Metaverse Virtual Being Startup Inworld AI Raises $50M
Metaverse virtual character creator Inworld AI has raised $50 million in a Series A funding round led by Section 32 and Intel Capital. Inworld enables the design and deployment of AI-powered interactive characters for the metaverse and other digital worlds in minutes.
Inworld Metaverse Characters
Inworld’s aim is to populate the games and experiences of the metaverse with characters that are easy to set up but can change and evolve through conversations with users and engaging with its virtual environment. After operating in stealth until last year, the company has grown rapidly.
The launch of the Inworld Studio platform in beta a few months ago introduced the platform to new users who are helping refine the no-code system created by Inworld. This solution enables non-technical users to create character personalities simply by describing them using natural language inputs. The studio works with most common game and metaverse engines like Unreal and Unity, streamlining the pipeline between generating the character and deploying it in the digital universe.
Characters Need Brains
“You just need to make sure that these [digital] worlds are immersive enough, engaging enough. And one part of it is, well, they shouldn’t feel lonely,” Gelfenbeyn explained when on the Voicebot Podcast recently. “And therefore, you do need to kind of like have this whole virtual population there. The whole premise of what we are building is if there is a parallel world where people will be living, there should be this parallel population, and we are in charge of this. So it’s really about the brains and the intelligence for all these virtual characters that will be needed as just part of this parallel world. And that convinced me that this is something very, very promising.”
Inworld has raised $70 million since its’ stealth start last year, including a $10 million strategic funding round in March. Gelfenbeyn, best known for founding the startup that became Dialogflow after Google acquired it, has also led the company to become a member of the latest Disney Accelerator cohort, a half-dozen startups chosen for their ability to contribute to what Disney calls ‘next-generation storytelling.’ That could mean Inworld’s tech may find a home among Disney’s larger plans for the metaverse and interactive AI.
The entertainment element makes a lot of sense for the company, which now counts as chief creative officer Academy Award-winning designer John Gaeta, whose work made The Matrix and much of modern cinema possible.