Under the initiative, a group of up to five startups will be selected and will be offered a financial grant to build apps and experiences on Meta’s Presence Platform
The fund is part of Meta’s strategy to leverage the country’s huge talent pool in the XR domain to deepen presence in the emerging space
A report estimates that the Indian homegrown AR/ VR market will zoom to $14.07 Bn by 2027 on the back of increasing internet and smartphone penetration
Social network juggernaut Meta on Wednesday (June 28) announced a $250K fund for Indian startups and developers building products in the mixed reality segment.
Under the initiative, a group of up to five startups will be selected and will be offered a financial grant to build apps and experiences on Meta’s Presence Platform. As per the company, the fund will enable developers to use extended reality (XR) technologies, nurture innovation and spur the local XR ecosystem in the country.
The Presence Platform offers a suite of products and services that enable developers to build mixed reality experiences for Meta’s virtual reality platform Meta Quest.
Besides, the selected startups will also receive mentorship from experts at Meta Reality Labs and a chance to network with Indian venture capital (VC) funds.
“… 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,” said Meta India vice-president Sandhya Devanathan.
The fund has invited applications from interested startups to participate in the programme. The selectees will be shortlisted over the course of next few months. The initiative is open to emerging and established companies and developers from across India.
The selected startups will be required to build projects on Meta’s Presence Platform, which will then be integrated into existing or new Meta Quest apps.
The fund is part of Meta’s overarching strategy to improve its in-app XR features and to spur the adoption of its mixed reality platform. The initiative will also enable the social media giant to leverage the country’s huge talent pool in the domain and to make the virtual experiences more tangible and accessible.
As per Devanathan, the Presence Platform is an integral part of the company’s metaverse vision. He said there is a ‘stronger need’ to foster innovation in the field of emerging technologies in the country.
Curiously, this is not the company’s first attempt to launch an initiative to woo homegrown XR startups. Earlier this year, Meta, in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), shortlisted 120 startups under the XR startup accelerator program. The initiative aimed to back 40 early-stage XR startups with a grant of INR 20 Lakh each.
XR is a larger term that ecompasses a slew of new emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). These new domains operate at the intersection of physical reality and virtual content, and can find usage across industries from gaming to education and from healthcare to retail.
In recent years, the XR space has seen deployment in a number of areas and by a plethora of startups and big enterprises. While consumer-facing startups such as Urban Ladder use AR to help customers virtually place the selected furniture in their rooms, players like BYJU’S, in the past, tinkered with AR and VR to attract customers.
As smartphone and internet penetration increases, the space is projected to see rapid growth in the coming years. As per a report, the homegrown AR/ VR market is projected to zoom to $14.07 Bn by 2027.