$250M Metaverse Fund Announced by HBAR Foundation to Onboard Consumer Brands to Hedera

The HBAR Foundation, an organization that supports the development of the Hedera ecosystem by offering grants and various other resources, recently announced the launch of a $250 million Metaverse Fund “to onboard both consumer brands and their users to Hedera Hashgraph’s Metaverse ecosystem.”

The Metaverse Fund targets B2C and B2B2C applications that will “onboard users at scale into Web3 and the Hedera ecosystem.” The fund will “focus on building an advanced and diverse metaverse and an ecosystem of supporting and complementing projects.”

Funding will “focus on four key areas of user application: Gaming/Virtual Worlds, Consumer Brands & Collectibles, Sports & Fan Engagement, and Enterprise Metaverse.”

One of the first Metaverse Fund grantees is Sayl, who are “focused on connecting consumers with the brands they love.”

As noted in an update shared with Crowdfund Insider, Sayl’s owner relationship management platform (ORM) “is modernizing the business and customer relationship through the use of both Customer Relationship Management (CRM) plus NFTs in one solution.”

The announcement also mentioned that the platform “provides businesses a pathway to Web3, where digital teams can manage the full lifecycle of their NFTs, from creation over benefit and utility definition to full tracking of the NFT’s usage.”

One of the major competitive advantages of Sayl “is its support for commercial operations, and the link it thereby creates between virtual worlds and the real world.” Using the Sayl Store Manager App, shop associates can “follow-up on orders, validate NFT ownership, receive instructions on NFT benefits to grant, identify the customer and give advice to the customer based on his past purchases.”

With a strong focus on user experience, Sayl also “enables brands to invite customers to collect their NFTs, without requiring customers to be crypto experts.” Next to that, brands can “launch their own NFT webshop on Sayl, avoiding crowded NFT marketplaces.”

The Sayl platform is “already used by more than 300 brands, restaurant chains, and retailers.” The update further noted that Hedera-integrated platform will “launch tokens for initial clients including Brussels Airport and Huggy’s Bar restaurant chain, as well as global agency partners, such as Wavemaker.”

Geert Roete, co-founder of Sayl, said:

“We chose to build on Hedera for its carbon negative and enterprise-grade blockchain, tailored for security and regulatory compliance. This is exactly what brands and consumers are looking for when they enter this space.”

The fund also aims “to support game developers as they enter Web3 and introduce NFTs into their experiences.”

One critical approach is “nurturing the growth of supportive ecosystems and product suites for building on the Hedera network.” Ecosystem Partners like Venly exemplify this “by providing developer tools, a market API, and a user-friendly wallet for quick deployment on Hedera.”

​​Hedera has already “forged close ties within the gaming industry.” In February, Ubisoft became “a member of the Hedera Governing Council, with representatives participating in governance and product direction and operating a node on the Hedera network.”

The Metaverse Fund will also “encourage luxury brands to engage with Hedera NFTs in both the physical realm and the fast-expanding world of digital fashion.”

Businesses are keen “to engage with tokens and the metaverse but are wary of deploying high-value brand identities on untested networks.”

Infinite by Suku is one Hedera-based project “showcasing how brands can tie their physical goods to digital identities secured as NFTs.” The platform “delivers verifiable ownership, authenticity, scarcity, and provenance, but crucially also allows these physical goods to be recognized in the metaverse.”

Beyond supporting brands building on Hedera, the Metaverse Fund will also be “leveraged to fund projects constructing value-added services and tools to assemble Metaverse applications in a decentralized way.”

Alex Russman, Director of the Metaverse Fund at the HBAR Foundation, said:

“The metaverse will require robust infrastructure that champions decentralization while remaining intuitive for consumers, brands, and developers. Hedera serves as a perfect staging ground for this emerging virtual economy. We hope that with this fund, we’ll attract more users and brands to start building out the next iteration of human experience.”

Established last year, the HBAR Foundation “fuels the development of the Hedera ecosystem by providing grants and other resources to developers, startups, and organizations that seek to launch decentralized applications in DeFi, NFTs, CBDCs, Sustainability, gaming, and other sectors.”

In addition to providing funding through a streamlined grant process, the HBAR Foundation “acts as an integrated force multiplier through expert support across technical, marketing, business development, and other operational functions that are required to scale.”

Sayl is “an integrated cloud-based platform that offers CRM & omnichannel ecommerce in one single solution.”

Sayl helps businesses “to connect with their customers in any channel, whether it’s in-store, online or in a metaverse.”

Sayl wants “to become a leading gateway to unlock web3 owner capabilities for reputable brands.”

This vision encompasses also the introduction of Sayl Token, which “rewards customers for their interactions and engagements with these brands.”

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