Meta, the social media giant, made a significant announcement on June 28th, unveiling a $250,000 fund dedicated to supporting Indian startups and developers in the field of mixed reality (MR). The initiative aims to select up to five startups and provide them with financial grants to develop apps and experiences on Meta’s Presence Platform. By leveraging extended reality (XR) technologies, Meta is fostering innovation, boosting the local XR ecosystem, and advancing the adoption of virtual reality (VR) and MR experiences in India.
Meta’s Presence Platform offers a comprehensive suite of products and services for developers to create mixed reality experiences tailored specifically for Meta’s virtual reality platform, Meta Quest. In addition to financial support, the selected startups will receive mentorship from experts at Meta Reality Labs. They will also have opportunities 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 begun, and participant selection will take place over the next few 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 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 enables the company to tap into India’s vast talent pool in this domain and make virtual experiences more accessible and tangible to users.
Devanathan emphasized that the Presence Platform is a crucial element of Meta’s metaverse vision. The company recognizes the significance of fostering innovation in emerging technologies within the country.
Notably, this is not Meta’s first engagement 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 traction across various industries, including gaming, education, healthcare, and retail. Startups like Urban Ladder have leveraged AR to help customers 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, signaling significant growth opportunities.
Meta’s latest fund for Indian startups underscores its commitment to nurturing the XR ecosystem and driving technological advancements in the country as it aims to establish itself as a leader in the metaverse.
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