VUZ, a social app that enables users to stream and enjoy immersive realism in extended reality (XR) and metaverse digital experiences, has raised $20 million in a Series B investment.
Investors in the round include Panthera Capital, Caruso Ventures, Vision VC Fund, DFDF (Dubai Future District Fund), WIN (Webit Investment Network), SRMG, Elbert Capital, Yasta Partners, Faith Capital, and e& capital (investment pillar of e&, formerly known as Etisalat Group). Seven current investors also took part.
The Dubai-based VUZ claims that this funding round, in which it brought on a variety of investors from the US and EMEA, will be crucial to its global growth.
VUZ, originally 360VUZ, was established by its CEO and founder Khaled Zaatarah as a platform to bridge the gap between the real and virtual worlds by providing exclusive immersive content to a large worldwide audience.
By offering “genuine, immersive experiences while removing the limits of distance, time, and access,” Zaatarah claims that VUZ’s mission is to bring people together. More than 20,000 hours of material from entertainment, creators, sports, and XR, VR, and AR experiences are available on the platform, which is accessible from nearly anywhere in the world.
By installing the iOS and Android applications for VUZ, users may access and interact with a variety of content, including live events, concerts, celebrity interviews, and masterclasses through its 360-degree live streaming, in addition to the stuff already mentioned. Users must pay between $4 and $8 for VUZ’s exclusive material, while 70% of it is free and VUZ makes money by displaying users’ adverts in this category.
According to Zaatarah, the business intends to give people access to material through a variety of media, including digital platforms, Qualcomm, immersive avatars, and Meta/Oculus headgear.
Since its launch, the web3 platform says that more than 10 million users have viewed over 1 billion screens. More than 44% of these opinions originate in the Middle East, 32% in the United States, and 24% in Egypt.
In 2023, VUZ stated that it hoped to receive 3 billion views and treble the number of users. For VUZ content, where its top creators receive over 100 million views worldwide, immersive content collaborations among creators have also been a key driver.
These plans will be supported by the funds, which will also be used to invest in content, hire more senior hires, add new social features, improve its 10% month-over-month recurring revenue growth, launch web3 products and NFT projects, and scale with asset-light operations into eight new international markets. With the financing, VUZ will be able to expand its Los Angeles office as well as work with content creators in Europe, Asia, and the United States.
The chief executive continued, “Our goals for the future are 10 times stronger than what we have been constructing over the last six years. “We have established the foundation, and we are now prepared for scale-up growth that is sustainable,” Zaatarah continues.
One of the most reliable use cases for 5G and the future of video streaming, according to telecoms, is immersive media. The foundation of the company’s international expansion, according to Zaatarah, is partnerships and integration with 45 telecom carriers.
Even Dan Caruso, managing director of Caruso Ventures, stated that his organization invested in the business due to its exceptional positioning to create a global platform and collaborate with leading telecom operators worldwide. One of these partners is the recently rebranded UAE-based telecom operator e&, whose venture capital arm, e& capital, last week unveiled a $250 million fund.
One of e& capital’s first investments in the MENA region is VUZ, which has raised more than $30 million since its founding. The immersive media platform announced that it would use the infrastructure of the telecom companies to expand throughout the Middle East and Africa.
Kushal Shah, head of VC at e& Capital, commented on the investment and said that VUZ is in line with his company’s mission “to engage with visionary innovative startups that we feel will contribute to establishing a better and brighter digital future.”
We will continue to make investments in the company’s development, working together with them to help them expand and make real advancements that advance the digital age. He disclosed to TechCrunch that his company intends to invest $20 million over the next four years in 20 Series A and B-stage firms in the MENA area.
Image Credit: VUZ