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Spatial raised $ 25 million as it shifted from working with augmented reality and virtual reality to non-fungible token (NFT) art exhibitions and metaverse events.
Spatial started by providing AR / VR hangouts that people with AR glasses, VR headsets and smartphones could access. However, with the NFT art boom, it has found that it could provide a way for people to easily view digital art in virtual galleries, said Jake Steinerman, community leader at Spatial, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We’re changing our direction,” said Steinerman.
New York-based Spatial made it easy to create avatars with animated character tools. It enables people to participate in 3D online spaces where they can collaborate. Spatial was founded in 2016 with the aim of making 3D collaboration easy.
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âOur focus was on productivity,â Steinerman said. âWhen COVID started we saw a huge growth explosion for companies using space for this purpose. But over time, we’ve actually seen some really interesting events. And it was artists, creators and consumers who used Spatial for various use cases that we had not initially expected. “
He added, âWe have started to see artists bring their art to these environments and invite their friends. Galleries and conferences were not accessible. They needed an outlet. And today 80% of our usage comes via the web and mobile. “
But the NFT art took off earlier this year as the blockchain’s transparent and secure digital ledger enabled people to use NFTs to authenticate the uniqueness of digital items. At the same time, many artists were stuck at home in the pandemic and could not show their works in galleries. So NFT art became a logical way to showcase unique art, but nobody made it easy to see such images.
So Spatial made it easy to create online galleries where people could view NFT art or even start the process of buying a picture on display. And so the company operates as a âmetaverse for cultural eventsâ such as NFT exhibitions, brand experiences and conferences.
It’s a metaverse for artists and creators whether it’s on the web, mobile, or VR. Steinerman showed me a demo and I looked at the 3D rooms of the galleries on my mobile phone. It looked nice and it was easy to navigate with my fingers.
Investors in the round included Pine Venture Partners, Maven Growth Partners, Korea Investment Partners, KB Investment, Mirae, Balaji Srinvasan, with participation from existing investors iNovia, Whitestar and Lerer Hippeau. This brings the total to $ 50 million.
The company will use the money to accelerate the company’s vision of becoming a 3D hub connecting NFT creators with their communities and collectors – ready to create the first open and free metaverse for developers.
Spatial has seen a surge in the popularity of its headset-less product offerings, with 80% of current users accessing Spatial via the web and cell phone – compared to 80% using a headset last year, Steinerman said.
The vast majority of these users are NFT creators, artists, and collectors looking to build, share, and meet in immersive environments that go well beyond what can be achieved on 2D platforms.
âUser feedback has always been at the heart of our product strategy, but for the last year since we
have introduced our freemium version on every platform, we have seen a fascinating change. “
Jacob Loewenstein, managing director of Spatial, in a statement. “We have evolved from an AR / VR platform focused on enterprise productivity to a web / VR platform that connects digital creators and the broader NFT economy.”
He added, âWhy? Because the Metaverse will go far beyond a meeting room. We are experiencing this trend in the creator economy from within and can see the great opportunity when power passes into the hands of these creators. The switch to Web-First has now also overcome all barriers to access to the Metaverse. we
believe in an inclusive and open metaverse in which artists and creators will one day be able to move freely
several virtual platforms with interoperable portals, avatars and shared spaces. “
What sets Spatial apart is its range and accessibility; a metaverse that everyone can experience
free on the web, mobile and in VR. It offers the easiest way to meet and in beautifully designed rooms
curate a gallery or host events with just one click – no coding required, just upload content and create yours
Room in less than a minute, Steinerman said.
You can pan and zoom or maneuver through 3D space. You can use emotes to communicate or just use voice chat.
Additional spatial integration with Metamask cryptocurrency wallets. It is exploring the possibility of enabling NFT transactions from within its virtual rooms. And Spatial has discontinued its enterprise options. (People can still use it for this purpose, but Spatial isn’t developing any new corporate features).
âWe aligned the company so it was really focused on this community and immersion,â he said.
People can use the virtual spaces for art galleries, meetings or even concerts. Spatial charges $ 20 a month to access the event platform and also does its own NFT drops.
The NBA basketball team Utah Jazz has created a virtual dressing room where fans can come and virtually meet with the players. The players are visible in the video phone via their avatars. The Utah Jazz launched an NFT this fall to give fans access to the venue.
Spatial will begin offering limited NFT environments for creators and collectors who want to own a piece of the metaverse. The first drop from Spatial NFT Genesis will go live starting December 15th at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time, curated by Polycount and Reno in association with Meshed.
Spatial works with artists such as Hermitage, NBA, Grammy Award winning producer! Llmind, Krista
Kim, Federico Clapis, Jarlan Perez and many more.
They use the platform for everything from art exhibitions and events to sports or music influencers selling NFT memorabilia or engaging with fans and collectors in new ways.
In the latest version, they can also enjoy new shared meeting rooms like Spatial Park, two times faster performance and Metamask login. Spatial strives to build an open, in-chain and interoperable metaverse that supports a decentralized infrastructure including Ethereum wallets, with more blockchains to follow in the near future. It sees a future in which you will be able to own 3D spaces in an open format that can be freely used in other metaverse.
âSince we shifted the focus to building the metaverse for creators and artists, we have seen four uses
Growth in just two months, âsaid Jinha Lee, Spatial’s chief product officer, in a statement. âThis new round of funding will accelerate our mission to make the Internet more immersive, social and fun. It is extremely rewarding to use our energies to empower creative people and to lead this cultural paradigm shift in the way people share experiences with others. “
Ken Kelleher, also known as “Anchorball”, is a solo artist whose work spans monumental proportions
Sculptures, public art projects and private commissions. Kelleher has worked on numerous high profile projects for National Geographic, Google, Netflix and Redbull.
“Spatial has enabled me to present my work in a whole new way,” said Kelleher in a statement. âNow anyone, anywhere in the world, can literally step into my sculptures and have a shared experience. I’m excited to be building the anchorball metaverse in Spatial. “
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