Viewpoints: October 2023 wrap-up

Your monthly summary of metaverse investments and FOV Ventures updates

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.

This month saw us dive into AI in Gaming, the team travelled to Vienna for AWE EU to speak on an investor Q&A, and Dave wrote an article on how smart glasses may be part of our future. We will also cover:

  • FOV Ventures updates

  • Portfolio news

  • Portfolio companies that are hiring

  • Funding and acquisitions

  • Data points

We’ve got a lot to cover today, so let’s jump right in.

Dave Haynes, Petri Rajahalme and Sointu Karjalainen (FOV Ventures)

FOV Ventures updates

This month our current EIR Tiago Correia has been doing a deep dive on AI in Gaming, with an in-depth article entitled “AI In Gaming: Hype Or Reality” and a podcast with Marie Gerard from our portfolio company Scenario and Gordon Midwood from Anything.World.

AI was also a big theme at AWE in Vienna this month, and we were at the conference to meet new startups, contribute to the Investor Panel and check out why many think that XR is the interface for AI. A nice highlight was hosting a dinner with our friends at New Renaissance Ventures to meet both new and familiar faces over some Viennese schnitzel.

AWE dinner with our friends from New Renaissance Ventures

And inspired by seeing a lot of headworn AR at AWE, as well as by our recent Meta Connect: Investor Roundtable (watch here), we also wrote up our thoughts on the new Ray Ban Meta smart glasses. In summary, smart glasses are really starting to become a viable category, especially with the future addition of AI. But for several reasons, we’re still many years away from full mainstream AR. Here’s a little snippet:

There are many challenges that need solving (perhaps a subject for another post). But we are watching with interest as the category develops and have made some bets in companies like Doublepoint that are looking to solve one of the key challenges around user input.

But as we look towards the future, it’s still useful to reflect on where things are at today. Last month Meta launched its latest Ray Ban smart glasses, starting at $299. Whilst a long way off from being full AR glasses, they arguably represent the most mainstream head-worn computing devices available today. So we thought we better get some and try them out!

Dave Haynes

Portfolio news

  • announces $10m in funding to make 3D animation more accessible.

  • Ambient has launched their free and open source platform that allows anyone to build multiplayer games, deploy them to the web instantly.

  • Makea Games offered an early glimpse of their game Supermoves with great results. Join their Discord to get all the updates and join in with the current playtesting.

  • Scenario was featured as one of the innovating gaming startups in the 2024 Game Changers list, put together by Lightspeed Ventures and GamesBeat.

  • We’ll kick off Slush with our drinks on 28th November (RSVP here). And keep your eyes peeled for some big upcoming news:

    • One of our portfolio companies in stealth will be going public for the first time. Expect a mainstage announcement and a big party 🥳

    • Doublepoint, who have been working on wrist-based gesture input for spatial computing, will be announcing an exciting new product on the mainstage. 📢

Portfolio companies that are hiring

  • Makea Games is hiring for several new positions including 3D animator, Level Designer, DevOps engineers and Senior Programmer.

  • Iconic is hiring to disrupt the AAA industry with a team from Square Enix, NaturalMotion, CD Projekt RED, Oculus, DeepMind, Sega, and Rockstar.

  • Doublepoint is hiring for their User Testing team.

  • RLTY is hiring a Social Media Manager internship.

Funding and acquisitions

Brilliant Labs raises $3m for its AI-powered AR glasses.

We saw a lot of XR-related updates this month. Brilliant Labs raised $3m to build AR glasses that use generative AI, while Mojo Vision - who works on micro-LED technologies - raised $44m in funding. If specs are not your thing, then XPANCEO raised $40m to launch the world’s first smart contact lenses with AR capabilities. And if you want to help those in need, then Strolll raised £2.1m to use AR and help Parkinson’s patients. Fast Travel Games, a VR gaming company, raised $3.7m to work on a new IP.

3D assets saw attention as well. Threedium, which helps to distribute 3D assets, raised $11m in funding, while Copresence raised $6m to help with 3D avatar creation. Other miscellaneous updates include Upland, a metaverse “super app”, that raised $7m in funding, and Neuranics - which specialises in sensors - raised £1.9m. Finally, Arctop raised $10m to work on brain-computer interface technologies.

Data points

Photo credit: Road to VR

  • $132bn: Estimated spending on edtech by 2032, with a large chunk expected to be taken up by immersive technologies.

  • $4.8bn: Estimated value of the interactive fitness market by 2030, which will also include immersive-related technologies.

  • $900bn: Overall value of the metaverse market by 2030, according to Bain & Company.

And that’s everything! We hope to see you soon!

Dave Haynes, Petri Rajahalme and Sointu Karjalainen (FOV Ventures)