HTC-Backed VR Metaverse Highstreet Raises $5M in Its Latest Funding Round
August 18, 2021 |
Highstreet, the world’s first commerce-centered metaverse with a decentralized finance marketplace for limited-edition products, has raised $5 million in funding. The funding round was led by crypto and traditional venture capital firms, including Mechanism Capital, NGC Ventures, Palm Drive Capital, Cherubic Ventures, Jump Trading, GBV, Panony and Shima Capital. Community builders and influencers such as Encrypt Club, Mr. Block and Miss Bitcoin participated as well.
The funds will expand Highstreet’s engineering team, especially on the Unity side, to weave all features into a sustainable commerce-based metaverse enabling the future of retail on the blockchain. Mobile and browser companion apps will be released in the market sooner, allowing users to access the metaverse anywhere.
Highstreet World consists of explorable islands, with residential areas and various phygital products (digital assets pegged to real-world products) sold as nonfungible tokens. A key feature is Highstreet Market at the center of Highstreet City, which is a marketplace for redeemable limited-edition products, with every item having a physical equivalent. Highstreet Market’s StreetSmart bonding curves ensure liquidity for the buyer at all times by using a smart contract vault. By tokenizing each individual product into ERC-20 tokens, Highstreet Market eliminates logistical overhead for alternative asset traders, ensuring that the real product comes directly from the merchant every time and only true collectors have to handle it. With the help of companies such as HTC, Highstreet allows users and their friends to buy actual products through digital means, as well as shop and earn together.
“Highstreet is excited to have a diverse group of investors. Many believed e-commerce was the dusk of extravagant brand activations and storefronts. However, the excitement of shopping lives on in the metaverse. In a virtual world, brand expression is limitless. The ultimate retail experience will debut soon on Highstreet,” said Travis Wu, CEO of Highstreet.
Andrew Kang, managing partner at Mechanism Capital, said, “Retail consumers have shown increasing attention with digitally native goods, but most brands haven’t been able to tap into this interest. Highstreet offers the potential for retail brands to generate interest among its customers innovatively through NFTs.”
“We are fascinated by Highstreet’s plan to combine NFTs with offline products. With brands entering into the space and looking for partnerships with NFTs, Highstreet has an edge to become a leader with the team’s track record in virtual reality,” said Tony Gu, founding partner of NGC Ventures.
Seamon Chan, co-founder and managing partner at Palm Drive Capital, said, “We’re excited to invest in Highstreet. We find it full of possibilities for digital investing through NFTs. Highstreet seizes the opportunity to stake its claim in the market of limited-edition goods, stabilizing the liquidity and value of collectibles. We believe there will be a growing demand for Highstreet’s solution.”
“Highstreet is building the first metaverse that combines virtual reality and crypto, allowing brands to interact with users in an innovative way. We are excited to join this experiment with Highstreet,” said Matt Cheng, founder of Cherubic Ventures.
“The fact that NFTs and the metaverse are the keys to the Fourth Industrial Revolution is now being taken for granted. There are many projects that combine the metaverse and NFTs but none have been as serious as Highstreet. NFTs and the metaverse are elements complementing each other and we believe that Highstreet, which fuses both, will set a new standard,” said Mai Fujimoto, also known as Miss Bitcoin.
Alyssa Tsai, founder and CEO of Panony, said, “Highstreet aims to disrupt the metaverse, decentralized commerce and NFT markets. The team has years of experience, world-class resources and fast execution. We look forward to Highstreet’s success.”
Highstreet has two subsidiaries, Sundance-backed LumiereVR Studio and Retinad Analytics, which were acquired in 2018 and use eye-tracking technology to transmit gaze data straight to brands as consumer insights. LumiereVR’s computer vision team used mixed-reality experiences that turned underutilized real estate into immersive brand activations while Retinad Realite Virtuelle added built-in eye-tracking consumer insights.