Ready Player Me

Ready Player Me

Type: Web3/Metaverse

Investor: Sten Tamkivi

readyplayer.me

What is the mission? 

Become “the Switzerland of avatar providers” and the “Facebook Login” button on every single metaverse application. RPM will be the trusted hodler of billions of dollars of virtual assets their users have bought to enrich their digital personas.

Who are the founders?

Timmu Tõke (CEO), Kaspar Tiri, Haver Järveoja and Rainer Selvet have basically built nothing else than avatars in their professional careers. They founded the company in 2014 first focused on heavy duty hardware: the first product was a professional, hardware-based 3D scanner, operated in public places like airports, museums, and conference halls around the world. Most persistently wandering through every nook of the avatar idea maze for 7 years, they finally hit exponential growth with their software stack riding the web3 and metaverse movement.

Why did Sten get involved?

Several parallel paths have taken me to the metaverse topic:

Skype → building remote work tools → building a distributed org ahead of time → curiosity about future of work → Teleport → Topia → good grasp of why and how work moves into virtual environments

Overall geekery → early adopter of VR tech (trying Oculus before a16z invested; Mozilla VR hubs, etc) → casually following market innovations (Varjo, etc) → realism about where the tech capabilities really are

2013 Bitcoin → 2017 ICO boom → 2019 DeFi → 2020 NFT wave (incl Flamingo DAO) → excitement about the frontier of digital personas, trustless protocols, concept of fungibility, web3 as a cultural movement

I have a strong belief that we will eventually carry out most valuable work in increasingly immersive virtual environments, where gaming just leads the way of what’s possible.

RPM is a way to bet on not an application, but a core infrastructure component of future metaverses, regardless of where the iteration around use cases goes.

 

NFTPort

NFTPort

Type: Web3

Investor: Sten Tamkivi

nftport.xyz

What is the mission?

NFTPort enables developers to make the Internet ownable by citizens, through decentralized NFT infrastructure. 

NFTPort abstracts all the complexity of indexing, minting, searching, analysing NFTs into a unified API, to allow any NFT application layer developer to go to market faster, and not worry about re-building this infrastructure from scratch.

Eventually we dream of a broad use protocol for immutable and non-fungible data storage and organization. If in web2 world, customer’s data lives in Facebook and Amazon AWS and Microsoft cloud, etc (total market cap $4 trillion plus), in web3 the parallel to those would be decentralized protocols where users own their data directly. This “data stack” on web3 (NFTs, Filecoin, etc) is just 1% with $49B today.

Who are the founders?

Johannes Tammekänd and Kaspar Peterson. Before NFTPort, Johannes made an exit with Payload-Security to CrowdStrike and founded two AI-based startups. His blockchain experience dates back to 2014 while researching the security model of Tor and Bitcoin in NATO. Kaspar has been a technical co-founder alongside Johannes for already three startups. At our investment NFTPort invited a few late co-founders: Rain Johanson who previously held senior engineering roles at Skype, Microsoft, Wise, and is ex CTO of Bolt; Taivo Pungas, a former AI and data infrastructure lead at Veriff and Sten Tamkivi of Plural.

Why did Sten get involved?

I have been active in the crypto scene since 2013, decentralized finance from 2019 and NFTs since 2020. Out of these waves, the NFT market has definitely caught the public imagination, and non-technical user imagination the most, and at an unprecedented speed. No-one (including me) knows how exactly the application space plays out between early art, community and other experiments – so betting on the “picks and shovels” infrastructure seems like the perfect way to get involved.

I am also personally motivated by the prospect of building NFTPort into one of the first Web3 powerhouses from Europe, and especially from Estonia.

Koos

Koos

Type: Web3/Community

Investor: Sten Tamkivi

koos.io

What is the mission?

Koos builds a proper way to say thank you to your supporters: a blockchain based platform to take record of your community and your future promise to them, and eventually distribute tokens with your gratitude to your supporters.

Koos mints and custodies tokens, handles smart contracts with recipients, provides full legal, tax and accounting support, handles customer support and KYC, orchestrates buy-back and burns and takes care of privacy on the blockchains.

Who are the founders?

Taavi Kotka is one of the most high profile people in Estonian tech and a unique global figure in e-governance. As the first CIO of Estonia he created the e-Residency program, data embassies concept and other governance innovations most of the countries are still catching up to. Most recently he has been a personal advisor to Mukesh Ambani to up the Indian digital governance game on Jio’s mobile networks. Coder and software architect by background, he has shipped software products at scale himself, and has hired hundreds of people into his teams. He also has founded and runs Unicorn Squad, a non-profit distributed technology program for a few thousand Estonian girls a year to get into tech. 

Why did Sten get involved?

We have been discussing the long term perspective of Plural platform involving into a DAO over time: once we have dozens of unemployables investing in the best companies in Europe and invested a financially well performing series of vintages, it would only make sense to take this further and make sure the founders in our network, occasional operators-advisors we bring in, and the widers startup community can partake in this success.

We are not building Plural to make the founders rich, but to have a GDP level impact on European economies. Broader community ownership leads to more meritocratic systems, where wealth is distributed more broadly in society based on a much wider mix of actual contributions, not just original capital put in (which not everyone can afford). This means we need to find or develop a mechanism to start distributing and tracking our future gains (“carry tokenization”) in fluid and low-bureaucracy ways.

I have been actively involved in crypto and blockchain technology development (bitcoin 2013, ICO boom of new protocols in 2017, DeFi 2019, NFTs 2020…) and have a strong belief distributed, programmable equity can and should be successfully implemented on top of this stack.

Koos has a super aligned vision, have figured out a few clever regulatory hacks, and sports an amazingly strong team to make this actually happen.

Mos

Mos

Type: Opportunity gap reduction

Investor: Khaled Helioui

mos.com

What is the mission?

Tear down financial barriers to opportunity. Mos provides financial services that are tailored to students such as checking accounts, debit cards, peer-to-peer payments, access to financial aid advisors and the largest pool of scholarships in the U.S. 

Who are the founders?

Amira Yahyaoui’s life has been dedicated to giving a voice to the muzzled & fighting for the rights of the oppressed. Most notably in her home country of Tunisia where as a student she paid an unconscionable price for her vocal criticisms of the dictator Ben Ali, pursued her activism after being exiled and took an active part in the revolution that deposed the dictator before founding the only political watchdog in the Arabic World- Al Bawsala – that to this day monitors the local political activity to keep politicians accountable.

Why did Khaled get involved? 

Amira is uncommon among uncommon founders, from the moment I met her it was obvious she not only had groundbreaking potential but the kind of resolve & grit that can tilt the world in another direction. Opportunity gap reduction has been one of my guiding focuses as an investor, having been personally confronted with the gaping inequalities of education when I moved to France at 5 years old and being put in a class for challenged children with my brother as we were coming from Tunisia – I had not choice but to get involved and do everything I can to help her make her vision come true. 

I had been investing in education and financial inclusion for years and I know I could support her in thinking through the business models and operational frameworks needed to make her vision not only impactful locally but scalable.

Feather

Feather

Type: Insurance

Investor: Taavet Hinrikus

feather-insurance.com

What is the mission?

Feather is building insurance products that just work. Honest, simple insurance as they say themselves. Insurance plans are complicated, but they don’t have to be. Feather has built their products and their own recommendation tool to let you know which insurances you need and which ones simply don’t make sense.

Who are the founders?

Vincent Audoire joined N26 as one of the first iOS Engineers – at this time the whole company would still fit in one room. He built the early version of the app and recruited a high performing team leading to what N26 is today. Before that he worked in various startups between Paris and Berlin. He also founded another company and has an engineering degree in scientific computation.
Rob Schumacher holds a PhD from the department of actuarial science – the mathematics behind insurance – from Bayes Business school. Before Feather, he consulted several leading European insurers on transforming their core IT with McKinsey to (try to) enable a better digital experience. And like Vincent he also tried starting a company before.

Why did Taavet get involved? 

I like re-inventing industries and I’m attracted to people who want to do that. First I was part of building Skype from the idea on the back of the napkin to hundreds of millions of users. Then built Wise from two founders (without a dog) to thousands of employees and a profitable business. You need a product that is 10x better to do that successfully. Insurance is one of the remaining financial industries where this change is still not complete. Rob and Vincent have been building Feather in a great way – they bootstrapped at first and only when they realised that they have a working model they decided to start scaling it. I’m excited to see how far they can take this and support them on the way!

Arbonics

Arbonics

Type: Carbon capture

Investor: Taavet Hinrikus

arbonics.com

What is the mission?

Arbonics was founded to help landowners become a powerful ally in combating climate change – by storing millions of tons of CO2 in forests and protecting biodiversity. But to make this happen, landowners need someone in their corner. With the help of Arbonics’ flexible data models and deep understanding of voluntary carbon markets, we help landowners realise the positive climate impact of their land, and build the new forest economy.

Who are the founders?

Kristjan Lepik has been building tech companies for a while, most recently at Teleport (acq by Topia) building tech solutions that help people with relocation. Being an active speaker on future trends, he became intrigued about how we could manage forests differently if landowners could get paid not only for timber, but also for the value the forests provide for the planet. Hence the practical dream of the New Forest Economy.

Lisett Luik has run ops for a D2C company backed by Index Ventures, helped American Express acquire startups as part of the strategy team, and invested in tech companies with Plural’s Taavet Hinrikus and Sten Tamkivi. With a background in economics and a business degree from Yale, she is most excited about the opportunity to help carbon markets become more transparent and fair for all.

Why did Taavet get involved?

I’ve been digging deep into climate over the last few years. As with many others, the current course of the planet worries me. But I am an engineer at heart so on the other hand, I’m curious about how we can use technologies to improve this mess.

It is impressive to see how many new companies are being created in the climate tech space. In many ways this is still a Wild West – it’s early and the visibility is not great. But as an investor, it feels like the right time to roll up my sleeves and get involved.

Arbonics grew out of conversations we had with Kristjan and Lisett over many months – about how we can value nature better and enable it to help combat climate change. I’m excited to have been a part of the journey since Day 0, and to continue supporting the team.

https://pluralplatform.com/the-missions/
whois: Andy White Freelance WordPress Developer London