What to Know about the Metaverse Startup Ecosystem

For any start-up company working in the gaming or virtual reality industry, the “metaverse” is a benefit for marketing and funding. The metaverse, a term coined by Neal Stephenson, a science writer, refers to a universe that is powered by a computer or the internet. The metaverse became a popular term recently due to Facebook’s name change to Meta, a symbol of their increasing interest in developing metaverse technology. 

The metaverse has actually come up before, but never really launched. Early 2000s games like Second Life created virtual reality worlds for users to play in, but it has only been recently with the rise of online video games like Fortnite, that the metaverse is becoming more memorable. Thanks to big data companies like Meta and Microsoft, the metaverse has some real funding to it, in the billions of dollars’ worth. For start-up companies, and those thinking of investing in metaverse startups, it’s important to understand what this ecosystem looks like. 

Some companies are worried that the metaverse market will be dominated by big data companies like Meta, who have more funding to spend on developing this new technology. Other experts are predicting that the metaverse will be inhabited by many startups, with multiple cryptocurrencies being used, as well as collaboration between many companies. However, this second theory is in conflict with the first, as Meta is proposing a metaverse where they have the main controls. 

For startup companies, the metaverse is currently still in its early phases and is about designing and coding. We currently don’t have ways to seamlessly transition between apps, and the market for VR apps is still quite empty, which allows more opportunities for metaverse startups to get their foot in the door. For investors, this is an excellent opportunity to fund a metaverse company in the early stages, hopefully getting a bigger ROI in the long run. The ecosystem of metaverse startups is rather promising, as the technology is still years away, so there is time for smaller startups to have an opportunity to make their debut. 

Many metaverse startups are trying to bridge more than one sector. Such companies like Wolf3D, which makes personalized 3D avatars for virtual and augmented reality, can sell their products to gaming companies, or virtual reality apps, or other metaverse products. Many startups looking to fit into this industry may want to develop a similar strategy. 

Photo Courtesy of Freepik.com

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Kenna Castleberry is the Science Communicator at JILA (formerly known as the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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