Why did gather, the social platform of yuanuniverse, win the favor of Sequoia with a financing of US $77 million in two years?

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The arrival of the epidemic has disrupted people's pace of life and changed people's social and working methods. More and more companies and enterprises have to start to switch to remote cooperation,Online office has gradually become a trend.

In this situation of face-to-face communication and cooperation, video conference tools have become a solution to reverse this situation.

Zoom, for example, is a multi person cloud video conference software. During May 2020, 200 million people attended the conference on zoom every day. In June, this number rose to 300 million, becoming one of the fastest-growing applications during the epidemic.

A voice + video conference tool may improve the cooperation efficiency of online office to a certain extent, but the single cooperation mode also lacks face-to-face interaction.

Therefore, zoom may not be a complete solution, and users have more needs for remote collaboration.

Therefore, gather, a virtual conference platform that can carry out conferences, education, academic conferences, ceremonies and other activities, came into being.

The two-year-old startup has gained 10 million users, and more than 10000 teams are using gather virtual office, and this trend has not stopped.

So, how does gather do it and what are the characteristics of the virtual reality space it creates?


Who's gather?


Gather is a project jointly initiated by kumail Jaffer, Phillip Wang, Alex Chen and Nathan FOSS in May 2020.

Among them, Phillip Wang is also the CEO, kumail Jaffer is also the CTO, and Alex Chen is also the vice president of products. The gather team is a friendly small team. Up to now, the company has 84 employees.

At first, the start-up team wanted to solve "how to maintain close relationships with friends and family who don't live near themselves" through gather Problems.

And with the epidemic sweeping the world,Gather has become a meta universe platform with 10 million users.

Philip Wang, the CEO of gather, has always been concerned about the construction and significance of metaverse. He believes that the metauniverse can bring meaningful human connection and unprecedented equal rights.

So they created gather, a video chat platform with game attributes, which provides a more interesting choice for remote communication.

In this 2D style virtual space, users first need to build a virtual image, and then they can build their own virtual office here, including desk, conference room, game area and so on.

The virtual image can move freely in different spaces. After other users join, they can also chat and hold meetings by video or text.

More importantly,Gather can directly enter the virtual conference space through the website without downloading the application, which is very convenient.

At present, more than 10000 virtual teams have started to work through this policy.

In addition, gather also held more than 20000 professional activities, including academic conferences, job fairs and professional associations; Even family dinners, rock shows, birthday parties, late night self-study and so on.

of course,Gather has also made great achievements in the past two years: it has completed two rounds of financing totaling $75 million.

On March 11, 2021, gather raised $26 million in round a financing, which was led by Sequoia Capital and invested by Index Ventures, YC continuity, Jeff Weiner, Dylan field and Kevin Hartz.

On November 3, 2021, gather completed the round B financing of US $50 million led by Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures. Dylan field (figma), Jeff Weiner LinkedIn, Juan benet, Lachy groom, Elad Gil, YC continuity, Neo and haystack participated in the financing. The fund will be used for the development of yuanuniverse.

Perhaps the meta universe has not really arrived yet, but gather has just begun, and there is still a long way to go in the future.


What can we do with gather?


What can gather, known as the 2D metauniverse, bring us? FTX . Brett Harrison, chairman of us, has settled in and is sought after by countless Web3 practitioners. What is the charm?Even Forbes said that "the future is low resolution". What can we do with gather?Let's make a brief introduction below.

First of all, gather is not just an online conference room, where you can work, socialize and study. Taking the meeting room as the starting point, the gather team gradually reproduces all the production and life styles in real life, so as to make everyone better immersive.

Today's gather is more like a tool set,Provide users with the infrastructure modules needed for work, study and entertainment, and users can easily build their own world on demand.

When you open gather to establish your own space, you can find three modes, "establish an office area, organize activities and explore other social activities". Select and determine the personnel size and space name, and users can easily create their own gather world.

Users need to create their own virtual avatar in gather and turn on the microphone and video functions before they can enter it.

Users can choose different hairstyles, accessories and clothes for their avatars to achieve personalization and diversification. Use the "WSAD" four keys on the keyboard to manipulate the avatar to walk up, down, left and right, and explore the world created by gather.

Basic item: Online Office (voice / audio)

As the most basic function of gather, there is no doubt that online office. At a time when the epidemic is raging,More and more enterprises or teams have to adopt the way of online office.

However, "how to maintain a close relationship with distant colleagues online" has become an issue that many managers need to solve.

Gather provides an infrastructure platform for online office, so that users can work together remotely in gather space.

Because the space of gather is customized, users can restore the office scene and integrate into it.

Gather's space can be planned into different groups, divided into different areas or rooms, and even add necessary entertainment facilities, such as billiard tables.

Users can use the private area to divide into several groups to maintain the fluency of communication and work and play with colleagues.

meanwhile,Gather's spatial audio technology provides users with a corresponding sense of immersion, as the distance between user avatars varies, the sound heard varies from high to low, which makes the sound more spatial.

Users can go to their colleagues and say hello, and the video will pop up automatically. Users can efficiently work online through video, audio and whiteboard that can share documents.

Opening a virtual office

In addition to the basic online office function, gather also provides the function of opening a virtual office.

Users divide and name the space in the office area to create a unique space for different teams and individuals. Users can decorate the virtual office, decorate furniture, lay carpets, and even add piano and green plants.

Users can set different areas on gather, when you manipulate your avatar into the station, reception hall and other places, the surrounding will become dark. Users within this range will talk to each other, and people outside the range will not hear. It ensures the privacy of the conversation.

For private offices, users can even set access control and choose to accept or refuse the meeting when visitors arrive, which highly reproduces the real-world office scene and ensures the privacy required by users.

Hold various virtual activities and conferences

What gather provides is not only these, but also supports more scenes for holding various virtual activities and meetings. Such as holding concerts, birthday parties, secret room escape, product launches and other large-scale activities, organizing hacker marathons and summits, and building restaurants, game halls, bars and so on.

The space of gather is limited to 500 people, but when more users need to participate, they can link the space together to make the activity go smoothly.

At present, gather has won the trust and presence of more than 10000 innovation teams, and is committed to creating more application scenarios and providing users with more colorful experiences.

Online entertainment scenes: Games, social networking, etc

In gather, we need to establish a virtual avatar to join various virtual scenes, and gather has an innovative function. It is a platform for close video chat, which is similar to reality. The virtual avatar in it must be close to others to talk with it.

Combined with some rich interactive tools,Gather is naturally suitable to be a game, and it is a slightly immersive game with some interaction similar to reality.

For example, you can join a secret room escape game with your friends, which can not only operate character exploration and decryption, but also get together with your friends to discuss solutions face to face. Although it is only a 2D scene, it can make players feel immersive.

On the other hand, compared with the traditional online social networking, gather is no longer stuck in the way of boring dialogue or video, which expands the sense of interaction and picture, and increases the gameplay of social networking.

Friends can participate in some social activities together on the opposite side of the line. For example, although they play online, draw and guess, or discuss design drawings, they can intuitively see other people's expressions and reactions,It breaks the limitation of physical distance, increases the dimension of virtual space, and makes online social networking more deep and interesting.


Gather's new goal: the meta universe


When gather completed the round B financing of US $50 million at the end of last year, it made it clear that the funds will be used for the development of metauniverse.

However, this inevitably raises many questions. The impression of the meta universe is often the 3D simulation virtual world presented by VR / AR and other technologies. Why does the 2D pixel world such as gather layout the meta universe?

The key to the problem is how the public understand the meta universe. Philip Wang, founder of gather, defines the metauniverse in this way:Metauniverse is not just about VR technology, games or NFT based on blockchain technology.

Although these aspects are adopted in the field of metauniverse. The meta universe is a place about how people interact with other people and the space they create. It is a virtual layer that makes people feel immersed and connects people in many different environments.

Eventually, the meta universe will change our view of physical location. No matter where we are, it will create more opportunities and communication for us.

Based on this understanding, gather does not use VR and other high technologies that are difficult for ordinary people to access,Instead, it uses pixel style, so that people can easily access through the browser and create a broader virtual space.

They pay more attention to breaking the virtual space of the physical world and obtaining more connections between people. In fact, how to show such a meta universe is not important.

Given that VR and other technologies are still in the early stage, a 2D pixel style meta universe like gather is not limited by hardware, but also has a very low threshold for use and a user base of tens of millions. Instead, it may be able to overtake in a corner and become the prototype of a meta universe with rich users and ecology.

What's more, the founder of gather has a deeper understanding of the meta universe. Unlike other technology giants who layout the meta universe, he does not intend to build a meta universe exclusively belonging to gather,It is believed that the meta universe should be more open and decentralized.

He expects to have interoperability with other meta universe developer platforms through an open standard. Therefore, gather is also actively cooperating with other development companies to create a richer meta universe ecology.

At present, third-party organizations can build their own activities and workspaces through a web-based tool developed by gather, or integrate through APIs.

Roblox provides tools to build 3D virtual world, which activates users' creativity,It enables users to spontaneously create tens of millions of virtual worlds and attract more users to participate in themAnd then form a network effect.

And gather is providing more tools and support to build a more open platform.

At present, tens of thousands of teams have constructed virtual space on gather. Gather may be building a 2D version of roblox legend, which can be expected in the future.


Will the meta universe be the next battlefield of social interaction?


Since the birth of mutual benefit.com in 2000, social networking has been a race track for entrepreneurs.

Domestically, from the earliest QQ to Feixin and now wechat, subdivided social applications such as Momo, tantan and soul are interspersed. Not to mention some short-lived social products in the past few years, it can be said that the public opinion occupying the social outlet has never stopped. Even now, there are still early adopters, but there are no phenomenal and sustainable products.

Therefore, many investors and entrepreneurs have said,Social products are a bottomless pit, if you are lucky enough to be a leader in subdivided fields, if you are not lucky enough, you will become "white bones", which is the development road of Internet social networking in the past 20 years.

But now, with the advent of the meta universe, some social innovators see the opportunity again, and even don't hesitate to spend a lot of money to grab social products in the meta universe.

Like horizon, the officially open VR social platform launched by meta, users can create virtual images on the platform and interact with other users.

Although the user's Avatar in horizon has only the upper half of the body, more than 300000 people have participated since its launch.

Therefore, start-up teams like gather will focus on the online office collaboration they are good at on the one hand, and unconsciously turn their attention to the social field they can almost reach out to, which is what they need to do with their latest financing of $50 million.

When Internet social applications enter the white hot competition, metacosmic social networking seems to have just begun,We can see that many players in the meta universe have intersected their positioning with social networkingTo expand its barriers to financing or commerce.

However, as far as the current metacosmic social networking is concerned, we have to admit that most products are still in the primary stage, far from real application products.

As Zuo Pengfei, an associate researcher at the Institute of quantitative economics and technical economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out in the interview, the real meta universe social app,In addition to the three-dimensional virtual image, the social form will present three basic characteristicsFirst, the meta universe social space can create virtual scenes; Second, the social scene of the meta universe can be superimposed with virtual and real images; Third, the social process of meta universe can be multi person interaction and cooperation.

Obviously, the current meta universe social products are far from what Mr. Zuo said. Even the "gel", which is known as the first application of meta universe social networking at the beginning of the year, is a flash in the pan and gradually fades out of sight.

Therefore, we need to pay attention to whether the achievements of gather in the current field can smoothly transition to meta cosmic society. After all, "the early worm is eaten by the bird" is not shocking.

Of course, the competition of meta universe social track may not have really started, and we don't know who will become meta or wechat in this field, but it is certain that social networking will still be the battleground of meta universe. Who makes social networking human nature?


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