entertainment company Endeavor, Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Ventures, D’Amelio family, Punk6529, Snowfro, Collab Currency, Plural, Konvoy Ventures, and Robin Chan (co-founder of Fractal).
The announcement comes eight months after the company raised $13M (approximately €13M) in a Series A round back in December last year.
Ready Player Me: What you need to know
The Estonian company believes that metaverse is not a single app or a game, rather, it’s a network of thousands of virtual worlds people visit to play, work, and collaborate.
Ready Player Me says it makes no sense for users to create a new avatar for each game and experience. Instead, one avatar should be able to travel with you across the metaverse.
“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.
He adds, “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 monetize with avatar assets, and build tools for individual creators to participate in the cross-game avatar marketplace.”
Founded in 2020, Ready Player Me built an avatar system 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.
The company has over 5M avatars across approximately 3000 partners, including VRChat, Spatial, Somnium Space, RTFKT, and many more.
The company is also working 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 Ready Player Me avatar system is the cumulative product of over eight years of research and development, says the company.
The Estonian company used to build custom avatar systems and technology for enterprise customers like Tencent, Verizon, HTC, Wargaming, and more.
As a result, the company has collected a proprietary database of 20,000+ face scans captured with the company’s own hardware-based 3D scanners. These scans enabled Ready Player Me to build a deep-learning solution that can accurately predict and render realistic faces from a single 2D photo.
The company’s platform can run across desktop, web, and mobile, and is available to developers through a robust SDK and API.
Andreessen Horowitz: What you need to know
Based out of California, Andreessen Horowitz (known as a16z) is a stage-agnostic venture capital firm with $19.2B in assets under management across multiple funds, including the $1.4B Bio funds, the $3.1B Crypto funds, and the Cultural Leadership Fund.
The company invests in seed to late-stage technology companies across the consumer, enterprise, bio/healthcare, crypto, and fintech spaces.
The company recently invested in WeWork founder Adam Neumann’s new company, Flow.
“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,” says Jonathan Lai, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.