If Hollywood ever makes a movie about Estonian startups, then Ready Player Me should definitely be in it. It’s the story of how a 20-year-old kept working on his passion for years and found success before turning 30. Some luck came into play, coming from none other than Meta’s (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
From 27 customers to 1,600 in just over a year
This time has been a rollercoaster for Timmu Tõke and his company. They’ve finally found their niche and product-market fit. Thanks to Zuckerberg doubling down on the Metaverse, Tõke’s life became a whole lot simpler. There is no need for time consuming phone calls with potential customers, customers come themselves. Everyone now knows what the Metaverse is and why it is so cool.
About eighteen months ago, Tõke’s company had around 27 clients in their books. Now it has grown to over 1,600 and, thanks to huge tech companies such as Meta and Microsoft moving towards the Metaverse, there is no end in sight.
Why they decided to change the name is a mystery. One might assume that they are fans of the science fiction novel “Ready Player One” by the American author Ernest Cline, which is set in a dystopia in 2045. The main character is in search of an Easter egg in a worldwide virtual reality game.
Ready Player Me enables you to create your own personal avatar that can be taken with you to various virtual reality (VR) games or other metaverse applications. Metaverse is not a single app or a game, rather a network of thousands of virtual worlds in which people play, work, and collaborate. Although the company had a very successful year, there are plans to grow even quicker. Ready Player Me plans to help game developers to make money through in-game asset sales and NFT’s.
VRChat, Somnium Space, Animaze, Mona, and Koji are just a few places you can use your Ready Player Me avatar. This gives you the option to express yourself in the metaverse with new hairstyles and outfits.
“It makes no sense for users to create a new avatar for each game and experience. Your avatar should be able to travel with you across the Metaverse,” he noted.
Motivation for the end-user lies in the possibility to travel with your virtual self across different apps. To fulfil all of the plans set out for 2022, Ready Player Me’s employee count is going to be doubled.
The plans include (but are not limited to) the ability to add your own customisation assets to Ready Player Me, additional styles and body types, NFT monetisation tools for developers and improvements to cross-app experience.
Reputable investors backed Ready Player Me
The art team has been adding new customisation options weekly. Alongside your avatar’s clothes, there are options to tweak the shape of the face, nose, eyes, and lips. Outfit-wise, Ready Player Me has partnered with brands and artists such as the highest paid electronic music producers in the world: Deadmau5.
The company even started a podcast called “Ready for the Metaverse”, which as the name suggests, isn’t solely focused on Ready Player Me but the Metaverse world in general.
Ready Player Me’s success has not gone unnoticed by investors. At the end of December, Wise’s co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, serial entrepreneur Sten Tamkivi, GitHub’s co-founder Tom Preston-Werner and venture capital firms such as NordicNinja, Konvoy Ventures, Samsung Next Ventures, Tiny VC and Kamerra invested around 11.5 million euros into the company.
With the raised capital, Ready Player Me is planning to build the best avatar system for developers across the Metaverse. Creating an avatar is simple, taking only around 10 seconds. No need for specialised VR software, any computer with a webcam works fine.
“We will build out custom content creation tools, invest in avatar art through additional styles and body types, and improve avatar performance,” says Tõke describing the company’s plans. “We’ll build flexible avatar APIs and SDKs for improved developer experience and ease of integration.”
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