February 28, 2024
Meta Launches $250K Fund to Empower Indian XR Startups and Developers

Meta, the social media giant, has made a significant announcement on Wednesday, June 28, unveiling a $250,000 fund aimed at supporting Indian startups and developers involved in the field of mixed reality (MR) products. This initiative seeks to select up to five startups to receive financial grants, enabling them to create apps and experiences on Meta’s Presence Platform. By harnessing extended reality (XR) technologies, Meta aims to drive innovation, nurture the local XR ecosystem, and accelerate the adoption of virtual reality (VR) and MR experiences in India.

The Presence Platform, offered by Meta, provides a comprehensive suite of products and services that empower developers to create mixed reality experiences specifically for Meta’s virtual reality platform, Meta Quest. As part of the program, the chosen startups will not only receive financial support but also benefit from mentorship provided by experts at Meta Reality Labs. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to network with Indian venture capital (VC) funds, potentially leading to future investments and partnerships.

Sandhya Devanathan, Vice President of Meta India, expressed optimism about the fund and program, stating, “We believe that this fund and program will accelerate the creation and adoption of VR and MR experiences in the country and give Indian developers an opportunity to go global with their innovations.”

The application process for interested startups has already commenced, and the selection of participants will take place over the coming months. Both emerging and established companies and developers from all regions of India are encouraged to apply. Once selected, the startups will be required to develop projects on Meta’s Presence Platform, which will then be integrated into existing or new Meta Quest apps.

This fund initiative aligns with Meta’s broader strategy to enhance its in-app XR features and drive the adoption of its mixed reality platform. It allows the company to tap into India’s vast talent pool in this domain and make virtual experiences more accessible and tangible for users.

Devanathan highlights the significance of the Presence Platform in Meta’s metaverse vision. The company recognizes the importance of fostering innovation in emerging technologies within the country.

Notably, this is not Meta’s first endeavor to engage with Indian XR startups. Earlier this year, in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Meta shortlisted 120 startups for the XR startup accelerator program. The initiative aimed to provide grants of INR 20 lakh each to support 40 early-stage XR startups.

XR, which encompasses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), has gained prominence across various industries such as gaming, education, healthcare, and retail. Startups like Urban Ladder have leveraged AR to enable customers to visualize furniture in their homes, while companies like BYJU’S have explored AR and VR to enhance customer experiences. With increasing smartphone and internet penetration, the Indian AR/VR market is projected to reach $14.07 billion by 2027, presenting significant growth opportunities.

Meta’s latest fund for Indian startups demonstrates its commitment to nurturing the XR ecosystem and driving technological advancements in the country, as it strives to solidify its position as a leader in the metaverse.

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