Author: Xiao Yan
Recently, Lei Bao learned from enterprise investigation that Xiaomi affiliated company Hanxing Venture Capital Co., Ltd. has invested in a "virtual human enterprise" - Beijing Magic Square Shidai Information Technology Co., Ltd., with a shareholding of 4.01%. The company operates the Guofeng virtual portfolio "Weiyang", and the well-known virtual human company Mafa Technology also invested in the company, with the current shareholding of 18.51%.
On the right is virtual combination Wei · Yang
More than nine months have passed since 2022. With the in-depth development of the concept of the meta universe or the actual relevant needs, "virtual people" are still hot. In addition to virtual people still active in the public eye, and they are favored by brands, multi platform, company layout, and the number and amount of related investment events are also very strong evidence. According to incomplete statistics of Lei Bao, since the beginning of 2022, A total of 22 related investment and financing events occurred in the "virtual human" field, compared with 25 in 2021.
At the same time, Shiyou Technology and Mafa Technology have completed more than 100 million yuan of financing this year, including two rounds of financing of Mafa Technology totaling 130 million dollars (about 910 million yuan at the current exchange rate).
In general, up to now, there are 22 investment and financing events in the virtual human field in 2022, involving a total of 17 companies. Some of these companies have virtual people with certain popularity, while others rely on their own technology or services, as well as in 2021. In terms of amount, the "ceiling" in 2022 is higher than that in 2021 among the investment events with public investment amount.
First, let's look at the two companies with prominent investment amount.
On April 6, Moreva Technology announced that it had successively completed rounds B and C of financing with a total amount of US $130 million. Among them, round B financing was jointly invested by Qingxin Capital, Sequoia Fund and Wuyuan Capital, while round C financing was from Softbank Group, Northern Lights Venture Capital and Index Capital.
The financing process of magic technology (picture source: enterprise investigation)
Mafa Technology, founded in 2018, is a technology company focusing on computer graphics and AI technology. The company's three major virtual world product systems are 3D virtual content production intelligent cloud platform, virtual live broadcast and offline real-time interactive products, and AI virtual human capability platform.
As for virtual people, MOFA technology can achieve efficient and high-quality production of all kinds of virtual people in the whole process, including hyper realistic characters, three-dimensional beautiful characters, 2.5-dimensional characters, anime characters, cartoon characters, etc., which is "creating people"; In terms of "educating people", it is to realize the production of all kinds of virtual content through its platforms and products, so that virtual people can output online and offline high-frequency interactive or operational content; The "employment" aspect is mainly to help marketing gain and commercial realization.
So far, Moreva Technology has served more than 200 corporate customers, covering games, entertainment, consumption, e-commerce, finance, technology, education, medical care, cultural tourism and other industries. Among them, the virtual content collaborative intelligent production cloud platform has not only created an industry famous original virtual IP plume, but also created a virtual image spokesperson or high-quality virtual content for well-known enterprises such as Alibaba, Tencent, CCTV, L'Oreal, Yuduoduo (Kraft), Yili, Mengniu, and iFLYTEK; Virtual live broadcasting technology and products serve virtual IP including Ye Xiu (Reading), Linghu (Tencent), Zhang Yuniang (Alibaba), Saratoga (Station B), Xiaoai (Xiaomi), and Sister M (L'Oreal); AI virtual people have served ByteDance, oppo, Xinhua news agency, China Mobile, China Construction Bank, Everbright Bank, Huaxia Bank, Bank of Nanjing, Taiping Insurance and other head customers.
Cases related to magic technology (source: magic technology official website)
In general, the virtual human business of Mafa Technology can not only run through the whole process of manufacturing, operation and realization, but also provide corresponding technologies and services. From the perspective of cooperation cases, the scale is also quite large and "brilliant". In April, the investors of its two rounds of financing also basically focused on its technical capabilities and efficiency in virtual content (including virtual human), while preparing for the meta universe.
Following the 10 million level investment obtained in January this year, "Shiyou Technology" completed the second phase of the A+round financing of more than 100 million yuan in August. The investors are the old shareholders Jiecheng Century, Duowen Capital, and Chaoyuanyu Technology and Tiandi Online. Founded in 2015, Shiyou Technology is a virtual technology provider focusing on the creation of digital people and virtual content. The core technology is the meta universe digital human technology and the real-time rapid virtual content production system "Puppeter virtual factory". Puppeter virtual factory can output digital personas and virtual content.
The digital human platform products of Shiyou Technology are divided into four categories: consumer, entry-level, professional and AI, which correspond to the specific application scenarios of mobile live broadcast, virtual anchor, radio and television and commercial advertising. It is reported that Shiyou Technology is about to launch a virtual live broadcast SaaS platform for small and medium-sized B terminals, which can enable customers to have TV level virtual content effects comparable to TV, and can also rapidly scale applications.
In terms of service cases, Shiyou Technology has cooperated with CCTV, Hunan Satellite TV and other well-known TV stations to create AR projects such as "The Cow Rises at the 2021 CCTV Spring Festival Gala" and "Hunan Satellite TV New Year's Eve in 2022". At the same time, it provides digital people and virtual technology support to leading digital communication enterprises such as Huawei, Xiaomi, China Mobile and Lenovo, as well as Internet giants such as Tencent, Netease, ByteDance, Baidu, Alibaba and b-station. Up to now, more than 600 virtual IP images have been created or "revived".
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The "Burning Mai Technology", which owns the famous virtual person "AYAYI", won a round of Pre-A investment of tens of millions of yuan from Haina International Group in January.
Burning Mai Technology was established in 2020. Its core orientation is the operation and management of digital assets. It has developed and launched many ultra realistic digital people such as AYAYI. AYAYI went online on May 20 last year. The number of readers of the first post of Little Red Book was nearly 3 million, and the number of fans rose nearly 40000 overnight. He also announced joining Alibaba in September last year and became the digital manager of Tmall's Super Brand Day.
In addition to being closely related to the Alibaba platform and activities, according to public information, AYAYI has also cooperated with Bosch, Porsche, Natura, Lavlauren, PRADA, Accord, moody, MAC, Yijia Mobile, L'Oreal Hair, LV, Remy Martin and many other well-known brands in the industry. The cooperation mode covers the form of spokesmen or offline activities, and has also been published in magazines such as Fashion Bazaar, which is of great commercial value.
According to the introduction of Burning Mai Technology, it started its commercial water test in the middle of June last year, and the overall market reaction was far more than expected. Up to now, it has accumulated more than 500 brands.
On February 15, the virtual digital human ecological company "Next Generation Culture" announced the completion of the A3 round of financing, which was exclusively invested by Sequoia China. Second World Culture has completed two rounds of financing of more than 10 million US dollars in three months last year. The investors include Netease, CCV, Shunwei Capital and Dynamic Capital.
The Second World Culture was established in 2016, and produced virtual split products, including the virtual image of Dilirepa "Dilirepa", the virtual image of Huang Zitao "Taosiman", and the virtual band "NAND" jointly developed with Ouyang Nana; The hyper realistic virtual human products include Guochao hyper realistic virtual KOL Feather, Guofeng energetic girl Nanmengxia, and the virtual male model "ASK" in Aiqi Yideyang Studio; Brand derived virtual human products include IDo jewelry brand's virtual image "Beco", Huaxizi brand's virtual spokesman "Huaxizi", and Yili Jindian brand image "Diandianzi". There is also the first virtual DJ "Purple" in China.
Delilengba, Nanmengxia, Purple
The virtual KOL "Ling" mentioned above was jointly created by magic technology and the next generation culture. As the "idol" of the national style, its debut video was broadcast more than 1 million times on the day of release. In addition to winning the cooperation and endorsement of multiple brands such as Baogeli, Estee Lauder, Tmall Luxury, Baique Antelope, 100 year Runfa, Tiansuo, KEEP, Tianpingniao Lecho, He was also invited to participate in the first national style youth program "Go Live! Colorful Teenagers" of China Central Radio and Television (CCTV), becoming the first virtual person to appear in CCTV variety show, and also appeared in VOGUeme magazine with Deng Ziqi, Liu Yuxin, Liu Haocun and other stars.
The invested Second World Culture is also making investment layout. In July, it invested in the virtual performance development brand "OXYZ3". It is understood that the company aims to create a national style science fiction series IP named "New Wulin", which is a virtual world integrating performance, exhibition, social interaction and game like experience. In May this year, OXYZ3 and UUBIK Ubik, a brand new digital entertainment brand under Next World Culture, completed the first limited public beta of the "New Wulin", and invited the virtual DJ "Purple" under Next World Culture, as well as Spice SPIICE Band, which has entered the 2.0 generation. It can be seen that the two parties have launched linkage and cooperation in business, and they can indeed provide application scenarios for their virtual human.
At the beginning of August, "Shiyue Xingcheng" won tens of millions of yuan of strategic investment from NetEase, Hong Kong New World Group, Kaihui Fund and X Art Museum. Founded in March 2021, Shiyue Xingcheng, as a virtual digital asset research and transportation company focusing on fashion trend segmentation, has successfully launched six virtual digital people with distinctive characteristics: Mr Meta (a futuristic collector), Vila (a vigorous and lovely beauty blogger), Reddi (a cool fashion blogger), Nami (a digital artist and fashion illustrator), Eassy (a NetEase trend technology blogger), a member of 88rising Playground Music Factory, and Vince (a hip-hop singer).
Based on the outstanding characteristics of fashion, the commercialization of some of its virtual people is also considerable in terms of number, such as Reddi and CK, DIOR, CHANEL, GUCCI and other clothing and luxury brands, Vila and Viktor& Rolf, BOBBI BROWN and other brands have cooperated. These virtual people have also appeared in Fashion COSMO, Fashion Basha and other magazines for many times, and participated in many fashion activities.
In addition to the regular brand endorsement and the realization of business activities, Shiyue Xingcheng also launched Otamakee, RaRavila and Von11 through virtual people as the principal, MET@NEGA Equal universe fashion trend digital brand. Meta StreetMarket, a digital sports brand with the trend of the universe, has achieved a revenue of 10 million yuan in the Chinese market by virtue of its virtual sneaker series.
It is worth mentioning that NetEase is not the first time to invest in Shiyue Xingcheng. Last December, NetEase invested tens of millions of yuan. With regard to the Yuanuniverse, NetEase also invested in virtual social platform BUD, Korean Yuanyuan universe game manufacturer Haegin, virtual human company Next Generation Culture, cross platform AI robot Xiaobing, 3D virtual character social platform IMVU, virtual reality technology and product developer HaptX, etc The platform and other aspects shall be arranged.
The "8:8 Digital" won the pre A round investment of nearly 10 million yuan from Baotong Technology in April, and the pre A+round investment of millions of yuan from Ralph Venture Capital in June. 8:8 Digital is a virtual human full link company, which was founded in 2014 and began to layout virtual human business scenario services in 2019. In addition to the content of virtual human assets, the company has achieved a high degree of process customization projects, incubated the virtual idol "Jiuli", and created a "virtual human Gaoyuanyuan" for the Clinique brand.
In July, MetaUniverse 3D virtual factory brand AVAR announced that it had won millions of dollars of financing, which was led by Huachuang Capital. In addition to building a virtual fashion brand, AVAR also launched a series of virtual human IP and virtual fashion products, and built a tool that can quickly generate a large number of 3D digital assets with programmed algorithms - "digital art generator".
With regard to virtual human products, the company has launched two original virtual people, Yunke and Yundada, who will show virtual clothes as virtual agents. It is understood that the company plans to build Yundada into a "virtual musician" next. In addition, AVAR also has the To B business of making virtual images for stars.
AVAR Virtual Human Cloud Coco and Yundada
In terms of marketing cases, in the live variety show Run, which was broadcast in May this year, Angelababy, the star, designed virtual clothes for Zhang Dada, Sha Yi, Zheng Kai and others, and demonstrated the upper body effect; In June, the artist He Luoluo posted the effect picture of his virtual fashion on Weibo; In July, the variety show "Star Chasers" ended with the release of the poster of Wu Qilong and other artists in the virtual meta space station. These marketing events are related to AVAR.
Recently, the 25th anniversary of China International Fashion Week, together with AVAR, also launched the first release show of virtual fashion play Remix, which was jointly sold with La Koradior, Hongxing Erke, 361 °, Tebu Sui Zhenchong, Jeanswest, CABBEEN Kabin and many other participants, to achieve cross-border linkage between fashion and fashion play in the virtual world.
In April, the "Aurora Club", which announced the completion of millions of yuan of angel round financing, was perpendicular to the virtual entertainment ecological service. It built a business system of virtual idol operation, virtual IP global creation, virtual image creation, virtual live broadcast, and virtual live broadcast technology research and development application, and created several high-income virtual UP owners such as "Jiunai".
In June, Guangzhou Animation, a company affiliated to the super realistic digital person "NANA", won the investment of Youmi Accelerator the next day. It is reported that NANA was "born" in 2019, but it has not been commercialized. The female entrepreneur club incubated by Youmi Accelerator, the Super Digital Person IP Sister of Mihuahui CEO Think Tank, will be launched in July and form a "Nahua" combination with NANA to become the first digital person IP of a female entrepreneur leader.
In February, the XR creative technology enterprise "Deep Strontium Technology" announced that it had completed three consecutive rounds of financing with a total amount of more than 10 million dollars. Among them, the Angel Round was invested by Yuanhe Capital, the Jinsha River invested in the Pre-A round jointly, and SIG invested in the Pre-A+round. Deep Strontium Technology has a virtual human named An Ruohan. It is reported that the virtual human was built according to the film industry standard.
Shiyou Technology will not repeat it. In March, Guangzhou Youyou Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Youyou Technology") announced that it had completed the angel round financing of 5 million yuan, which was invested exclusively by Weness Technology Investment Co., Ltd.
Founded in January 2021, Youyou Technology is a company focusing on artificial intelligence and digital human technology, committed to making everyone have a "digital human". In September 2021, Youyou Technology launched the virtual anchor software "Youyou Autocast", which can help users broadcast live on major mainstream platforms 24 hours a day. Its customer cases include ICBC IP Xiaoxiang, Pingzhi Information IP Xiaozhi, Guangzhou Taxation Bureau IP Suisui, etc.
In April, Yingmou Technology announced that it had completed tens of millions of yuan of Pre-A round financing. This round of investment was led by Sequoia China Seed Fund and followed by Qijichuangtan, the original shareholder.
About services and suites. The AI Sketchpad anime generator wand launched by the company has millions of users. Users can use simple color blocks to generate infinite style anime virtual images, and use videos to drive their own drawn images; The company also provides digital face reconstruction services through self-developed Light Field Stage hardware equipment. In addition, there are services such as AI face changing and intelligent lighting kit.
It is understood that based on the constantly expanding asset library and AI graphics algorithm of Shadow Eye Technology, users will be able to generate their own three-dimensional virtual image with only a few self photos, and achieve various stylization through style mapping technology. In addition, Yingmou Technology will further expand more digital human application scenarios.
At present, Yingmou Technology has cooperated with several meta universe concept companies to provide different levels of facial assets for dozens of film and television, game and marketing companies. The whole stack tool chain of Yingmou Technology can automatically process scanned materials and mass produce film and television level digital human assets.
At the beginning of June, Xinzhi Universe announced that it had completed tens of millions of yuan of angel round financing, including Sequoia Seed Fund, Linear Capital and Evergreen, etc. At the end of June, Ginkgo Valley Capital and Plug and Play China invested in it again.
At present, the Mind Universe focuses on Human level AI virtual human. It is understood that the mental awareness framework proposed by him, combined with perception, cognition and other capabilities, can improve the overall experience of users, especially the ability of logical thinking and memory. It can not only greatly improve the communication and even emotion between users and applications, but also is the technology most likely to realize new interactive experiences. This is different from the AI framework based on large-scale pre training model for traditional dialogue virtual human.
According to Tao Fangbo, founder and CEO of Mind Sense Universe, "Mind Sense Framework can do macro thinking like people, and can also handle a variety of tasks and use a variety of scenes. It can not only be used as a chat robot for video chat with people, but also support richer and more diverse interaction scenes based on environmental information and memory information."
In June, Yuan Cosmos marketing technology service provider "Zhouyu Technology" completed tens of millions of yuan of strategic financing. The investors are Xianfeng K2VC, Fanchuang Capital and BlueFocus.
With e-commerce as the starting point, Zhouyu Technology is focusing on the three aspects of "human market and goods" to carry out the meta universe technology services. On the aspect of "people", Zhouyu Technology has launched the AI virtual anchor "Zhouyu All Day Broadcast", which can bring users the experience of "24 hours of continuous electricity with live goods". At present, more than 30 brands and 40 stores are using the service of Zeyu, which lasts tens of thousands of hours.
In terms of "market", Zhou Yu Technology has designed and developed 618 Jingdong Home Appliances Main Venue "Chaodian Yuan Space" and 411 Jingdong Kasati Super Product Day, and has launched the meta universe flash store service twice, allowing users to have a first person shopping experience directly in Jingdong's APP; As for "goods", Zhouyu Technology can display the products in the form of 3D models to make the online display of goods more real, facilitate users' decision-making and improve the platform conversion rate.
Established in May 2018, "Obesaiwei", which has won the investment of Yuanwang Network, is an animation and virtual idol technology service company. It is understood that the company is providing a super realistic digital person for a domestic head e-commerce live broadcast company. Its self-developed live video technology of super virtual reality integration has been applied to live broadcast e-commerce, animation short video creation and other fields.
In addition, the company's main product, the industrial animation production system EASYTOON, takes the "three shadings and two" technology as the core, integrates AI technology, and low-cost motion capture, expression capture and other technologies, which can greatly improve the industrial production efficiency.
In August, the virtual digital intelligence technology provider "Tuoyuan Wisdom" was invested by Ginkgo Valley Capital, Zhuoyuan Capital, Hanren Investment, Yuanshu Capital and other investment institutions. The company is a domestic leading cognitive AI technology centered company, focusing on building AI digital brain, and realizing practical application by text, voice, video, virtual image and other multimodal interaction methods.
Therefore, in general, in addition to the diversified capabilities and characteristics of investment enterprises, we can also see the higher pursuit and breakthrough of domestic virtual people in technology, which in turn makes relevant companies favored by capital. In addition, we can also see the commercialization of virtual human. The number and magnitude of commercial activities of some virtual human are comparable to those of real stars. When the application scenarios are expanded and the meta universe technology is advanced, more investment and financing events related to virtual human should occur in the future when the market is still optimistic about virtual human.