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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Semi-Finnish VC FOV Ventures launced a fund specific to Metaverse

A new specialist VC fund for early-stage founders is announced by Helsinki&London based FOV Ventures founded by industry veterans, Petri Rajahalme from Nordic XR Startups accelerator and Dave Haynes from Seedcamp’s investment team, and HTC’s Vive X.  The €25M-worth fund is targeted to feed pre-seed and seed-stage companies working on the Metaverse universe, which its market size is expected to reach $800 billion (around €724 billion) by 2025.

FOV Ventures announced its first close of €16.5m of its target fund. The company considers the fund as the first step to create soon-to-be unicorns since Metaverse has recently had a rising trend. The initial plan is to reach up to 25 companies at first to invest between €250-500k in. For the fund, the venture is interested in the categories including identity, avatars, commerce, entertainment & social, future of work, and creator tools & infrastructure. 

Industry Veterans Launch Specialist Fund in Europe to Invest in Early-Stage Founders Building the Metaverse

  • The €25m first fund from FOV Ventures will invest in founders that are redefining the way we play, work and build – creating the next generation of billion-dollar companies in the Metaverse 
  • FOV Ventures is co-founded by two leading industry experts – Dave Haynes, formerly part of Seedcamp’s investment team and HTC’s Vive X, and Petri Rajahalme from the Nordic XR Startups accelerator. 
  • Seen by many as a successor to today’s mobile Internet, the Metaverse market size will hit $800bn by 2025, according to Bloomberg 

FOV Ventures, a new specialist VC fund to invest in early-stage founders at the forefront of the Metaverse, has today announced the first close of €16.5m of its target €25m fund. The fund will invest in pre-seed and seed-stage companies across Europe, leveraging the industry expertise of its founding partners and its active ‘Edge Network’, a community of leaders in the field helping to scout new deals and support the fund’s portfolio. 

Launching a smaller fund with a specialised sector focus has become increasingly common in today’s venture landscape and positions FOV Ventures perfectly to find the best Metaverse companies in Europe and add value to both founders and co-investors. 

The Metaverse represents a major expansion of today’s Internet, becoming more immersive, built with new tools such as real-time 3D game engines, and spanning an increasingly blurred line between the virtual and physical world. It has emerged as one of the hottest topics in tech over the past year, with the major tech platforms such as Meta, Epic, Nvidia and Microsoft investing heavily in the area, catalyzing huge interest from investors and founders alike. 

FOV Ventures, Dave HaynesDave Haynes, Founding Partner of FOV Ventures, commented, “We believe the Metaverse represents a trillion-dollar opportunity over the next decade, fundamentally changing the way we play, socialize and shop, but also the way we work and collaborate. We’ll also need new tools for creators to build this new reality. As with previous evolutions on the Internet, we believe the Metaverse will unleash a new generation of billion-dollar companies. Our mission is to identify, fund and support those companies” 

About FOV Ventures

The two Founding Partners of FOV Ventures are industry veterans. Prior to launching FOV Ventures, the team have backed Metaverse companies such as Wave, the Warner Music backed virtual music concert platform; Immersal, the exited Finnish AR-cloud startup; and LIV, the mixed reality streaming platform.

The duo has made several more angel investments together into Metaverse related startups whilst raising the fund, including ReadyPlayerMe, the cross-game avatar platform for the Metaverse and The Dematerialised, a Web3 marketplace for authenticated virtual goods. 

Based in the UK, Dave Haynes was formerly part of the investment team at Seedcamp and most recently led HTC’s $100m Vive X fund in EMEA. He was also part of the founding team of SoundCloud, one of web 2.0’s category-defining startups in Europe. 

Based in Finland, Petri Rajahalme was previously Managing Director at Nordic XR Startups (NXS) where he led eight investments into XR companies in the Nordics. He was also Chairman of the Board at Immersal, where he led the successful exit of its AR-cloud business to Hexagon AB in 2021. 

FOV Ventures will make initial investments of between €250-500k in up to 25 companies across pre-seed and seed and as a specialist fund are willing to back founders right from the start of their journeys. Categories of current interest for the fund include identity, avatars, commerce, entertainment & social, future of work as well as creator tools & infrastructure. 

FOV Ventures, Petri RajahalmePetri Rajahalme, Founding Partner of FOV Ventures, said, “Given the recent excitement and huge potential of the Metaverse, we’ve seen an influx of talent and interest. For the past five years, Dave and I have had front-row seats and have built a strong network by being very active in the ecosystem. We believe we add a lot of value to the startups we invest in through our combined expertise as well as our ‘Edge Network’, which gives founders added support, as well as introducing us to new startups.” 

The FOV Ventures ‘Edge Network’ is a global community supporting the fund and its portfolio companies, as well as scouting potential investments. Individuals in the network include leaders from the major tech platforms, including Meta, Epic, Google and Snap, as well as technical experts and exited founders. Examples include Matt Miesnieks, founder of spatial mapping startup 6D.ai, a company acquired by Niantic and Jussi Mäkinen, CMO of Finnish mixed reality headset maker Varjo, who brings branding expertise from roles at Rovio and Nokia. The community is still being expanded with more to be announced in the coming months. 

Metaverse- Categories of Interest 

Avatars & Identity 

If the Metaverse is a more embodied, spatial Internet then one of the first things that users will care about is how they appear and how they manage their identity(s). Petri and Dave have previously invested in companies including ReadyPlayerMe, a cross-game avatar platform for the Metaverse and Crucible, a Web3 startup that is developing tools for builders & creators and portable digital identity for players. 

Retail & Digital Commerce 

The Metaverse and technologies such as AR present new opportunities for physical goods to be discovered, marketed and sold. AR-influenced commerce alone is expected to reach $36bn by 2024. But NFTs and the sale of digital items are creating entirely new economies in the Metaverse, expanding beyond gaming into art, fashion, collectables and more. Petri and Dave have previously invested in The Dematerialised, a Web3 marketplace for authenticated virtual goods and Customuse, the easiest way to create and sell skins in Roblox, Zepeto, Snap etc. 

Immersive Social 

People are spending an increasing amount of time in virtual worlds. While this has primarily been playing games (Fortnite, Roblox), it will increasingly be activities like going to virtual music concerts (Travis Scott etc), live theatre, dating, art classes, watching e-sports, travel and more. At Seedcamp, Dave was previously an investor at Wave, the Warner Music backed virtual music concert platform. 

Future of Work 

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella’s vision for the Enterprise Metaverse is about digital twins, smart factories and embedding computing into the world around us. Similarly, NVIDIA talks about its own Metaverse initiative, Omniverse, as to how real-time 3D is changing the way we design buildings or re-think engineering processes. The Future of Work also means an entirely new category of work that will be created. At Vive X, Dave was previously an investor in Bodyswaps, the VR-based social skills training platform. At NXS, Petri was an investor in MeetInVR, the enterprise-focused virtual collaboration tool. 

Tools & Infrastructure 

We’re going to need many new creation tools, from AI-assisted content generation to new developer tools. We’ll also need new user interfaces and solve problems like search and discovery in the Metaverse. At NXS, Petri was Chairman of the Board at exited AR-startup Immersal, which provided advanced tools for developers to build apps that augmented the physical world. Dave is an angel investor in Condense Reality, a tool to capture and live-stream volumetric video into the Metaverse at scale.

About the Founding Partners 

Dave Haynes, Founding Partner of FOV Ventures 

Dave was previously at HTC’s $100m Vive X fund focused on XR, AI and blockchain and led investments in startups including LIV, Maze Theory and Bodyswaps. Prior to this Dave was part of the investment team at Seedcamp (Fund III), the top-performing seed-stage fund, where he made his first metaverse related investment in Wave, the virtual music concert platform. Dave started his career in the music industry, founding his own startup before joining the founding team of SoundCloud as VP of Business Development and seeing the platform grow from 200 to 200 million users. 

Petri Rajahalme, Founding Partner of FOV Ventures 

Petri was previously Managing Director at Nordic XR Startups (NXS) leading investments into eight XR companies in the Nordics. He was Chairman of the Board at Immersal, where he led the successful exit of its AR-cloud business to Hexagon AB in 2021. Petri was awarded XR Investor of the Year in 2019 and prior to his time at NXS, Petri led €30m of investment through Business Finland to create and foster the Finnish XR ecosystem. Petri started his career at JP Morgan and spent time as an entrepreneur having co-founded several IT-related companies. 

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Nurcin Metingil
Nurcin Metingil
A permanent student, a passionate first reader and nowadays doing master’s degree in Publishing Management. Beside these, I am up for games! I have been playing games since I was 6. Now, I am whispering "Business. Business. Numbers. Is this working?"

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