Virtualness, a mobile-first platform designed to help creators and brands navigate the Web3 world, has secured over $8M in seed funding led by Blockchange Ventures.
Other investors who participated include Polygon Ventures (invested in Immunefi and thirdweb), Micron Ventures, Perot Jain, VC3 DAO, Carolyn Everson, Randi Zuckerberg, Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), Amit Jain, Firoozeh Dumas, Neeraj Sagar, Satyen Kothari, Stacy Brown-Philpot and others.
How will the funding be used?
The company will use the funds to hire talents in engineering, product, and design in the United States, India, Singapore, Dubai, and other parts of the world, expand platform support to additional blockchains, and integrate with offline, as well as, online experiences, including metaverse platforms.
“Creators are the ultimate entrepreneurs. We’ve been at the heart of the Web2 ecosystem, building and onboarding creators and brands, and we’re on our journey to do it again for Web3. People are spending more and more time in various digital worlds and have the desire for customized experiences, individual identities, expressions, and personalized commerce.” says Reddy and Doshi. “We’re excited to see how creators and brands mimic various physical experiences in digital forms and in newer ways. This is about building a new economy – unlocked by branded digital collectibles that deliver unique experiences, capability, and value. Our belief is that everything that can move from a physical form to digital will move.”
Navigating Web3 for creators
Virtualness was co-founded in 2022 by Kirthiga Reddy (former Managing Director of Facebook (now Meta) India & South Asia and former Investment Partner at Softbank Investment Advisers) and Saurabh Doshi (former Head of Meta, Asia-Pacific for Entertainment; Emerging Markets & Greater China Region for Creators and former Vice President at Viacom Group & Star India).
Based out of San Francisco, Virtualness is building the playbook for easy design, efficient sharing, and seamless digital commerce in the world of Web3. The company plans to launch the platform in early 2023.
According to the company, authenticated creators and brands can use Virtualness to design, mint, and showcase branded digital collectibles, share across their social media channels, interact with their community, and unlock new channels for monetisation.
“Education, personalisation, discovery, integration with Web2 and Web3 platforms, and a mobile-first experience are core to the platform,” says the company. To develop the platform, Virtualness has bootstrapped a proof of concept on the Polygon chain.
Backed by Zuckerberg and Nas Daily
Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), who has 50M followers, along with Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, is helping shape the product from the concept stage.
“Kirthiga and Saurabh lead with hustle, heart, and vision. I have had a ringside view of how they shepherded the transition to a digital and mobile world and onboarded a range of global creators and brands to Web2. The depth of their relationships with creators, brands, and the entire ecosystem is unparalleled. Their shared experiences and impact over the last decade give me absolute conviction that they will do the same as they unlock the power of Web3 for creators and brands.” says Yassin. “Typically, countries outside of the US and Europe get access to features much later. I am confident that this team will unlock opportunities for creators and their fans no matter where they live. Kirthiga and Saurabh have the rare experience of scaling innovative, user-friendly technology globally, with a focus on creator monetization.”
Additional advisers include Ben Yu, CTO of Curious Addys, Jim Louderback, former GM of VidCon, Mai Akiyoshi, CEO of Curious Addys, and Shiva Rajaraman, VP Product of OpenSea.
“This is a time of great transformation in the future of work, economic opportunity, and drivers of social change.” says Cailleach De Weingart-Ryan, GP, Blockchange Ventures. “Blockchain will have a tremendous impact on businesses and society, and we believe Virtualness will be a leader in the next chapter of the generational technology shift the Blockchain represents. Kirthiga and Saurabh’s experiences are custom-built to help those who want to tap into Web3 but don’t know how. Their ability to navigate cross-cultural differences, expertise on the utility of the Blockchain, and creator-obsessed approach to building product is the triple threat needed to accelerate adoption in Web3 at a global scale. As early investors in all aspects of the blockchain revolution, we look forward to partnering with Kirthiga and Saurabh and amplifying their efforts to democratize and unlock value-creation for creators and brands of any size and stage.”