Index Creator Summit: The Road to the Metaverse

by Index Ventures

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In this post: Rec Room, Gather

From the way we produce and consume culture, to how we live and work, a fresh generation of businesses is reimagining what it means to ‘create’ in today’s digital economy. We hosted the Index Creator Summit 2021 to unpack the creator phenomenon and how it cuts across social, gaming, media, crypto and commerce.

Here, Phillip Wang, Co-Founder & CEO of Gather, Devin Finzer, Co-Founder & CEO of OpenSea, Nick Fajt, Co-Founder & CEO of Rec Room and Sarah Cannon, Partner at Index Ventures discuss the metaverse.

When Covid struck, many of us were forced to migrate large parts of our social lives online. Suddenly we found ourselves attending digital dinner parties, gigs, even weddings. Was this the first real step towards the long-awaited ‘metaverse’, where work and play come together online in rich, realistic and immersive ways? If so, does the future hold one, or many, metaverses? In this conversation, hear some of the architects of the coming digital realm talk about its pitfalls and possibilities.

Sarah Cannon, partner at Index Ventures, raises the question of what the metaverse should look like from a first-principles perspective. Phillip Wang, co-founder and CEO of Gather, which allows communities to come together online, observes the prospects for a metaverse that doesn’t merely mimic ‘real life’ experiences, but in some cases can go beyond them, with new kinds of social encounters and forms of belonging. Nick Fajt, the co-founder and CEO of RecRoom, where players can build and play games together, talks about his company’s desire to cater to people’s creative need to ‘affect’ the world around them – something that’s been lacking in many virtual environments up to now. Devin Finzer, the co-founder and CEO of NFT marketplace OpenSea, notes that the frontier technologies driving the metaverse – AI, VR and crypto – all have early adopter traction but are only just on the cusp of an exponential growth curve. The group turns to the question of what will ‘mainstream’ the metaverse in order to move it from novelty to necessity; what new jobs it will create; how it could hypercharge digital network effects; and what we can do to ensure the ‘dystopian’ representations of the metaverse in literature aren’t born out in reality.

Prefer audio? Listen to the Creator Summit on Spotify, Apple Podcast or right below.

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Watch the full summit and hear from all 24 speakers who discuss the creator phenomenon.

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Published — Nov. 5, 2021