Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has announced the establishment of a $250,000 fund dedicated to supporting Indian startups and developers involved in the development of mixed reality (MR) products. The initiative aims to select up to five startups to receive financial grants, enabling them to build apps and experiences on Meta’s Presence Platform. By leveraging extended reality (XR) technologies, Meta seeks to foster innovation, strengthen the local XR ecosystem, and accelerate the adoption of virtual reality (VR) and MR experiences in India.
The Presence Platform, provided by Meta, offers a comprehensive suite of products and services for developers to create mixed reality experiences specifically for Meta’s virtual reality platform, Meta Quest. As part of the program, the selected 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 opening doors for future investments and partnerships.
Sandhya Devanathan, Vice President of Meta India, expressed confidence in 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, with the selection of participants scheduled to take place over the next few months. Startups, both emerging and established, as well as developers from all regions of India, are encouraged to apply. Once selected, the startups will be tasked with developing 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 of enhancing its in-app XR features and driving the adoption of its mixed reality platform. It enables the social media giant to tap into India’s vast talent pool in this domain and make virtual experiences more accessible and immersive for users.
According to Devanathan, the Presence Platform is a crucial component of 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.
Extended reality (XR), which encompasses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), has gained significant traction across various industries, including gaming, education, healthcare, and retail. Companies like Urban Ladder have utilized AR to assist customers in visualizing furniture in their homes, while BYJU’S has explored AR and VR to enhance customer experiences. With the increasing penetration of smartphones and internet connectivity, the Indian AR/VR market is projected to reach $14.07 billion by 2027, indicating substantial 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 establish itself as a leader in the metaverse.
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