At FOV Ventures we believe that the Metaverse is a generational evolution of the Internet. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we think about building applications, services, and products that move beyond today’s static media on 2D screens and into more spatial, 3D and immersive environments that look and feel a lot more like the physical world.
Many of the large tech incumbents are working towards this future. But alongside them, a new wave of founders will be building the most disruptive applications and fundamentally shifting the way we will work, play, create, collaborate, and socialise; whether that’s in physical or virtual environments.
In order to make this generation of the Internet a fundamentally better, fairer, and more interesting place, we believe it’s important that it’s built by a more diverse set of founders that better reflects all of its users.
We know that diversity within the startup and venture ecosystem is already an important and challenging topic. And place as much, if not more, importance on it when it comes to building out the Metaverse.
Today we’re launching the second phase of our DVRSTY initiative, with a program of support in partnership with Women In Immersive Tech (WiiT) and the XR Diversity Initiative (XRDI). And as part of this initiative, we want to highlight a number of amazing female founders here in Europe that have already started building the future of tomorrow. Some have raised considerable sums of money, others are just starting on their journey. But they’re all making significant contributions to the Metaverse industry in Europe.
SideQuest has become an important part of the VR developer ecosystem enabling the distribution of early-access content to users. In October 2022 the Belfast-based startup raised $12 million in a fresh funding round led by Google Ventures to continue building more tools and services to help developers. Orla is the COO and co-founder and recently moved to Spain.
Emperia brings brands, fashion, and art into the Metaverse through its platform for building virtual immersive spaces. The company recently raised $10 million in Series A funding with clients including Bloomingdale’s, Burberry, Lacoste. With a background in luxury fashion, Olga founded the company after consulting for Microsoft on a fashion-related project and trying VR for the first time.
Susan Cummings @ Petaverse Network
Petaverse is building an open standard for digital pets and virtual companions in AR and across the Metaverse. Last year they raised $7 million in March ‘22 and will launch their first mint soon. Susan is a veteran of the games industry with 25 years of experience that includes co-founding 2K Games/2K Sports.
Digital Village is a technology platform that enables the creation of 3D immersive virtual worlds as a way to empower creative expression. The company announced in January that it had raised $4 million from investors that included L’Oreal’s Bold Ventures. Evelyn was the founder of Helsinki Fashion Week before moving to Paris where she now lives.
Talewind has gained a reputation for being the ‘Supercell of Roblox’, and raised $3.4 million just over a year ago to make games and experiences for Roblox and other Metaverse platforms. Georgina is the co-founder and COO of Talewind and an advocate for work-life balance in the gaming industry, implementing a four-day work week for her company.
RSTLSS provides access and opportunity for brands, influencers, and artists to design and offer multiverse fashion, NFTs, and gaming. The Metaverse fashion platform raised $3.5 million in March 2022. Charli has been exploring digital interconnectivity with physical products for many years and the brand has integrated digital tech into IRL clothing while building virtual worlds.
Sophie Thompson @ Virtual Speech
Virtual Speech is an immersive soft skills training platform, with a focus on communication skills such as public speaking, sales, and leadership. The company originally went through Boost.vc, with its last public funding round at the end of 2021. Sophie co-founded VirtualSpeech in 2016 as a way to overcome her own fear of public speaking.
Karinna Grant & Marjorie Hernandez @ The Dematerialised
Together, Marjorie Hernandez and Karinna Nobbs are the co-founders of The Dematerialised a Web 3.0 marketplace for authenticated virtual goods, which they describe as “the digital department store of your dreams.” They’re part of a new wave of pioneering female entrepreneurs challenging the luxury status quo and creating a new reality for fashion.
Emmanuelle Roger @ Immersiv.io
Immersiv reinvents the sports fan experience using augmented reality. They have worked with a wide range of partners from Orange and Deustche Telekom, to Bayern Munich and the NHL. As a company working in the sports industry, Emmanuelle believes it’s especially important to encourage more diversity and avoid the stereotypes in that sector.
Currently working in stealth mode, Me3D is building the future of social content for the next generation of creators; Roblox meets Instagram. More to be announced on their funding round soon. Hanna spent time in gaming at Rovio and Supercell’s Metacore, but also has a rich history in music including her own electronic post-trip hop band based in Helsinki.
Adriana Hoppenbrouwer-Pereira & Amber Jae Slooten @ The Fabricant
A decentralised digital fashion house building the wardrobe of the metaverse via their co-creation platform The Fabricant Studio. Of note, The first recorded sale of a fashion NFT was the Iridescence dress created by The Fabricant and sold for the equivalent of $9,500 in May 2019.
An ed-tech company building the world's first learn-and-earn campus for Gen Z to supercharge their career in tech. Esther believes that there is a growing structural and systemic breakdown between education systems and their ability to deliver the skills every young person needs for the workplace at the scale and pace required.
Veronica Costa Orvalho @ Didimo
Didimo works on providing fast, automated solutions for the generation of high-quality real-time digital human avatars. The company was founded in 2016 and has raised approximately $16 million to date, with a $7.15 Series A round closed in late 2022.
After suffering through the process of creating a 3D model of a cathedral with ornate detailing while pursuing her master's degree at the University of Bristol, and ultimately receiving a failing grade, Knstantina Psoma decided to make making models easier. And better. By asking game developers how they would approach 3D modeling. The result is Kaedim, a platform that's accelerating the transition to a 3D digital world by turning 2D images into ready-to-use digital 3D models
Claudia Ruiz-Graham @ Stratbox
Stratbox is inclusive with its resources as it integrates satellite globe coverage, drone, LIDAR and CAD 3D models with imagery to cover kilometric to microscopic scale analysis, all within the platform. This allows the users to bring the fieldwork for subsurface reservoir analogues back to the office and virtually share it with colleagues and partners using virtual outcrop models.
Mélodie Mousset is the creator of HanaHana, an award-winning surrealist VR artwork five years in the making celebrated by film festivals and the interactive circuit alike. With PatchXR, she and her team are building the musicverse, allowing users to create their own virtual music world and then jam out.
Farfetch and Outlier Ventures-backed Altr is a digital fashion platform dedicated to unlocking the value of cultural heritage, archive collections, and vital historic narratives. The company helps partners unlock the value of existing assets by digitising, showcasing, and commercialising fashion archives, powered by web3 technology.
Paula Sello & Alissa Aulbekova @ Auroboros
Founded in 2018, Auroboros positions itself as the first metaverse native luxury fashion house creating style and status for all realms. The platform presents physical couture and digital ready-to-wear, reflective of the scientific and technological advances of the 21st century.
Gala Marija Vrbanic @ Tribute Brand
Tribute Brand launched in April 2020 and has sold out their drops and partnered with luxury fashion houses along the way. The platform makes digital clothing that consumers can buy and paste onto themselves.
AnomieXR is a client-led VR software solution for therapists and coaches, allowing clients to create their own virtual worlds to tackle their problems.
GN3RA is an immersive design platform with cloth simulation to create wear and trade as the latest in digital fashion as NFTs and wear in AR or on your avatar.
A generative AI-powered platform that enables users to automatically transform 2D images of real-world objects into 3D digital assets.
Virtual Beings is developing an advanced behavioral AI engine to populate the metaverse with believable virtual life.
Ristband is a Metaverse platform where events taking place in the real world can have a digital twin of the physical world happening in real time.
Alexandra Hussenot @ Immersionn
Immersionn is a creative media technology company that specializes in building 3D online worlds. They help clients engage with their audience through rich experiences and offerings that make their base loyal and sticky. Based in London, Immersionn has a virtual presence in 7 countries and has collaborated with brands including NEOM, T-Systems and Huawei.
Melissa McBride @ Sophia Technologies
Sophia is an Edtech company paving the way for a digital education revolution. The full-time online school, Sophia High School follows the UK National Curriculum for children from age 3 to 15, making them one of the few Edtech companies to offer this type of comprehensive education.
Emma Ridderstad @ Warpin Reality
Warpin provides a tailored full-service solution emerging from a VR platform for onboarding and upskilling employees. The one-stop-shop for immersive tech startup offers clients strategy/consultancy, content creation, tech solutions and distribution services.
Raquel Cardoso @ Sense of Space
Sense of Space uses 3D Polygon Streaming technology to provide companies and platforms the ability to stream and display large and highly detailed models on any device while maintaining visual quality, and without the need for manual optimisation or heavy data compression.
Arilyn offers immersive and interactive XR experiences to make brands’ message stick.
Linda Fachinetti @ Jump Into Reality
Jump Into Reality removes all the technical complexities and brings the versatility of real-time interactive VR to the creative process of designing a space. Through the platform, a few clicks and zero technical knowledge is all designers need to personalise and interact in real-time with their projects in 2D and 3D, for the first time.
Hatsumi's virtual reality experience offers a participatory virtual reality experience inviting you to express pain and emotion through 3D drawing.
ImbueVR is a collaborative GAME of sexual fantasies in VR for couples, created to bring passion and realistic interaction to virtual reality in adult erotic games. Aimed at couples and offering a fresh alternative to the classic gender-stereotyped adult industry.
Matsuko is working on what it refers to as 'the most realistic holographic communication on the planet.'. The company is engaged in fundamentally changing the way organisations and people communicate remotely today, ultimately bringing them closer together and improving collaboration.
Many thanks to those who have already contributed to this list including Sointu Karjalainen (FOV Ventures), Isabel De Peuter-Rutten (Gatherverse), Leen Segers (WiiT), Asha Easton (ImmerseUK). These lists are always tricky to put together, so please let us know who we’ve missed.
Our thought process for selecting the founders:
- We hope this list will serve a few different purposes eg. shining a light on those already building, inspiring others to do the same, and providing a good resource for others looking to identify more female founders (incl. investors, conference organisers etc).
- These founders are all based in Europe.
- We’ve focused on founders that are building startups that plan to scale to many people and likely raise additional funding (vs. solopreneurs, agencies, and service-based businesses). But it’s important to point out that venture backing isn’t always the right way to grow a company.
- To be as inclusive as possible, when we say female founders we could also expand this to being any founder identifying as female and including trans or non-binary
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