Unlock Venture Partners Puts Its Portfolio in the Metaverse

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Unlock Venture Partners Puts Its Portfolio in the Metaverse
Image courtesy of Unlock Venture Partners

A Los Angeles- and Seattle-based investment firm may be the first to put its own portfolio page in the metaverse.

“As far as we know it’s never been done,” Unlock Venture Partners co-founder Sanjay Reddy told dot.LA.

Created by Pixelcanvas, an L.A. startup backed by the investment firm, the “Unlockverse” runs inside a simple web browser and drops you directly into a shiny, virtual showroom.

While most VC portfolio sites usually take the form of a bland web page with hyperlinked logos, the Unlockverse is a virtual space the size of an airplane hangar with all the trappings of a high-end mall. Inside, 3D storefronts are themed to match the companies that occupy each space.

For example, DressX’s room in the Unlockverse looks like a futuristic boutique, as it operates a fashion-focused NFT marketplace. Unlock’s own room, in contrast, is relatively straight-forward, featuring a blue sky ceiling and framed photo slideshows of its team on the walls.

“We don’t want it looking like Roblox,” Sanjay said, referring to the cartoony online game. “This is photo-realistic because we’re focused on the enterprise.”

The Unlockverse is a little glitchy, though. As I approached an escalator, my avatar got stuck and swung erratically until I clicked myself free. Inside the stores, if you click a “learn more” button, you’re plopped in front of a two-dimensional screen where you’ll find some ordinary links, images and videos.

Unlockverse Trailer

But the experience is also a bit more detailed than expected. There are mini-games, like a dunk tank. You can even wander into a bathroom stall, although all you can do is stand in there. It begs the question: Why put it there at all?

Sanjay, for his part, downplayed Unlockverse as “a test,” but also teased that Pixelcanvas has already built multiple environments and has a bigger launch in the works.

“It’s really about, in a sense, the dogs eating the dog food, so to speak” he said—as in, he wants the firm to practice what it preaches about the metaverse and Web3. In January, Unlock unveiled a $62 million seed-stage fund focused on L.A.-based startups, with an emphasis on metaverse and Web3 ventures.

So, is this the metaverse we keep hearing about? The concept itself is loosely defined, but typically it refers to large, immersive, social 3D worlds. Depending on your outlook, the metaverse either totally doesn’t exist, is in the works or has already arrived. Either way, the good news is there’s no line for the bathroom.

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