Metaverse Virtual Being Startup Inworld AI Raises $10M
Virtual being platform Inworld AI has raised $10 million in strategic funding led by BITKRAFT Ventures and joined by The Venture Reality Fund, Kleiner Perkins, and CRV. Inworld’s characters are designed for video games and the connected virtual worlds of the metaverse.
Inworld AI offers a platform for creating virtual beings; their look, sound, and personality. Inworld’s clients can generate a virtual being and embed an AI within that can converse with people using natural language and learn through interaction to perform better. Inworld envisions populating metaverse worlds, games, and branded content with its virtual beings. The multimodal beings will be compatible with major virtual reality and game engines when the platform comes out in the next couple of months.
“Similar to how Unity and Unreal allow developers to create visually compelling environments, the Inworld AI platform is designed to help build virtual characters with high configurability to create a more engaging and memorable user experience,” Inworld AI CEO Ilya Gelfenbeyn said. “With the backing of the most high-profile investors in the space, we will be able to enable developers and creators to leverage our platform to build and deploy virtual characters that enhance immersive and interactive virtual worlds.”
The metaverse and virtual beings to populate it are among the most significant conversational AI shifts of the last few years. Inworld’s raise is part of an accelerating pipeline of products and startup funding. Virtual being developer Neosapience raised $21.5 million last month to boost its Typecast product for the metaverse. Soul Machines raised a massive $70 million for the same broad concept, right as Korean video game giant Krafton came out with its own hyperrealistic virtual friends and game show hosts for the metaverse. Those followed last year’s rapid-fire funding and product news, including Hour One, Veritone, DeepBrain. The growing number of metaverse platforms are only increasing demand, as Meta’s eponymous platform, Baidu’s XiRang, and Nvidia’s Omniverse attest.
Inworld is well-situated to compete, however. The company was founded by veterans of conversational AI development at Google and DeepMind, including Dialogflow’s antecedent API.AI. The startup has gathered an eclectic mix of AI and virtual reality leaders as investors and advisors. Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell are among the angel investors, while designer John Gaeta, who won an Academy Award for his work on The Matrix, is now an advisor.