How to Invest in the MetaVerse: An Interview with Serena Capital Principal Olivier Martret


How to Invest in the MetaVerse: An Interview with Serena Capital Principal Olivier Martret

The market for metaverse technology (like Virtual Reality, VR) is steadily increasing. This provides new opportunities for venture capitalists to invest early, maximizing their ROIs at a later date. One of these venture capital funds is Serena Capital, which has been heavily pursuing investment opportunities in this market. “We have created a specific investment thesis for the gaming and entertainment industry, two years ago now,” explained Serena Principal Olivier Martret. “We are mainly focused on companies where social interaction is the backbone. For us, the metaverse will occur only if social interactions are part of the value chain.”

Serena Capital is one of many venture capital funds investing in these specific markets. It’s no surprise, as both the gaming and social media industries already earn billions in revenue and are predicted to significantly increase. According to some experts, the global gaming market is set to reach around $256.97 billion by 2025. Similarly, the social media market’s current worth is around $500 billion and is only going up. These numbers look promising for many potential investors looking for new start-ups to fund. There are many reasons that the entertainment and social media markets specifically are increasing, but the biggest contributor is the forced isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has pushed people to socialize and play virtually, becoming used to using the internet more. This in turn drives these markets up in revenue value. 

While many venture capital funds are somewhat wary of what the metaverse may actually mean, others are confident in it bringing new financial success. “If we take the origin of the word, it is the contraction of Meta and Universe: Meta which means a metamorphose, something which will change into a different form and Universe which reminds us of our reality, our world,” Market added. “In that way, we can define the metaverse as a digital version of our real world which means finding the same concept: socialization, economy, ownership, and entertainment. Nevertheless, a metaverse allows users to develop another concept, which allows people to be the actor of this ‘new world:’ everyone will have the tools to be more than a consumer, but also a creator.” These extra dimensions of agency in a virtual environment are no doubt able to attract more users, as individuals can create and explore in new ways that are impossible in our current reality.

As the metaverse market expands, the opportunities for investment continue to grow. The market ecosystem is full of metaverse startups developing the technology of tomorrow, whether it’s hardware like VR headsets or software like avatar creation programs. Because the metaverse market uses a combination of software and hardware, it allows for a natural diversification of investments. This combination of software and hardware allows venture capital funds to pick and choose what to invest in based on comfortability. According to Martret: “As a VC fund, we will continue to invest in studios and software dedicated to the entertainment market. Nevertheless, we will not focus investment on hardware as we are not experts on this model.” Serena VC is letting the metaverse market help narrow down options that will best fit their investment goals.

Investing in the metaverse isn’t without risks, as questions about privacy and timeline are commonly asked. For most venture capital firms, it’s important to shop around and find a startup that fits the expertise of the fund, or has similar financial goals. With the metaverse market ecosystem growing significantly, there are no shortages of companies to invest in. “This is for me a new paradigm: which could reshuffle the cards,” Martret said when thinking about the impact of the metaverse.

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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