Metaverse Infrastructure Company Condense Raises $4.5M and Opens World's First Studio for Streaming Live Events Into the Metaverse
Condense - the world's first company to deliver the power, connection and immersiveness of live, real-world events into the metaverse - has raised a $4.5 million round led by LocalGlobe, 7percent Ventures and Deeptech Labs, alongside angels including a platinum-selling grime artist, former England footballer and sports presenter, Tom Blomfield (Monzo), renowned music manager Grace Ladoja MBE and Ian Hogarth (Song Kick).
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Vocalist and producer Grove performs live in the metaverse using Condense (Photo: Business Wire)
Founded in Bristol in 2019, Condense is the only company in the world with the end-to-end capture and streaming technology to live stream real-world events like music and sports events into 3D applications. The company uses cutting-edge computer vision, machine learning and proprietary streaming infrastructure to capture and embed live 3D video (Video 3.0) into any metaverse game, mobile app or platform created with Unity or Unreal Engine.
This means true-to-life live performances can be streamed directly into the virtual worlds and games platforms used by billions of people worldwide - without the need for VR headsets. Because the events are streamed live as three-dimensional "real-world" video, every player's perspective is as unique and dynamic as if they were at a physical live event - and their experience just as memorable.
In addition to the funding announcement, the company has also opened the world's first metaverse studio in partnership with Watershed - Bristol's cultural cinema and creative technology venue - to give established artists and emerging talent access to the technology. The studio is a "metaverse-first" event space, and can also accommodate a live audience. In partnership with another organisation, a London studio will open soon followed by other studios internationally.
With Condense, broadcasting live in three-dimensions to the metaverse is as natural and easy as performing in front of a conventional camera, with no need for green screens or post-production, allowing for an immediate connection with the audience in real-time.
Bristol-based vocalist and producer Grove, who was among the first artists to pioneer Condense technology, said,"The minds behind the technology are pushing the boundaries of tech-informed performance sharing. This is great for accessibility and opens up exciting new opportunities for fans to connect with their favourite artists."
Video 3.0 gives fans completely new experiences online. Audiences can attend gigs or sporting events with friends, with the freedom to move among the virtual crowds and get up close to the action. Because performances are live, fans can interact with the artist - a digital step forward from holding a banner at a gig - and artists can respond in real-time, giving shout-outs, answering questions or performing a requested track.
Condense harnesses the feelings of connection you get from seeing your favourite band, artist, team or sports star perform live, while introducing an unprecedented level of access, participation and inclusion never before seen - all while providing artists, rights holders and metaverse platforms the opportunity to create completely new revenue streams.
Grace Ladoja MBE, co-founder of METALLIC INC and renowned artist manager said: "Culture and community are what drives music forward. It's how we connect with where we've come from and where we want to go. Condense's technology is opening up a new platform for these communities and cultures, diversifying the voices in the metaverse by making it live and accessible. It's got the potential to inspire and empower a new movement of artists and fans. This is both exciting, and significant."
Ziv Reichert, partner at LocalGlobe (recently ranked the UK's number one seed investor by Dealroom) said: "Hundreds of millions of people are hanging out in immersive 3D platforms like Roblox, Rec Room, Fortnite, Sandbox, Decentraland and VRChat; attending virtual events, socialising and being creative. At the same time, player demand for live entertainment inside these virtual worlds has never been greater. Condense has built the infrastructure to connect the two - now music artists, sports stars and creatives can perform and play live in the metaverse, to the largest stadium audience imaginable."
Andrew Gault, founding partner of 7percent ventures said: "When I invested in Oculus nearly 10 years ago, the dream was to deliver experiences that seamlessly merge the digital and the physical. Condense has now made that possible inside all video games and platforms, without the need for VR headsets. What they have built is already a reality and it's going to change the way the whole world engages online."
Miles Kirby, CEO of Deeptech Labs said, "The metaverse requires a new infrastructure, much of it breaking new ground and requiring next-generation machine learning and machine vision. Condense has the deeptech experience and vision to make the metaverse the number one destination for live events."
Condense's CEO and co-founder Nick Fellingham said, "The Bristol scene has long been a world-renowned melting pot of different cultures and music and, in the last few years, it's become a hub for games development too. Now we're going to put Bristol on the map once again with the world's first metaverse live streaming studio to bring together the energy of live events with the massive scale of the metaverse. The Video 3.0 infrastructure we've built takes out the technical complexity of streaming live into the metaverse, so people are free to put their creativity in. Video 3.0 is going to change not just how we experience live events online, but fundamentally how we engage with each other."
Condense is the only company in the world to stream real-world live events into the metaverse. The company's first product, Condense Live, enables music and sports rights holders to stream live volumetric video directly into online games platforms, creating brand new player experiences and revenue streams. Based in Bristol, the company was founded in 2019 and is funded by investors including LocalGlobe, 7percent Ventures and Deeptech Labs and angels including Tom Blomfield, Grace Ladoja MBE and Ian Hogarth.
LocalGlobe is one of the world's leading seed funds from the Phoenix Court Group, with a focus on investing across EMEA at pre-seed and seed. The fund's experience in backing founders and their teams at the start of their journey means it has spotted more unicorns at seed level than any other European investor. LocalGlobe's investments at seed stage include At-Bay, Hailo, Motorway, Travelperk and Zego. Portfolio companies from LocalGlobe, and its sister break-out fund Latitude, have raised over $9.4bn of follow-on capital in the last 12 months, from some of the best investors globally, who share our conviction in these founders' ability to build enduring businesses.
About 7percent Ventures
7percent Ventures is an ex-founder led, network-driven, trans-Atlantic early stage fund, based in London and the U.S. West Coast. They invest very early in technology which is transformative and can monopolise a big market, supporting start-ups via an extensive advisor network. They seek multi-$bn game changing ideas which will impact our world positively, passing on the lower risk or less ambition opportunities.
About Deeptech Labs
Deeptech Labs is a VC fund, accelerator, and the catalyst for deeptech success. Twice a year, its cohort of start-ups are embedded in a powerful network of successful entrepreneurs, expert practitioners, leading researchers, and deeptech organisations worldwide. Deeptech Labs is founded by ARM, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Martlet Capital, and the University of Cambridge - forefront institutions at the heart of the Cambridge and global technology ecosystems. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, UK.
Watershed is a Bristol-based hub that champions engagement, imagination and ingenuity, working locally, nationally and globally. Watershed presents a diverse programme of films, events, festivals, artist comissions and has audience and participation at its heart. The space opened its doors in 1982 and declared itself to be 'Britain's First Media Centre' seeking to capture and contextualise the shift in media and is the leading film, culture and digital media centre in the South West.