Finance

Metaverse: these Dutch entrepreneurs are building a world where anything is possible

“The metaverse is an open canvas,” says Alex van der Baan. He is co-founder of the Dutch company BeemUp. “You can achieve very special things. For example, we create an office environment where you can put someone in Utrecht, Milan and Beijing together. You can break all the laws of physics.”

Virtual environments

BeemUp wants to earn money on behalf of companies and other providers of virtual environments (‘metaspaces’) in the metaverse. And by building storylines and designing the avatars (users’ representations) that walk or fly around.

Their clients are organizers of live events, talk shows and companies that organize meetings or launch products. BeemUp is a kind of advertising agency and software company in one.

Smartphone, PC or VR glasses

The virtual worlds that the startup is building can be visited with a smartphone, PC or a VR headset. They call it “a 3D version of the Internet,” one that you step in and be a part of. Van der Baan: “You have many more options, everything stands or falls with a good creative concept. We see it as the new evolution of the internet.”

Visitors can spend money through so-called NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to purchase. These are digital products that can be anything: a concert ticket, but also something you wear in the metaverse, for example. But visitors can also experience something, such as walking through your upcoming house in the new residential area where you will soon be living – for which the company is entering into a partnership with construction company BAM.

What is the metaverse?

Virtual worlds are not new. Years ago you already had Second Life. But suppose you link all these worlds together. So that one big virtual world is created. Then you speak of the metaverse. A shared virtual world in which virtual reality and the real world come together.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sees the metaverse as the successor or new version of the internet, which then largely consists of 3D environments, where people can do things together. If we are to believe Zuckerberg, we’re going to be spending a lot of time there in five to ten years.

And not only Zuckerberg says that, but also other bosses at tech companies. From Meta (until recently Facebook) and Microsoft to Amazon and chip company Nvidia: all major tech companies see a future in the metaverse.

But whether it’s a virtual conference room, a history lesson in the Colosseum or a concert: someone has to build those worlds. And that also applies to the stuff that will be sold in the metaverse. Instead of placing a car ad in that world, you could also let someone drive that car themselves, Epic boss Tim Sweeney once outlined.

open source

Another Dutch company that has plunged into the metaverse is Odyssey. They look at this new world in a completely different way: with royalty-free software that users can adjust to their own liking. “We really want a open source deliver a solution that people can build with,” says founder Rutger van Zuidam. “The community should benefit from it.”

The idea originated in April at a ‘hackathon’ where visitors could build software solutions for government organizations and NGOs, but which could not take place because of the corona virus. Van Zuidam: “After two postponements, I thought: then we should make this situation a chance in which we try to make something that is not the offline experience is going to replace, but one that creates a completely new kind of experience.”

4 million euros

According to him, Momentum should become a platform where people from all over the world work together on a design, tool or 3D world. “You can see each other’s things, which shows that someone is also working.” The Amsterdam startup has fifteen employees and has so far raised 4 million euros from investors.

Van Zuidam says he has no profit motive with Momentum, as the newly available software program has been called. “The internet is at an advanced stage. We want to ensure that people can manage things themselves as much as possible. In an open network over which no party is in control. Our model is: no advertising. We do not want to collect data from people and organizations.”

Still getting used to

While entrepreneurs are already very enthusiastic, the general public still has to get used to the metaverse. “It’s still very abstract, because nobody really knows what’s coming or has a vision of which way it’s going,” says Elmar Eisemann, professor of computer graphics and visualization at TU Delft. “There are also technical problems.”

The latter mainly has to do with the state of virtual reality: not everyone has VR glasses or headset at home. Good glasses are pricey and the quality of cheaper variants is often mediocre. Eisemann: “Then you can become nauseous as a user. These are the issues that you have to solve before it can work on a large scale.”

According to the professor, a standard is also needed for the metaverse. “The internet is a good example. You can use different search engines on the internet. That is Google now, but not before. You will also get that with the metaverse.” According to Eisemann, people are going to come up with different things to connect the 3D environments of the metaverse. “How exactly that happens is still an issue. But if it works, it’s something that’s fantastic.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Close
Back to top button