Ex-Meta & Viacom execs close $8m seed round for Web3 start-up – Exchange4media

Virtualness, a mobile-first platform dealing with Web3, has secured over $8 million in seed funding.

The fundraise was led by Blockchange Ventures, and joined by Polygon Ventures, F7 Ventures, Micron Ventures, Oceans Ventures, Neythri Futures Fund, Carolyn Everson, Randi Zuckerberg, Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), Nikki Farb, Stacy Brown-Philpot, and other thought-leaders.

Virtualness is co-founded by Kirthiga Reddy and former Managing Director of Facebook India & South Asia and former Investment Partner at Softbank Investment Advisers, along with Saurabh Doshi, former Head of Meta, Asia-Pacific for Entertainment; Emerging Markets & Greater China Region for Creators and former Vice President at Viacom Group & Star India.

“Creators are the ultimate entrepreneurs. We’ve been at the heart of the Web2 ecosystem building and onboarding creators and brands, and we’re on our journey to do it again for Web3. People are spending more and more time in various digital worlds and have the desire for customized experiences, individual identities, expressions and personalized commerce,” said Reddy and Doshi. “We’re excited to see how creators and brands mimic various physical experiences in digital forms and in newer ways. This is about building a new economy – unlocked by branded digital collectibles that deliver unique experiences, capability and value. Our belief is that everything that can move from a physical form to digital will move.”

Reddy and Doshi are working closely with creators to inform how they build their product. Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), a beloved creator with more than 50M followers across social media platforms and an investor in Virtualness, is one of the tech-forward creators helping shape the product from the concept stage.

“Kirthiga and Saurabh lead with hustle, heart and vision. I have had a ringside view of how they shepherded the transition to a digital and mobile world and onboarded a range of global creators and brands to Web2. The depth of their relationships with creators, brands and the entire ecosystem is unparalleled. Their shared experiences and impact over the last decade give me absolute conviction that they will do the same as they unlock the power of Web3 for creators and brands,” said Yassin. “Typically, countries outside of the US and Europe get access to features much later. I am confident that this team will unlock opportunities for creators and their fans no matter where they live. Kirthiga and Saurabh have the rare experience of scaling innovative, user-friendly technology globally, with a focus on creator monetization.”

“This is a time of great transformation in the future of work, economic opportunity, and drivers of social change,” said Cailleach De Weingart-Ryan, GP, Blockchange Ventures. “Blockchain will have a tremendous impact on businesses and society and we believe Virtualness will be a leader in the next chapter of the generational technology shift the Blockchain represents. Kirthiga and Saurabh’s experiences are custom-built to help those who want to tap into Web3 but don’t know how. Their ability to navigate cross-cultural differences, expertise on the utility of the Blockchain and creator-obsessed approach to building product, is the triple-threat needed to accelerate adoption in Web3 at a global scale. As early investors in all aspects of the blockchain revolution, we look forward to partnering with Kirthiga and Saurabh and amplifying their efforts to democratize and unlock value-creation for creators and brands of any size and stage.”

Zuckerberg and Yassin serve as Advisors for the company, along with Ben Yu, CTO of Curious Addys, Jim Louderback, former GM of VidCon, Mai Akiyoshi, CEO of Curious Addys, and Shiva Rajaraman, VP Product of OpenSea. They have been at the forefront of creator economy trends and bring extensive expertise across diverse fields including media, art, entertainment, blockchain and web3. Their guidance has been instrumental in taking Virtualness from concept to reality and will continue to help shape the global vision.

Virtualness will roll out core capabilities for creators and brands when the platform launches in 2023.

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