- Blockchange Ventures led the funding round.
- Virtualness enables creators and brands to design, mint and showcase digital collectibles.
- The platform will launch in early 2023.
Former Meta execs Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi co-founded Web3 startup, Virtualness, which today announced the closing of an $8 million seed round led by Blockchange Ventures.
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 others participated in the round.
Randi Zuckerberg and Nusier 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.
Kirthiga Reddy was the former managing director of Facebook India & South Asia and former investment partner at Softbank Investment Advisers, while Saurabh Doshi was the former head of Meta, Asia-Pacific for Entertainment; Emerging Markets & Greater China Region for Creators and former Vice President at Viacom Group & Star India.
The two co-founders are leveraging their decades of global entrepreneurial experience partnering with creators, media, brands, and tech platforms to help them navigate the creator economy with Virtualness.
The startup provides tools for creators to design their own digital collectibles, which can then be minted and showcased on the Virtualness mobile platform. Virtualness will use this first round of funding to make new hires 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 and online experiences.
“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.”
Upon launch in early 2023, authenticated creators and brands will use the platform to create their 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.
Arab-Israeli vlogger Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), who has more than 50 million followers across social media platforms and is an investor in Virtualness, is one of the creators helping shape Virtualness’ product from the concept stage.
“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,” said Nusier Yassin.
Having already bootstrapped a proof of concept on the Polygon chain, Virtualness will roll out core capabilities for creators and brands when the platform launches in 2023.
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