Inworld AI Announces $7 Million in Seed Funding from Kleiner Perkins, CRV and Meta for Metaverse AI Development Platform
Inworld AI, providing a developer platform to create AI-powered virtual humans for immersive realities including the metaverse, VR/AR, games, and virtual worlds, announced $7 million in seed funding. The round is co-led by Kleiner Perkins and CRV, with Meta participating.
Humans are deeply social – to the degree that immersive worlds feel empty and unrealistic if not filled with other responsive and naturally behaving individuals to interact with. Inworld AI is a platform for building AI-based virtual people (and other characters) as native and engaging inhabitants within immersive realities. The company’s powerful AI capabilities enable brands and developers to create virtual human agents with unique behaviors and awareness of their context and environment. They are embeddable and deployable across a range of immersive realities, from metaverses to VR/AR experiences to games and other virtual environments.
Inworld AI is founded by the leadership team behind API.AI (renamed to Dialogflow following its acquisition by Google). Dialogflow is a popular AI and natural language understanding platform enabling developers to build conversational experiences for smart speakers, chatbots, call centers, and other products. Dialogflow, used by millions of developers, is a part of Google Cloud AI and Google Assistant Developer Platform.
Inworld AI founders include CEO Ilya Gelfenbeyn, who was the CEO of API.AI, and CTO Michael Ermolenko, who led machine learning development at API.AI and the Dialogflow NLU/AI team at Google. Kylan Gibbs, who led product for applied generative language models at DeepMind, has joined Inworld AI as Product Director, and Vsevolod Leonov, formerly Head of New Business, North America at Google AdMob, is Director of Partnerships.
Virtual human agents created with the Inworld AI platform provide brands and developers with instant scalability and presence for populating immersive realities. Virtual agents can efficiently complement real human participants by fulfilling intended in-world functions, playing set roles to advise, support, entertain and more. This unlocks a myriad of experiences. Brands can create representatives enabling virtual ecommerce, operations and customer support. Enterprises can conduct immersive true-to-life training sessions with employees. Video games can achieve deep immersion by utilizing in-world agents as realistic non-player characters (NPCs).
“Immersive realities continue to accelerate, with an increasingly diverse and fascinating ecosystem of worlds and use cases,” said Ilya Gelfenbeyn, CEO, Inworld AI. “Virtual spaces like Meta’s Horizon Worlds, Roblox, Fortnite, and others that offer unique experiences and enable users to exist in other worlds will also continue to see quick demand from businesses, offering everything from games to story content to new enterprise applications. The technology for building virtual humans is complex and takes a great deal of specialization. Our aim at Inworld AI is performing that required heavy lifting, enabling our partners to leverage the platform we build however they prefer.”
“Widespread success of the metaverse and other immersive applications depends on how enveloping those experiences can be,” said Ilya Fushman, Partner at Kleiner Perkins. “Inworld AI is building the engine that enables businesses to provide that exciting depth of experience and captivate users. With the team’s track record in providing developers with the tools they need to build AI-fueled applications, we’re excited to support the company in building the future of immersive experiences.”
“Extended realities are expected to be around a $300 billion market over the next three years,” said Izhar Armony, general partner, CRV. “There’s incredible growth to be had for businesses right now in planning and executing their metaverse strategies and involvement. Inworld AI offers a key to turning these worlds into compelling realities by enabling a true sense of presence for those within this fascinating new frontier. The team is growing rapidly, so now is an exciting time for people interested in VR, games and virtual worlds to partner with and join the company, so they can be at the forefront of this rapidly growing space.”
“The Inworld AI team has proven success building AI-driven experiences,” said Meta’s Sunita Parasuraman. “We look forward to seeing how businesses and developers alike leverage the platform to achieve their immersive reality goals.”
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