On Thursday, the cofounders of metaverse infrastructure and content conglomerate Futureverse announced Born Ready, a fund aimed at early stage companies that focus on Web3 technology.
The new $50 million fund will provide investments of between $250,000 and $2 million to companies that aim to build out Futureverse’s network of Web3 infrastructure and content.
Some companies already included in the Born Ready portfolio are FCTRY Lab, a sneaker startup founded by the former head of Adidas’ Yeezy Innovation Lab and Walker Labs, a Web3 game studio, among others.
The goal of Futureverse, which raised $54 million last week for its own metaverse aims, is to improve virtual experiences and make them more accessible for consumers.
The Born Ready fund will also aim to back companies that can contribute to Futureverse’s intellectual property, cofounder Aaron McDonald told Fortune. The Born Ready fund will also launch an accelerator to help nurture some portfolio companies.
“We’re looking at stuff that isn’t always obvious, and it’s not stuff that the core business might get involved with. It’s kind of adjacent but additive,” McDonald said.
The Born Ready news is notable because it comes at a time when venture capital firms, including Silicon Valley heavy hitter Sequoia Capital, are scaling back their efforts in crypto amid a broad market downturn. Overall, funding for new blockchain-based startups has evaporated when compared to the boom times of the last two years. Enthusiasm for the metaverse and the prices for land in virtual worlds have also collapsed as investors turn to other technology like A.I.
Despite the pullback from investors, McDonald said Futureverse’s corporate clients and partners are still quietly pushing ahead with metaverse efforts, even if they aren’t saying it publicly. Some clients have even asked McDonald and cofounder Shara Senderoff to not associate the word “metaverse” with their projects, they said.
“They’re not talking about it in the public domain because it’s not fashionable anymore, but they’re certainly building strategies around it,” McDonald added.
Senderoff said Born Ready’s vision of the metaverse is much more broad than what some associate with the term, desktop-based games backed by the blockchain.
“When you think about the term, the metaverse, we truly believe it’s just the internet. It’s the next evolution,” Senderoff added.