SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Virtualness, a mobile-first platform designed to help creators and brands navigate the complex world of Web3, announced today it has secured over $8M in seed funding. The fundraise was led by Blockchange Ventures, and joined by Polygon Ventures, Micron Ventures, Impact Venture Capital, VC3 DAO, Carolyn Everson, Randi Zuckerberg, Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), Amit Jain, Harsh Jain, Shayamal Vallabhjee, Stacy Brown-Philpot, Tom Cheung and other thought-leaders.
There are more than 300M creators worldwide, half of them joining the creator economy in the last two years. Despite this extraordinary migration, these creators lack even the most basic tools to scale their businesses and easily capture the value-creation opportunities that blockchain and Web3 represent. Centered on the ethos of “empathy at the core,” Virtualness puts creators first, and is building the playbook for easy design, efficient sharing and seamless digital commerce.
Upon launch in early 2023, authenticated creators and brands will use the platform to design, mint and showcase branded digital collectibles; easily share across their social media channels; directly interact with their fans and community; enable unique experiences; and unlock new channels for monetization. Education, personalization, discovery, integration with Web2 and Web3 platforms and a mobile-first experience are core to the platform.
Virtualness is co-founded by Kirthiga Reddy, employee #1 and former Managing Director of Facebook India & South Asia and former Investment Partner at Softbank Investment Advisers, along with 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. Reddy and Doshi will leverage their decades of global entrepreneurial experience partnering with creators, media, brands, and tech 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.” said 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.”
Reddy and Doshi are working closely with creators to inform how they build their product. Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), a beloved creator with more than 50M followers across social media platforms and an investor in Virtualness, is one of the tech-forward creators 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.” said 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.”
With a core engineering team with a successful track record of collaboration on prior start-ups, Virtualness has bootstrapped a proof of concept on the Polygon chain. The company will use this first round of funding to support a number of key areas, including new hires in engineering, product, and design in the United States, India, Singapore, Dubai and other parts of the world – helping the company to innovate, expand platform support to additional blockchains, integrate with offline and online experiences — including metaverse platforms — and launch its offerings.
“This is a time of great transformation in the future of work, economic opportunity, and drivers of social change.” said 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.”
Zuckerberg and Yassin serve as Advisors for the company, along with 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. They have been at the forefront of creator economy trends and bring extensive expertise across diverse fields including media, art, entertainment, blockchain and web3. Their guidance has been instrumental in taking Virtualness from concept to reality and will continue to help shape the global vision.
Virtualness will roll out core capabilities for creators and brands when the platform launches in 2023.
Virtualness is a mobile-first platform designed to help creators and brands navigate the complex world of Web3. Founded in 2022 by industry leaders Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi, Virtualness puts creators first and is building the playbook for easy design, efficient sharing and seamless digital commerce. Authenticated creators and brands can use Virtualness to design, mint and showcase branded digital collectibles; easily share across their social media channels; directly interact with their community; enable unique experiences and unlock new channels for monetization. Funding led by Blockchange Ventures with participation from Polygon Ventures, F7 Ventures, Micron Ventures, Oceans Ventures, Neythri Futures Fund, Carolyn Everson, Randi Zuckerberg, Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), Nikki Farb, Stacy Brown-Philpot, and other thought-leaders. To learn more visit virtualness.io.