Tokyo-based XR communication technology provider Pocket RD raises 450 million yen ($4 million) in a Series B funding round from industry heavyweights Square Enix, KDDI Corporation, Kodansha Ltd, Dai Nippon Printing Co, Ltd, and SMBC Venture.
What Pocket RD Does?
Pocket RD is developing 3D Avatar and Blockchain XR technology solutions to enable people with more expressive ways to communicate. The company believes it is critical to pioneer improvement in 3D technology in line with the development of 5G and 6G networks in order to enhance and offer new tools for content creation and communication.
“Games, sports, fitness, healthcare, fashion, film, advertising – the range of industries requiring 3D assets is ever expanding. Through greater understanding and application of 3D tools, groundbreaking businesses will be born. As one step towards shaping our unknown future, we will concentrate our efforts on the best 3D technologies using input from around the globe. We will strive to make the impossible possible and pioneer the newest and most innovative technologies with the goal of creating a future with even more expressive tools for communication.”
Industry Heavyweights Backs Pocket RD
Pocket RD revealed that “KDDI Open Innovation Fund III” (operator: Global Brain Corporation) will act as lead investor with additional backing from Kodansha Co., Ltd. (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO, Yoshinobu Noma), Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP, Headquarters: Tokyo, President: Yoshinari Kitajima), and SMBC Venture Capital Co., Ltd. (President: Akira Ochiai) operated by the “SMBC Venture Capital No. 6 Investment Business Limited Liability Union”.
The new funding round is focused to strengthen the development of Pocket RD’s “AVATARIUM”, a fully automated production and editing platform for personal avatars, and “Pocket Collection”, a blockchain supported NFT marketplace for 3D CG assets and to provide growth through business alliances with KDDI Corporation, Kodansha Ltd, and Dai Nippon Printing Co, Ltd.
Hirofumi Kawai, Manager of Image Studio, SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD., said:
“With face-to-face communication decreasing due to the coronavirus and the growing importance of the metaverse, service technologies such as AVATARIUM – developed by Pocket RD – have the potential to become the new de-facto standard for communication. Our four new alliance partners make a strong team and possess the resources and networks to expand the capabilities of Pocket RD. Moving forward, we will harness the knowledge and experience we have accumulated to date in the development of 3D CG and avatar tools to expand more advanced solutions to a wide range of customers. As a collaborative platform, we look forward to growing Pocket RD as a launchpad for high-quality content, rich in innovation and creativity, bringing the best entertainment to people around the world.”
AVATARIUM has already launched its first partnership operation with KDDI, by integrating original avatars into KDDI’s “Virtual Shibuya” platform. As part of KDDI’s “Virtual Shibuya au 5G Halloween Festa 2021 – Fun for Good” event, AVATARIUM scanners have been placed in two locations: GINZA 456 powered by KDDI and au Style Shibuya Modi. Customers were able to create their own avatars – customized in “deformé” style or dressed up as their favorite animation character – and attend KDDI’s “Virtual Halloween” event as an original avatar.
Moving forward, The company plans to grow synergies between KDDI’s au Metaverse and its avatar technology and blockchain 3D asset marketplace (Pocket Collection). The two companies will actively collaborate to link real and virtual experiences in “Virtual City” environments and enable customers to create and integrate their own original avatars.
In addition, Kodansha and Dai Nippon Printing are actively reviewing a range of partnership opportunities to integrate Pocket RD technology and know-how and introduce to a wider market, and to nurture new business opportunities.
What is “AVATARIUM” – An automated personal AVATAR production and customization system: “The Me I Want To Be”
one ID = N AVATAR, The importance of AVATAR integration into digital spaces such as metaverses and games is rapidly increasing. Your “real” AVATAR speaks for you and embodies your personality and general vibe. Your AVATAR offers you the channel for entry from the real world to the digital world. From scanning to customization, adapted to output formats and purpose, “AVATARIUM” automatically generates AVATARS and offers seamless export to external environments and platforms.
AVATARIUM supports export in all standard file formats including OBJ,FBX, PLY, glTF, VRM. The company also provides customized avatar solutions depending on the metaverse needs. Pocket RD intends to continue adding new functionalities in its AVATAR solutions according to industry needs.
Pocket Collection: An NFT 3D CG Asset Marketplace Utilizing Blockchain Technology
“Pocket Collection” – an NFT 3D CG Asset Marketplace Utilizing Blockchain Technology – is a service that enables mass storage, secondary creation, secondary distribution, and sale of 3D digital creations, assets, and artwork. “Pocket Collection” applies proprietary digital rights protection that ensures creators and secondary creators are protected and properly compensated. “Pocket Collection” also offers tools enabling creators to share their works with secondary creators to enable additional modifications and customization further enhancing the works value.
Pocket Collection is positioned to become a central platform for creation and asset management for the creative community. The platform offers large scale storage, enabling users to post and store entire portfolios. The platform allows users to integrate group production activities, take advantage of the project management function, and freely purchase and sell within the marketplace platform.
Pocket Collection can also be used as an ASP for issuance of legal tender NFT.