Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

We’ve seen the rise of no-code and low-code platforms being applied to any number of applications and use cases. What would happen if this thinking were applied to metaverse-style virtual worlds? What would be built?

Certainly, with Apple’s recent announcement of the launch of the Apple Vision Pro headset, there is renewed interest in the “metaverse,” and investors appear to be coming back to startups in the sector amid this newly rebranded era of “spatial computing.” Indeed, Immersed, for instance, recently launched its first headset, the Visor XR, and it’s winning plaudits so far.

Amid this renewed interest is VLGE, a France-based startup that has banked $4 million in funding from the likes of Venrex VC and L’Oréal. It now plans to hand over the tools to build immersive, scalable, and intuitive digital worlds to the experience-obsessed industries of fashion, beauty, and art — specifically — so that they can create and monetize their own worlds. This, rather than rely on the likes of, say, Meta and Mark Zuckerberg.

VLGE is building out V-Suite, its proprietary, no-code world-builder and asset management tools, and has now opened applications for creators and brands to get their hands on its SDK (you can apply here).

Given SDKs have played a pivotal role in standardizing and advancing ecosystems for new builders, it should appeal to those wanting to kick the tires on this new upstart in virtual reality. (VLGE isn’t the only one banking on an SDK strategy. Crucible, a metaverse company that creates tools for game developers, recently launched its Emergence software development kit (SDK) for Unreal Engine, for instance).

As well as Venrex and BOLD (the venture capital fund of L’Oréal), investors in VLGE include the British Fashion Council and the VR Fund. It also retains advisers from companies like Wave, Sandbox, and Paper Magazine.

Evelyn Mora, VLGE

Evelyn Mora, VLGE. Image Credits: VLGE

VLGE was launched by Evelyn Mora, a Finnish entrepreneur and sustainability strategist based in France. A former fashion photographer, Mora is also a veteran of the fashion industry who pioneered Finland’s sustainable fashion week and mounted the first 3D Fashion Week globally.

“We firmly believe that in our industry, it is not about adopting a winner-takes-it-all mentality. Instead, we are genuinely excited to operate within a diverse ecosystem of world-building solutions,” Mora told me.

“Existing platforms are prohibitively expensive, and not user-friendly or scalable. VLGE aims to empower creators and brands to turn their visions into destinations by creating immersive virtual experiences in a scalable and affordable fashion,” she said.

“My dream is to push the boundaries of the virtual experiences that we all engage in. We want to find unique monetization models using immersive online experiences with which brands can reduce their physical footprint while upholding their well-earned reputations as cultural leaders, artistic trendsetters, storytellers, and innovators,” she added.

Against this backdrop, VLGE wants to make it simpler for world builders to create their own metaverses, uploading their own assets and connecting integrations with V-BLDR, a no-code drag-and-drop design tool to build within VLGE. Users will be able to choose from a number of templates, such as beachfronts, forests or cities.

VLGE also plans to combine its platform with the ability to monetize in various ways, such as via NFTs. And it’s not the only one eyeing this approach.

Spatial, which has raised $47.3 million, allows NFT creators to customize a virtual space and gather for events such as exhibitions, brand experiences, and conferences. It also has a free meeting app, which has won a few fans.

Exclusible is also a web3 partner for brands — as VLGE aspires to be — and it has a digital collectibles platform, tailored toward luxury brands. It’s raised a €2.2 million seed round funding co-led by Tioga Capital, White Star Capital, and Indico Capital Partners.

So all in all, VLGE seems to be gunning for a rejuvenated metaverse market, despite the vagaries and whims of the Zuckerverse, which now appears to be more interested in cloning Twitter/X than in realizing its original vision.

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