Avatar startups have come and gone over the years, but the future many of the entrepreneurs behind them originally envisioned has proved to be more or less accurate. Apple is increasingly interested in avatar representation via Memoji, Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be a Metaverse company, and platforms like Roblox, where users enter virtual worlds and purchase accessories for their character, anytime. Haven’t been more popular.
facemoji Avatar is building a plug-and-play tech platform to help game and app developers with the startup’s SDK put the system into their apps. Facemoji has raised a $3 million seed round led by Play Ventures, with participation from Twitter and Roche Ventures, along with a few angel investors.
The startup’s lightweight solution relies on its own rendering pipeline, with the team noting that most other players in the space rely on Unity plugins, which many developers don’t want to deal with. They already have a complete, diverse system of avatar art that developers can do out of the box if they want.
Facemoji believes that more game-makers will want to easily create their own avatar systems, but may not necessarily want to plug into other networks. The Achilles heel of most early Avatar platforms has often been the ambition to create a coherent cross-platform avatar system that acts as its own metaverse. It makes sense for startups to build products and users, but for game makers, it was useless to leave that piece of platform opportunity on the table.
Facemoji says it doesn’t expect Apple to open up Memoji to the developer community and that Snap is a more prominent competitor. Facemoji’s startup competitors are being acquired at an increasingly rapid rate. In 2020, Roblox bought Loom.ai and Epic Games acquired Hypersense.
The startup’s founders are still quite intrigued by the Metaverse hype and the latest NFT craze and are working on a plug-and-play NFT storefront that developers can integrate into for their users to purchase accessories for their avatars. Facemoji sees some early crypto Twitter profile pic usage as a sign that regular consumers are about to get excited to ditch their avatars.
“Ultimately, it boils down to arrogance,” Facemoji CEO Robin Raszka told Nerdshala. “How do you pretend you have a Birkin bag, the avatar on Twitter is prime real estate for it, people just want to show off.”
This is a particularly interesting investment for Twitter which is a rare corporate investor. The team at Facemoji said they had some conversations with the team at the screen-sharing social app Squad about integrating their avatars before the startup was bought by Twitter. Twitter also detailed several NFT projects in the works and CEO Jack Dorsey has been a major cheerleader for startups in the space.
In addition to gaming, the team at Facemoji hopes that soon people will have the option of simply dialing in their next Zoom as an avatar or attending a class and that the live action avatars will be treated as overlays. loses some of its silly reputation in favor of Healthy medium between turning your camera on and off.