Ready Player Me, a cross-game avatar system, announced it had closed a $56 million Series B round. Among its backers are Andreessen Horowitz, the cofounders of Roblox and Twitch, and entertainer Kevin Hart’s venture fund.

This latest round brings the total investment in Ready Player Me to $72 million. The company plans to use the money to expand its team and shift its focus from developer-centric tools to user-centric ones that allow people to create and sell items associated with their avatars, such as outfits. Avatars made with the company’s system can be used in any supported metaverse experience, letting people carry their looks between virtual worlds.

At present, Ready Player Me has a team of 50 employees, mostly spread throughout Europe. As the company embarks on its next phase, Timmu Tõke, cofounder and CEO of Ready Player Me, says it will build out the U.S. team, boosting headcount by 20 to 30.

Founded in 2014, Ready Player Me currently offers developers access to its avatar creator tool, which can save anywhere from six months to several years of development time and allows players to experience some visual consistency between games.

The metaverse is not one game, one place, or one platform. It’s a network of thousands or millions of virtual ones. So, it makes sense for the users of the metaverse to have an avatar that travels with them across many virtual worlds, instead of being stuck in one game. That’s the problem we solve for end-users.

Timmu Tõke, cofounder and CEO of Ready Player Me

More than 3,000 apps across both Web 2.0 and Web3 currently integrate Ready Player Me into their process, including VRChat and Spatial. The company also counts several major brands among its customers, such as Adidas, Dior, and Warner Bros., which make products that can be integrated with avatars. For example, outfits from the movie Dune are available to Ready Player Me avatars.

Ready Player Me, Dune avatars

While companies like Meta and Epic Games are creating bordered areas of the metaverse, Ready Player Me is betting on an open-gated future where users can jump between creators’ worlds.

The metaverse has two paths. One is a centralized model that’s owned by a few big companies that make all the rules. The other is more open, where worlds are connected, and people can travel between those worlds, and it’s more like the internet than the gaming worlds of today. We think the open metaverse should happen and is a better future for virtual worlds.

Timmu Tõke

Ready Player Me believe if you have avatars and accessories that travel across worlds, that builds a bigger world around avatars. People are more likely to pay for a skin that works in 1,000 games — or enough games that you play — than one that is stuck in one game forever. They’re trying to create a marketplace that’s open to everyone.

Side note: how to invest in metaverse – guide 2022.