Viewpoints: January 2023 wrap-up

Metaverse focused news, insights and investments from FOV Ventures

Welcome to this month’s curated digest of viewpoints, news and investment activity covering the Metaverse, XR and Spatial Computing - brought to you by FOV Ventures. We’re always on the lookout for fellow investors and founders, so if you find the digest useful, please forward us along! This week, we will be covering: 

  • FOV update

  • Portfolio news

  • Funding and acquistions

  • Data points

Dave Haynes & Petri Rajahalme (FOV Ventures)

FOV Ventures update 

Last year was a big year for us. We launched the fund, and having looked at over 500 Metaverse related startups, we deployed around €2.5m into 9 of them. We also launched our community-driven DVRSTY initiative to increase our pipeline of more diverse founders building the next generation of the Internet. Read our 2022 annual review here.

We're excited to head into 2023 and feeling cautiously optimistic. As the Metaverse hyperbole quietens, the signal to noise ratio increases and we expect to find quality founders building category defining startups within our broader thesis. To guide our search, we put pen to paper and outlined some of the areas that have us most excited right now, from Generative AI to Consumer VR to the Metaverse at Work. Read our 2023 outlook here.

Meanwhile, both FOV partners took to the video screen this month. Whilst Dave spoke with Startup Wiseguys about his hopes (and fears) for 2023, Petri was recording his wisdom on fundraising for a new web3 masterclass series put together by our friends at the Good Cartel. 

Portfolio news

Want to see our investments? Check out our full portfolio here

  • opened up the Beta for its iPhone app, which anyone can now access. More than 10,000 users have already signed up for unlimited free usage, which runs through to the public launch of the app in March 2023.

  • Virtex appeared in ARPost, exploring the startup's history and how it's now hosting major e-sports events in its virtual stadiums

  • Port 6 had a successful CES showing off its latest demos for next-gen gesture based input

Funding and acquisitions

Credit: Gemba

January saw a fair few updates for infrastructure-related companies. Trezi, a metaverse platform for architecture, raised $2m in funding; while Worlds Enterprises, an industrial metaverse platform, raised $21m as well. Smaller players got some love as well; Psychic VR Lab, a metaverse platform based in Japan, raised $780k in funding. Digital twins saw some interest; Slingshot Simulations, a 'simulations as a service' company, raised £3m to keep growing. Finally, Spatial Labs, a technology infrastructure company, raised $10m to continue its successful trend upwards. 

Despite a more frosty market, consumer-facing compies also received support, likely due to the underlying potential of immersive technologies. Emperia, a virtual e-commerce company, raised $10m in funding, while Plai Labs, a web3 social platform, raised $32m. What caught our eyes was the Neopets Metaverse, which raised $4m to grow its web3 gaming company. Another outside player was House of Blueberry, a fashion-related company, who raised $6m to grow into the metaverse. 

Both VR and AR received support as well. Gemba, a VR training company, raised $18m in funding, while Xander raised $1.4m in funding to launch its AR captioning glasses. Finally, Prisms VR, which aims at improving math literacy, raised $12.5m. We're a huge fan of companies striving to tackle wider problems and elevate people across countries through immersive education. If you're building something in this area then let us know!

Data points

  • One million: The number of people who purchased Among Us VR, and play 44,000 daily matches.

  • Two million: The number of people who purchased Gorilla Tag VR, the most popular game on the Meta Quest store.

  • $2 billion: Nasdaq's calculations for the number of metaverse deals in 2022

  • 23 AR trends: for 2023 -- highly recommended read from Niantic's Tom Emrich that explores whats to come this year for augmented reality.

That’s all for now. Have a great February, and as always, please do send us your feedback, comments, or any interesting new startups you know of in this space. 

Dave Haynes & Petri Rajahalme (FOV Ventures)