Virtualness is founded by Kirthiga Reddy, former employee #1 and Managing Director of Facebook India & South Asia, Investment Partner at Softbank Investment Advisers, and 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.
Kirthiga shares, “Earlier this year, Web3 started giving me intense flashbacks to my early days at Facebook India and having onboarded a region of brands and creators to Web2. I wanted to do the same on Web3.”
What is Virtualness?
Virtualness is a mobile-first platform making it simple for brands and creators to scale their business and capture value-creation opportunities from the Web3 and blockchain. One of their key goals is to make it easy for anyone to scale their brand and easily transition from Web2 to Web3.
For creators and brands, it offers an intuitive platform with free creation tools that make designing and creating branded digital collectibles, sharing these collectibles across their social media, and interacting with their community in new, monetizable ways easy.
For creator and brand audiences, Virtualness provides a platform to directly engage with your favorite creators through selling and trading branded digital collectibles and experiences. The platform also offers community tools to showcase your collection.
Kirthiga shares, “I am very excited about the fundamental changes that Web3 technology enables and how that can change the way that creators connect with their fans, how brands connect with their fans.”
She adds, “Having seen this play out in the Web2 world where technology really gave a voice to creators and to brands, we wanted to do the same in terms of bringing the power of the decentralized world, the power of blockchain, and the power of Web3 to creators and brand.”
How is Virtualness Helping Creators Transition from Web2 to Web3?
Virtualness makes creating digital collectibles accessible by providing creators and brands with templates and advanced editing tools. Digital branded collectibles can be made in many formats, including video, music, art, and tokens, to exclusive online or offline experiences.
Kirthiga explains, “It is driven by consumer insight, where consumers are spending more and more time in digital spaces, and in those digital spaces, they want to be able to have personalized expression, personalized commerce, and that is where the Web3 and the blockchain allow that.”
Web3 and blockchain give fans a sense of ownership as they purchase exclusive, limited digital collectibles and more from their favorite creators.
Kirthiga shares, “One in two creators say that they predict that NFTs will be a somewhat important source of revenue for them, but only one in six actually use them. We see the biggest barrier there is education, ease of use, and simplicity of platform that allows you to go through all the different phases of designing, creating, showcasing, selling, and offering unique experiences to fans.”
Virtualness bridges the gap by providing a simple platform that allows creators and brands to do all these things, making it easier to transition to Web3.
The Virtualness team received a lot of creator feedback while launching their product. One example was Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), a travel blogger with over 60 million fans worldwide.
Kirthiga explains, “He’s a travel blogger, and for us to be able to offer him these kinds of tools for monetization is an important addition to his roster of what he uses to drive revenue.”
Raising $8 Million in Seed Funding
Recently, Virtualness, a new creator-first Web3 platform, raised eight million dollars in seed funding. The fundraiser was led by Blockchange Ventures and joined by Polygon Ventures, F7 Ventures, Randi Zuckerberg, Nusier Yassin (Nas Daily), Stacy Brown Philpot, and other thought leaders.
Kirthiga shares, “We have an incredible roster of individual investors as well as founder and creative people who are very deeply connected with the creator economy, so we are very excited about both our investor base and our advisor base.”
The investing proceeds will be used to finalize the product launch and hire people across the globe to continue building Virtualness as a company and its reach.
The Future of the Creator Economy and Web3
“I see this transition from the Web1 world where brands and creators expressed themselves through a web page – one-way communication, to the Web2 world where it was about Facebook pages, YouTube, TikTok – two-way communication, and I see the transition where Web3 and digital collectibles will be at the heart of how creators and brands express themselves.”
In the future, Kirthiga would love to create an end-to-end experience with one click. Where technology is currently, this process is about five to ten clicks, so Kirthiga hopes to see technology developed soon where this goal could be achieved.
Kirthiga says, “Some people don’t care about technology. People care about how technology can be used and that’s where Virtualness focuses is letting creators focus on their art and craft and being able to leverage the power of Web3 without having to worry about all of the technology underpinnings.”
Kirthiga predicts that we will continue seeing an overall investment in technology that supports the 3 C’s: creation, community, and commerce.
In closing, she shares, “Creators are the ultimate entrepreneurs. When we have conversations with them, it’s so clear that many times they are the producer, the director, the actor, and their own brand and for us to be able to provide a simple mobile-first end-to-end experience that allows them to connect directly with their fans and increase monetization while also allowing them to increase their time on their art and craft is our mission.”