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Exclusible acquired Polycount and raised $5m in strategic funding. 

Your weekly briefing on the metaverse // 24 October 2022
 
I am currently in Japan, around Tokyo – and I am hyped for the rest of the trip.

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Exclusible acquisitions alongside PICO announcements

EXCLUSIVE: Exclusible acquired Polycount and raised $5m in strategic funding. 

  • For background, Exclusible is a premium e-retailer for digital collectible assets (such as NFTs and web3-related projects) in the luxury space. Meanwhile, Polycount is a metaverse builder responsible for the majority of projects on Spatial.io. 
  • Why was Polycount acquired? Michael Potts, CEO of Polycount, comments: “The partnership of Exclusible and Polycount will bring together two world-class teams knowledgeable, talented, and innovative in the metaverse, web3, and [the] XR space. Their combined efforts will set the standard for metaverse activations and experiences.”
  • The strategic funding is tied to the same purpose. The funding was raised by a menagerie of differing investors, such as White Star Capital, Tioga Capital, Shilling VC, Stanislas de Quercize (former CEO of Cartier), Tad Smith (former CEO of Sotheby’s), Dan Holzmann (co-owner of FC-Basel), and Joel Hazan (Managing Director & Partner at The Boston Consulting Group) among others.
  • Looks to be a sound investment. I am not surprised to see more companies investing in capabilities to tap into the metaverse and web3, and the luxury sector remains strong. One to revisit in a years’ time, to see how the journey continues. 
  • Share the news with colleagues. 

PICO announced the PICO 4 Enterprise, to be generally available in early December. 

  • Hot on the heels of the Quest Pro, the new VR headset also offers face and eye tracking for companies who want to step up their capabilities. Reports say the headset is very comfortable, usable, and sleek.
  • PICO is focusing more on Europe, while Meta holds a vice-like grip of the US market. The company is also forming strong relationships across the continent; from my own experiences in the UK, PICO is tightly connected to some consultancies and even entertainment arcades. It is clear that PICO has a plan, though on the consumer side, it will take time for developers to develop the VR software which will help push more units out of the gate.
  • With a lower cost, PICO may be favoured for rolling out fleets of headsets for enterprises (depending on the necessary software and applications of the hardware itself).
  • FYI: Press materials indicate that PICO uses all-caps for its name, rather than lower-caps (Pico). 

What do you think of Exclusible’s announcement? Join the discussion and meet like-minded professionals on the Immersive Wire Discord. 


Supporting Web3 Daily and Virtual Vector

I read a fair few newsletters, and on the metaverse, web3 and crypto, I am very careful on the ones I trust. With that said, I fully endorse this one, which I wanted to profile today.

Web3 Daily is a (free) newsletter where you can find the most important and interesting Web3 and crypto news, translated into plain English. I am cautious on the crypto side, but this newsletter gives a great summary. Get it straight to your inbox here.

The other is a brand new one from Mathew Olsen, called Virtual Vector. It covers VR and AR, and comes out once per week. He is an excellent writer, and I highly recommend his work.


Other stories

Got stories? Do let me know at tom (at) immersivewire (dot) com. 

  • Adobe debuted new XR tools at the conference, which help creators make VR and AR experiences.
  • Brave Group (the parent company of Metalab) announced the April 2023 opening of ME Campus, a learning space for students.
  • Didimo raised $7.1m in funding, to develop its capabilities with digital twins.
    • The company says that it can turn 2D portraits into 3D human avatars in under a minute.
  • FIVARS (the Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories) launches its show in Toronto between 28 and 30 October.
  • Floating Point Gallery will present Art Toronto with the first metaverse experience presented at a fair in Canada.
  • Interpol launched the world’s first ‘metaverse’ for global law enforcement.
  • Maestro: The Masterclass, a VR game revolving around orchestra conducting, is now available for free on Quest 2’s Applab.
  • Mighty Yell Studios, the makers of A Fisherman’s Tale, unveiled their next project called A Knight in the Attic, which will release in 2023.
    • As I loved A Fisherman’s Tale, I cannot wait for the next title.
  • New York Times published its findings on using XR tools for creating immersive stories.
    • I spoke to Chloe Desaulles about this, and it is fascinating to see what the R&D side of the company is up to. I was also struck by the amount of focus and attention that the company is putting into immersive storytelling, a constant since the late 2010s.
  • On the Edge backed Forager, which uses VR and a ‘first-of-its-kind interactive volumetric time-lapse installation’ to show the world of mushrooms.
  • OVER is partnering with Decentraland to host the second Metaverse Music Festival, happening between 10 and 13 November.
    • The festival will feature performances by Regard and Nicola Fasano (among others).
  • Raindance Immersive, a London-based festival with XR content, runs from 26 October to 26 November. 
  • Snap announced it will focus more on monetising its AR work in a recent shareholders meeting. 
    • Fun fact: nearly 70% of its daily active users use AR on the platform. 
  • SQUARS launched an all-in-one WebAR content creation platform, its first product.
  • SyncReality announced the alpha version of its Unity-based spatial design tool (after two years of stealth development).
  • Valkyrie Industries announced the Valkyrie EIR armbands, which simulate muscle resistance during training. 
    • Disclaimer: I supported its announcement from a PR and comms perspective. 
  • VITURE raised $10m in funding to help produce its VITURE One XR glasses.
  • WHIST, an immersive VR arts piece inspired by Sigmund Freud’s dream theory, is running in London until 30 October. 
  • XRHealth and HTC announced today a distraction therapy VR platform to help patients during painful or anxiety-provoking medical procedures. 
  • XRSI announced a partnership with Friends of Europe, a think tank in Brussels. 

Looking for assistance

Want to receive help from readers of the Immersive Wire? Send an email with ‘looking for assistance’ in the subject line to tom (at) immersivewire (dot) com.

  • Pavithra Rajesh, a journalist from Northeastern University in Boston, is looking to interview people about the metaverse and/or immersive reality for a story she is working on. She’s looking for academic experts, authors, employees, consumers. etc. who have any experience studying and/or working in this field of emerging technologies. DM her on Twitter for more information, or email rajesh (dot) p (at) northeastern (dot) edu.

Find the right mentors

Fabio Maffioli, Head of Base Camp at Outlier Ventures

What is your background?

Supporting great founders has always been the main driver of my career choices. Right after graduating I joined SWIFT, the financial messaging company, to connect their product teams with the most innovative fintech startups. That sparked my passion for entrepreneurship. Then during a trip to Silicon Valley, I came to learn about accelerator programs and I fell in love with the idea of being able to support multiple founders at once, helping them to really accelerate their growth during a short but intense period of time.

In the past six years, I’ve run programs at Techstars, Meta and now work at Outlier Ventures (OV) who are the global leading Web3 accelerator and investor. At OV, I lead Base Camp which is our accelerator program, where we focus on supporting Web3, Metaverse and NFT focused founders and projects. 

I’ve worked with more than 200 startups in my career and that’s what still gives me the energy to get out of bed in the morning and do my job. 

What are you working on, and what’s a key learning that you’ve had from it? 

Working with our full Base Camp team at OV, I’m currently focused on supporting the strategy and execution of our accelerator programs. As a team, we are constantly looking to improve the experience we deliver to founders. It is a very busy time for us following a year of huge growth and we are currently working with the highest number of teams yet within Base Camp.  We have around 35-45 teams taking part in our various programs including one where we have partnered with FARFETCH  and have focused on shaping the future of Web3 luxury commerce. 

We have condensed several years of applied learning into a three month program to help early stage Web3 startups entering the space, navigate its complexities and nuances, explore new business models, find product-market-fit and stimulate community growth. It’s exciting to witness their progress as they launch new innovations that are revolutionising the way we will interact with the web as we know it in the future. 

We have also just started opening up applications for our accelerator programs kicking off in January and have launched our first thematic based accelerator program focused on building using ZK technology. We hope that founders applying to the program will be excited about the possibility ZK technology offers.

Having a “founder-first” mindset has always helped me take the most critical decisions and it’s the main ingredient to succeed in this business. Whatever I do, I passionately believe in the power of founders to impact positive change on society and that has always helped me create lasting relationships with them. 

If you had to give one piece of advice, what would you give? 

In the early-stage of the life of a founder, finding the right mentors can be critical. Having people around you to help give advice and be a soundboard for ideas can make a huge difference. A mentor is someone who helps you get unstuck, someone who listens with an open-mind, challenges you and helps you avoid making the mistakes that they themselves made. 

Mentors are driven by the desire to give back and not by financial goals, so choose carefully. 

If you want to know more about Outlier Ventures’ accelerator program Base Camp, then click here to find out more. 


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Meditative with the VIVE Flow. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske

Tom Ffiske

Editor, Immersive Wire

Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.