Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the company's rebranding as "Meta," while also revealing his vision for the Metaverse he hopes to build.
And Facebook, er, Meta isn't the only company embracing this Brave New World (yes, that's an Aldous Huxley reference, and no, this isn't a social criticism piece).
However, every major tech company, including Microsoft, Snap, Apple, Roblox, and a slew of others, is investing billions of dollars in something that wasn't even on our collective radar a few months ago.
And with good reason: Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang stated on the company's most recent earnings call that the Metaverse's economy will be larger than the "real" one.
So what is the Metaverse? The Metaverse, in general, is a shared alternate reality that users can access through virtual reality headsets. People can create, build, buy, and trade in this new world, which is presumably populated by "avatar" versions of ourselves, opening up a slew of new opportunities for entrepreneurs. I should also point out that the concept of the Metaverse isn't new. Neal Stephenson created this definition of the Metaverse some 30 years ago.
But there's a catch: no one knows how the Metaverse will function or what it will look like.
Will there only be one Metaverse? Will there be different versions depending on who’s proprietary headset you buy? Who controls and manages what gets bought and sold in the Metaverse?
To put it another way, it's difficult to predict what entrepreneurial opportunities will arise because right now there are so many unknowns. Moreover, unlike Zuckerburg and his billionaire peers, the rest of us don’t have billions of dollars to throw at the Metaverse’s walls to see what sticks. (Wait, does the Metaverse have walls?)
Rather than focusing on all the unknowns, let’s focus on what it is that we do know.
Everyone can agree that the world is becoming increasingly digital and virtual. Why are we acting as if this is a brand-new set of circumstances? When was the last time you didn't have your phone with you? Is the weekly Screen Time notification as dreadful for you as it is for me?
The Metaverse is just a new way to explain our evolving digital landscape, which is already affecting a significant part of our daily lives. Given the expanding scope of our online experience, the question for entrepreneurs is a familiar one: how can we use technology to improve our interactions with the physical world?
So, back to the question of the day: what does the Metaverse mean to entrepreneurs?
First and foremost, the Metaverse will provide a huge growth opportunity for the Creator Economy, which is already booming. Anyone who monetizes their online presence, from fashion influencers to live-streaming gamers, is part of the Creator Economy. But it's not just about social media influencers: think Etsy sellers, indie musicians, podcasters, and more.
According to the most recent data, 50 million people consider themselves creators, and the industry is already worth more than $100 billion per year worldwide. That number will grow exponentially with the evolution of the Metaverse.
But entrepreneurs don’t have to wait and see what Big Tech creates to capitalize on the Metaverse.
Kerv Interactive, one of our clients, is an excellent example of a startup that is connecting our digital and physical experiences. Kerv has developed an interactive video platform that can turn ordinary video into immersive, multi-dimensional storytelling experiences. By using AI and machine learning, the Kerv platform can identify and tag objects that the user can interact with on their phone, within apps, and one day, maybe using a headset.
This is the central question for entrepreneurs interested in the physical-digital nexus: how can new technologies be better integrated into our daily lives?
And, when you have that billion-dollar Metaverse idea, we at Masterplans will be there to help you write the business plan and pitch deck that will help make your dream a (virtual) reality.