Former Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger is investing his name and money in a new company that aims to rule the web and the metaverse in the future.
On Monday, Genies, a Los Angeles-based 3D avatar startup, announced that Iger will join its board of directors and invest an undisclosed sum in the company.
Customers can design their own unique digital avatars – three-dimensional cartoon versions of themselves – for their social media profiles and, eventually, to travel the metaverse, thanks to Genies’ mobile app, which was launched in 2017.
According to a press release, the 5-year-old start-up can rely on Iger’s help to grow the company because it promises to build “avatar ecosystems” where consumers can generate everything from digital style lines for avatars to virtual worlds where these avatars may collaborate.
In a statement, Genies co-founder and CEO Akash Nigam, praised Iger’s engagement, stating, “I can’t think of a better creative and product thinker than Bob to collaborate with.”
Beginning in 2005, Iger served as Disney’s CEO for 15 years. He managed the company’s massive investments in technology at the time, paying more than $7 billion to acquire Pixar in 2007 and promoting the adoption of streaming and augmented reality technologies across the board.
“I’ve always been drawn to the intersection between technology and art, and Genies provides unique and compelling opportunities to harness the power of that combination to enable new forms of creativity, expression and communication,” Iger stated in a assertion, asserting his function at Genies.
Bob Chapek became Disney CEO after Iger stepped down in 2020. Iger also stepped down from the Disney board of directors at the end of 2021.
“In reality, that scenario of a world in which technology’s enabling more storytelling exists today probably even more so,” Iger stated.
Since stepping down, the previous Disney world administration has hinted at his interest in the growth of the online, dubbed “internet 3.0” or “Web 3.0,” as well as the concept of a metaverse.
Iger said the next incarnation of the internet “will absolutely be more appealing in experience, certainly more immersive, more dimensional” on Kara Swisher’s “Sway” podcast in January.
He went on to say that there won’t be just one metaverse, but many different digital worlds to explore, and that customers’ avatars will be crucial as they move from one metaverse land to the next.
“I bring up the subject of democratization. He answered, “It will be dispersed.” “You may have an avatar, but you’ll wander aimlessly.” And I believe it has a good chance of becoming a real-life experience.”
Genies, for example, is relying on this type of metaverse expertise. The goal of the company is to “build a global avatar system that can be used across an open metaverse,” according to its website.
According to Reuters, Genies has raised a total of $100 million in funding from venture capital firms such as Bond and Breyer Capital.
The company has also collaborated with so many celebrities, like Justin Bieber, Cardi B, and Shawn Mendes, to create online avatars for them.
Genies have also partnered with labels such as Gucci on branded digital devices and developed a marketplace for digital accent NFTs – assume clothes, shoes, and backpacks for these avatars.
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