Mixed Reality: How the Gateway to the Metaverse is helping the real world
BY Margot Pessy
Hrish, You Have such a diverse background, what led you to work with Mixed Reality, NFTs and in the Metaverse?
“I started working in management consulting and then moved to NYC to work on Wall Street at UBS Investment Bank and HSBC Securities in public finance, corporate finance and M&A. After Wall Street, I got into venture capital in NYC investing across biotech and consumer technology.
And about ten years ago, I had an idea: wouldn’t it be cool to go to the emerging markets somewhere and start a VC fund. I ended up getting on a plane and traveling all over Eastern Europe. I didn’t know anyone when I first got there. It took me about a year and a half, but I started a venture capital fund in Ukraine backed by Victor Pinchuk (Ukrainian billionaire and founder of EastOne Group). We invested in early-stage startups in the region and were the first investor in Preply.com. About four years later, I joined Toptal (backed by a16z) as an early employee and the first BD team member and helped scale that company globally. After my career spanned to Hollywood, I moved into the entertainment industry, where I co-founded Rogue Initiative Studios and partnered with famed Hollywood director Michael Bay. At Rogue Initiative, we build franchises across feature film, TV, gaming, and immersive entertainment. Through building The Rogue Initiative, I learned about the importance of the creation of content across mediums.
Between that and the viral sensation Pokemon Go, at the time, I reunited with my former colleague Max Woon. We had previously worked together on the Youtube platform. We decided to look at the possibilities and opportunities of Mixed Reality. When we thought of creating our world in the virtual space, The idea of the platform became what is known today as Superworld, which can be defined as the superpositioning of worlds, of which there is an infinite number of them, available with blockchain technology, with the use of NFTs.
Mixed Reality is the way to put content anywhere in any world.
A lot has evolved from 2017 to 2021, and we all have a better understanding of technology, making us realize how many possibilities Augmented Reality is enabling. Ultimately, helping us better understand certain parts of the Metaverse or virtual worlds that are gaining momentum like NFTs.
Mixed Reality is the best way to empower people to build their virtual world and take ownership of it, using this immersive environment on top of the real one. By leveraging blockchain technology on our platform Superworld, we have a mission that all stakeholders can benefit from using it.
Where do you see SuperWorld in a year within the evolution of technologies and the digital spaces alongside with NFTs?
Superworld is a virtual world that is empowered utilizing AR, VR, Blockchain, and AI technologies. NFTs are the basis of our virtual real estate platform, and we have a broad spectrum of use cases that we can leverage through those technologies. We hope to have more and more use cases over the next year.
This week, for instance, we are auctioning an NFT Superyacht in the Monaco Yacht Show. This fall, we will also be present at Art Basel, with many entertainment NFT drops, and with major artists on board and producers on the platform. What you can expect to see from SuperWorld soon is an opportunity to utilize NFT technologies across consumers and enterprises, with the growth of those use cases this coming year.
We have been working with a variety of social causes. We are recent partners of the UN and UNESCO for projects such as the rebuilding of Beirut, helping the Amazon Tribes, or even the Flint Water Festival to support the water crisis. Finally, we are working on Climate Change with COP26.
And our social impact projects are just getting started. We are excited to leverage NFTs and our virtual land to create awareness around these causes and work on ways to bring in this user-generated content and experiences to further bolster efforts with global partners as the technologies and our platform evolves. We are most excited to continue involving our community in the co-creation of content and really to take it to the next level.
How do you see social impact projects through the Metaverse influencing and fostering relationships within communities?
The ability of NFTs to enable brands to create content and experiences and anything related to technology is powerful — making adoption and collaboration for artists and influencers reasonably straightforward. This opportunity allows for them to collaborate and build payment gateways together.
The value of an NFT could be (when creating collectibles) to build strong communities and novelty behind them. The more interest in digital items, the more it could benefit these brands with fan engagement. Fans and customers become Stakeholders in the cause, which becomes a new community and means an increasingly larger market when NFTs become more mainstream.
The communities around these assets are the people passionate about these NFTs they’ve collected, the stories they represent, and sharing them with others, even outside of their community.
The Metaverse allows artists to get involved with brands in more exciting ways and to be able to utilize the technology to do so. It is the ultimate opportunity for artists to involve brands or vice-versa in their work because NFTs empower all stakeholders in the community.
So how can companies and brands leverage this use case for their own social impact projects? (SuperWorld being the prime example)
There are plenty of awareness campaigns utilizing NFTs for social impact initiatives. Brands now use NFTs as their new tools and mediums. It became a new method of brand experiences because they are in style, and we are all learning how many benefits they can bring.
We are starting to see NFTs utilized for brands and causes, generating incentives for customers and communities to get involved. It is the best way for higher levels of interactivity in any brand experience. The evolution of NFTs will be an initial exposure campaign much more valuable and impactful methods for any cause, artist, or ecosystem. As more people adopt NFTs, the more mainstream they will become.
Which industry do you see evolving alongside NFTs for the good of the industry? Or do you believe that NFTs are agnostic to the growth of specific industries?
I think that NFT technology is pretty comprehensive in its applicability, so industries affected by them will be diverse in general. However, we are seeing them start with the gaming space, art space, and social utility. When thinking of the Metaverse, there is a high-level benefit of the virtuality of these technologies and a very low cost of creating virtual content. When we see more virtual industries (art and gaming, interactivity), those industries are the first movers of those technologies.
With SuperWorld, we are highly focused on the physical world by enhancing it through the virtual world. By doing so, other industries can do the same, leading to broader adoption of these technologies. Our purpose at SuperWorld then clearly becomes to bridge the virtual and physical spaces. We, then, help brands that want to go virtual, becoming their Gateway to the Metaverse, enhancing people’s real lives + physical businesses.
NFTs are now the way for everyone in all industries to provide for anyone to create and monetize anything created in any world.
NFTs are truly the building blocks of the Metaverse.
They are Cross-platform and authentic. They have become powerful technologies that empower creators and brands that want to build and engage with their customers in ways that they never have before.
For companies and brands considering entering the Metaverse and minting their own NFTs, knowing what you know now, what’s one piece of advice you would give that you wish you knew when you started?
My biggest advice is to make sure that the NFTs you are creating and the overall vision of the project have compelling benefits to you and that it has long-term utility for the community created around that cause. Creating an NFT campaign that has benefits for social reasons is positive and the best way to have a long-term impact.
It’s essential to make sure that the community and the whole experience created is long-term oriented and not just to capture the attention of supporters in the now. You need to find ways to develop NFT drops to make it a yearly event or a long-term project. Ask yourself questions, think about the utility of the NFT, can you bring in education…
The combination of a solid campaign to get interested in the now and building into the framework of collaboration, experience, and long-term characteristics will make it successful and meaningful in the long run, attracting long-term stakeholders at the same time.
Finally, if you could describe the Metaverse and NFTs in your own words what would they be?
SuperWorld and the Metaverse are overlapping concepts, with the Metaverse being the combination of virtual worlds. Our focus on the real world and enhancing people’s real lives is the Gateway to the Metaverse. Our clear mission is to be the online-offline interface for all activities.
That’s what is the greater Metaverse: the encapsulator of all these other virtual worlds and platforms available.
Now, NFTs are a way of empowering creators and the overall ecosystem of fans and collectors and brands. NFT and its underlying technologies are the essential building blocks empowering the Metaverse and the digital space altogether.