Thanks to it, I have a new position in the Metaverse

Go, let’s go to the virtual world for a meeting

Last year, the epidemic caused the home office to become popular, the demand for video conferencing increased rapidly, and Zoom’s stock price soared several times. However, Zoom’s stock price has fallen by 28% this year. One of the reasons is that its core function product “video conferencing” has weak growth in SMEs and individual users.

This seems to imply the decline in the growth momentum of remote office software caused by the epidemic, but just in early November, another online virtual meeting software company Gather won a US$50 million Series B financing led by Index Venture and Sequoia Capital. Former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and Figma CEO Dylan Field also followed suit.

It was also on the track of the virtual event platform that even “the youngest British self-made billionaire” was born, that is, Johnny Boufarhat, the founder of Hopin, who was only 27 years old.

What exactly have these Zoom substitutes done to make the product explosive growth in just two or three years?

Hopin: A super unicorn valued at 8 billion in 3 years

The startup world did not slow down due to the epidemic. According to CB Insights, in the first half of 2021, there will be nearly 250 new “unicorns” worth one billion U.S. dollars. Standing out from hundreds of unicorns, Hopin’s growth rate has set a record:

Hopin was founded in June 2019, and according to public data, its valuation reached 2 billion US dollars in November 2020, faster than the previous growth record holders Slack and Bird. As of August this year, its valuation has reached 7.8 billion U.S. dollars, and a total of more than 1 billion U.S. dollars in investment has been obtained.

Thanks to it, I have a new position in the Metaverse

Three years ago, Johnny Boufarhat, the founder of Hopin, wanted to create an online meeting software because of his long-term online office experience. Boufarhat believes that traditional video conferencing software, such as Zoom, is only suitable for smaller online gatherings, and it is difficult to provide a good experience for meetings with more participants.

“There may be 1,000 people in the webinar, but in essence there may be only 2 people talking. You don’t even notice who else is in the meeting with you.” Boufarhat believes that it is impossible to meet new people through traditional video conferencing software. He realizes This is the key to progress.

His solution was to write the first version of Hopin himself, which was designed to provide delegates with an interactive experience, allowing them to connect with other participants through messaging and online breakout rooms.

Thanks to it, I have a new position in the Metaverse

Boufarhat outlines a broad “mission” for Hopin, which is to help people “feel closer,” no matter where they are. To this end, Hopin’s features include the creativity of various Internet products, including the ability of Chatroulette to randomly pair individuals for video chatting, Twitch’s real-time text chat and keynote broadcast functions, and fast voting functions-just like you might be on Twitter Or the one used on Reddit.

In terms of business model, Hopin is free for a 2-hour event with a maximum of 100 people. Long-term events start at $99 per month. The price will increase according to the number of registered people or event organizers. In addition, a 15% commission will be charged for the ticket sales.

Thanks to it, I have a new position in the Metaverse

Some investors are very optimistic about Hopin’s business model. Maltz, who has supported Slack, Dropbox and Wise, said: “From a growth perspective, they have the most effective business model we have never seen before. Did not start to spend.”

In terms of team management, Hopin is special in that this company has no physical office, it is run by a completely remote team. But Hopin has invested a lot of money in talent, and the two are complementary. Just as virtual events can attract top speakers who don’t want to fly out to give speeches, flexible working methods have also helped Hopin dig out executives who may not be willing to relocate.

Currently, Hopin’s leadership team includes Silicon Valley heavyweights, such as Wei Gao, the former chief operating officer of Amazon, and Rosie Roca, the former chief customer officer of Salesforce.

Gather: Interesting 2D “Meta Universe”

Gather is similar to a video conferencing platform, but it is not only as simple as allowing remote participants to communicate online at the same time, but also an office + gaming + social platform that brings the office scene closer to reality.

According to public data in March this year, Gather, which was founded less than one year ago, has accumulated more than 4 million users and has a monthly revenue of about 400,000 U.S. dollars (the main charging method is based on the scale of the built space and functional requirements ).

The key to Gather’s ability to attract millions of users in a short period of time is that it makes online conference video software no longer single-functionally oriented. It considers the needs of human social interaction and creates more for users by embedding a virtual space that resembles a game interface. Interesting and realistic interactive methods meet the needs of users for more scenarios and more humanity.

Gather’s interactive interface is like an RPG (Role-playing game). When users register and log in, they can set their own characters, with unique character shapes and colors to choose from.

Thanks to it, I have a new position in the Metaverse

When you start to use it for remote work, you can send a message directly through simple communication, and the message will be displayed above the user’s digital avatar; if typing is not clear, then go to the other party’s desk, and when the user’s avatars are gathered together , You can start the video chat, and then start the video conference function similar to Zoom.

Spatial-audio technology is definitely a big selling point of Gather. Users can hear each other’s voice at a higher or lower volume according to the distance of their avatar. This feature is very useful, it can spatialize the sound so that Gather can make users more immersive than software like Zoom. For example, the spatial audio function is applied to the teaching environment, and students communicate as if they are actually in the classroom environment.

Thanks to it, I have a new position in the Metaverse

In addition to offices and schools, users can also customize various scenes such as restaurants, game halls, and bars. Gather expressed his commitment to making itself a platform that is free and open to everyone.

In terms of financing, Gather received US$26 million in Series A funding in March this year, mainly led by Sequoia Capital, a well-known venture capital that has funded Zoom and Slack. In November this year, it received US$50 million from Index Venture and Sequoia Capital. Series B financing.

Index Venture, after leading Gather’s Series B financing, expressed satisfaction on the official blog: “We are very happy to cooperate with Gather. They showed us that Metaverse is not a distant vision, but an ongoing one. Transition. They are building the meta-universe brick by brick in the right way.”

After getting the latest round of financing, Phillip, one of the founders of Gather, published an article titled “Why Metaverse Is Important” on the official website. In this article, Phillip stated that Gather has been “correctly constructing the meta-universe”:

“Our goal remains the same, and we are committed to building the meta-universe with the correct values. I often like this: Entrepreneurship is like driving a car, and accumulating and burning fuel is just a means to reach the destination. Similarly, business is only to reach the destination. A means of the earth, and the destination is to build the best meta-universe for mankind.”

Why does traditional virtual meeting software need to be upgraded?

The emergence of remote work and virtual meetings means the separation between the social nature of work and the substantive content. In the case of telecommuting, you will not fish with your colleagues after a meal. Instead, you will go to work after dinner, and relax with your family or friends after get off work in the evening.

In theory, this is a good thing for the boss. But Avichal Garg, an investor in the venture capital firm Electric Capital, believes that at present, remote work is exchanged for efficiency with creativity and inspiration-and inspiration, something unexpected, is the key to innovation.

Avichal Garg mentioned: “Creatively solving problems requires seeing problems in a different way. Interaction with other people allows you to see problems in new ways and discover solutions.”

Based on this insight, Zoom only fully meets the stability and efficiency of meeting communication, but when the epidemic is gradually controlled and the demand for hard remote work disappears, whoever can build the social attributes of real-world work in virtual meeting software will be better able Attract users to retain and further use.

Although products such as Hopin and Gather cannot fully replicate human interaction, they can surpass or creatively subvert human interaction in many ways. Virtual meetings make it easy to exchange contact information and remember the trivial details of names, and it also makes it possible to collect massive amounts of information.

Virtual meetings can also change social patterns in a positive sense. For example, one of the favorite features of Hopin users is to intervene in “matching” people participating in online speed dating. Because Hopin emphasizes involvement in pairing, it also eliminates the anxiety caused by people not knowing who to talk to at a cocktail party.

The virtual meeting also played down the social requirements for appearance, height, and geographic location. In Gather, everyone became a fuzzy box. In the future, the user’s appearance can be further simplified through filters, deep fake technology and simple avatar settings.

The famous Canadian philosopher and educator Marshall McLuhan once said: “The medium is information.” What he meant was that the technology we communicate is more formative than the content we communicate. He believes, “We shaped our tools, and then our tools shaped us.”

For example, the Hopin team has always worked remotely, and when the founder Boufarhat first met with employees offline, he felt that he had known them for a long time. The fast-growing entrepreneurial team has a lot of work and communication naturally, so whether it is virtual or real, everyone’s connection can be deepened.

This is the same as what Avichal Garg said: “Humans have strong adaptability. Now people have adapted to the online world. Meeting in person is just another path to the end of deep emotional connection.” Cover image: Gather

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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