As renowned futurist Matthew Ball defines it, the Metaverse is “a persistent and interconnected network of 3D virtual worlds that will eventually serve as the gateway to most online experiences and also underpin much of the physical world.”
As you can imagine, creating an entire virtual universe comes with a near-infinite number of opportunities.
For example, the virtual 3-D world, Second Life, has a GDP of roughly $650M, which is more than some countries. That’s just one virtual world with nowhere near the ambitions for ubiquitous adoption that platforms like Meta have.
Fortune Business Insights predicts that the metaverse will grow by $1,527 billion by 2029. So, it’s not a stretch to imagine metaverse worlds emerging with billions or trillions in GDP, competing with some of the most affluent countries in the world.
As a nascent concept, its potential is still virtually untapped at this time. This puts new and innovative startups in a prime position to grab the metaverse by the horns and run with it.
What can Startups Do in the Virtual Space?
The metaverse has the potential to disrupt and revolutionize entire industries, from retail to healthcare. While we’ve barely scratched the surface, there are already several ways in which startups leverage the metaverse. It would be possible to mention all the things startups could do in the metaverse, but these are the main opportunities going forward:
Creating immersive experiences
Ask almost any of the metaverse pioneers, and the end goal is to create online, virtual experiences that are every bit as rich and immersive as those in the real world. But how does that translate into business opportunities?
Gucci, for example, created an entire area called Gucci Town in the metaverse world, Roblox. This allows users to explore a branded space and learn more about The House. Others plan to create entire virtual shopping malls, physical retail stores, events, etc.
Users can explore these spaces using technologies like VR and AR. This allows brands to connect with users on an intimate level without them having to be physically present. Users can interact, work, and shop right from the comfort of their homes.
Helping other companies get started in the metaverse
With rapid growth and excitement behind it, businesses will soon be clamoring to become part of the metaverse. A presence in the metaverse is likely to become a must to remain competitive, similar to having a website today.
This means that companies across all verticals, sizes and levels of technological maturity will want to get in on the action. Most of them won’t have the internal skills, experience, or leadership to create an effective metaverse presence.
This opens the door for a whole meta-industry of service providers that specialize in helping others get started in the metaverse. The possibilities are endless, whether it’s selling virtual real estate, consulting, technical support, marketing, or launching services.
Sell products and services
According to JP Morgan, $54 billion is spent on virtual goods every year. Clearly, people are already willing to spend their hard-earned money to purchase virtual goods and services. This number will swell as confidence and adoption of the metaverse grows.
The virtual retail experience can enjoy the best of both the physical and digital retail worlds. People can have an in-store shopping experience, for example, trying on clothes or looking at a menu, combined with the ease and convenience of online shopping.
Of course, the metaverse can purchase both virtual or physical products and services this way for use in the virtual or physical world. Companies can improve their customer LTV through subscriptions and intelligence-based upsells or cross-sells.
Marketing and advertising
Marketers are constantly striving to make ads and outreach campaigns more engaging. As a platform built on providing immersive experiences, there are few better ways to engage potential leads than the metaverse.
The most obvious way is to put virtual representations of physical advertising methods, like billboards, flyers, or shopfronts. You can even use product placement within metaverse worlds with branded goods.
Finally, you can host virtual events, like meetups, hackathons, conferences, etc. Virtual meetups have the advantage that attendance is not constrained by distance, transportation, or venue capacity.
Examples of Metaverse Startup Companies
Now that we’ve covered some general use cases let’s look at how startups are embracing the metaverse today. Here are some of the exciting metaverse startup companies to look out for:
● Crucible: Crucible is committed to the idea of an “Open Metaverse” that improves lives, builds equality, and creates connections. In other words, a positive metaverse where users are the architects and which leads to social good. Crucible provides tools, guidance, and standards to help bring about that future.
● Supersocial: SuperSocial develops and publishes next-generation games built on metaverse platforms, like Roblox, Web3, etc. They aim to create digital communities to play, explore, socialize, and have meaningful experiences.
● MetaMundo: MetaMundo offers a marketplace for creators and artists to share the r 3D NFTs and for others to buy them. MetaMundo ensures that artists always receive royalties from secondary sales of their work while educating the public about the true potential of NFTs.
● Ikonz: Ikonz is a metaverse-based wealth-building platform. In its own words, it helps “demystify” concepts like the blockchain, NFTs, and the metaverse itself. The goal is to help customers take advantage of the metaverse's potential financial opportunities by better managing, selling, and monetizing their virtual assets.
Defining the Future
As you can see, it’s impossible to sum up the potential of the metaverse through a few use cases and examples of existing startups. Not only are the possibilities boundless, but the metaverse is rapidly evolving, changing what we think is possible by the day. As a newly emerging field, startups play a crucial role in defining the future of the metaverse.