Avatar developer Ready Player Me raises US$56m to expand team

Ready Player Me, a company which creates cross-platform avatars, has raised a US$56 million funding round led by US venture capital (VC) firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

Roblox Co-founder David Baszucki, Twitch and Fractal co-founder Justin Kan, King Co-founders Sebastian Knutsson and Riccardo Zacconi also participated in the funding round, Ready Player Me said on August 23. 

Other notable investors included Plural, Endeavor, Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Ventures, D’Amelio family, Punk6529, Snowfro, Nordic Ninja, Konvoy.

Ready Player Me started by building 3D scanning hardware when it was launched in May 2020, and moved on to building custom avatar systems for other companies including Tencent, Huawei, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer Hongda International Electronics Co. So far, Ready Player Me avatars are used in about 3,000 apps.

Based on a database of more than 20,000 faces scanned in 3D, its system uses deep learning to project a 3D face from a single photograph. By using this technology, users can create a realistic 3D avatar simply by uploading a selfie.

The new funding will be used to scale its avatar creator, expand content creation tools and expand avatar diversity in terms of appearances and clothing customisation, Ready Player Me said. It will also increase its headcount. 

Ready Player Me said developing an avatar creator is an important but complex task in building a game or virtual world. By taking up this part and with its eight years’ experience, the company hopes it will help builders of the metaverse concentrate on creating fun and engaging experiences.