Japanese social VR startup HIKKY announced today that it has raised ¥6.5 billion (~$57 million), led by Japanese mobile network operator NTT Docomo. The startup says it will use the funds to expand its web-based metaverse platform.

Founded in 2018, Japan-based Hikky is best known for its series of ‘Vket’ events, virtual marketplaces where exhibitors market and sell real and virtual goods to attendees.

Image courtesy Hikky

The company says that its virtual events have drawn more than a million visitors and have attracted major brands as exhibitors like HP, Tencent, Disney, Bandai Namco, Audi, and more, algonside independent creators selling virtual goods.

A Disney branded booth at a Vket event | Image courtesy Hikky

Following its latest Vket 6 event this Summer, the company today announced it has raised a ¥6.5 billion (~$57 million) Series A funding round, led by Japanese mobile network operator NTT Docomo (other participants weren’t revealed). Hikky says the amount is the “initial stage” of the Series A funding round, and that it is open to additional funding.

The company says the capital will be used to strengthen its foundation, expand products both domestically and abroad, and continue to develop its web-based metaverse platform, Vket Cloud.

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While the company’s Vket events have largely been hosted in social VR platform VRChat, Hikky is betting long term on its own Vket Cloud platform, which it says is designed as an open metaverse platform where users can host virtual spaces on their own domains which are accessible through any web browser, be it in or out of VR.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • kontis

    Oh, look, they also want THEIR metaverse. Everyone wants THEIR metaverse. At least those guys are doing this kind of commerce with artists for many years.

    There is a bizarre dissonance in the whole Metaverse hype:

    It’s marketed to consumers like a mix of web 1.0 wild west open internet and web 3.0 blockchain-based decentralized tech, but it’s often being pitched to suits as yet another web 2.0 moat to print money by taking over as big chunk of the “dream” as possible and building a big wall around it.

    Facebook is the best example: Zuckerberg BS-ed people in keynote with “openness”, but Rubin’s leak showed their true intentions.

    Internet was invented when silicon valley corps were not as effective in moats as they are today. Microsoft realized early how powerful internet was is and tried to embrace, extend and extinguish it. it almost worked, but ultimately failed. But for the next revolution, smartphones, corps were much better prepared, the lessons were learned and this time they achieved the dystopian duopoly mafia they dreamed about that takes 30% from global exchange of 0s and 1s with millions of brainwashed fanboys licking their backs.

    The point I’m trying to make is that this shipped has sailed. No one with big pockets has any interest in a wild west internet. They are investing billions in their proprietary versions that they hope will ultimately return trillions.

    So, are you going to use a poor man’s open Metacrap or are you going to use an amazing, polished, proprietary cool latest TikMeta app that all other kids are using? Huh? You want an exposure and to join the tribe. YOU will go there too.

    I give chances for truly open metaverse to be the most popular version less than 10%.
    And if that happens it will be torpedoed by every corpo with the good old 3xE method. I mean we already had open internet and we almost lost it completely to a few giant websites. We will lose Metaverse even if it’s open.

    • Dylan

      Hi, I work at Hikky! your assumptions here about VKet Cloud come from a lack of knowledge, and I totally understand your sentiment but please look at what we do! We develop social events for independent creators to share their goods. We’re a bit like comic conventions and anime conventions! We typically partner with VRChat for our main events, and the one coming up is no different. We don’t want “our” metaverse. We built VKet Cloud fill the gap missing for mobile and lower powered device users out there, to share the SAME content they are producing FOR and IN other platforms too! We support open standards and we’re part of the VRM consortium! Our VKet events are mainly on VRChat, but what if you have a MAC or just a phone or tablet? How could we share the wonderful indy exhibitors and our sponsors with those people? We also perform live music and concert events in VRChat but also on Twitch and YouTube.
      We’ve built a system for cross platform exhibition of independent social VR creator’s works. Please look us up sometime, I would be really happy to explain it.

      • kontis

        Hey, I respect your work and I also pointed out that you guys are actually doing something real for years, unlike competitors who only talk. And I very much appreciate your approach with self-hosted domains!

        My criticism was aimed more generally at the recent phenomena – we get “metaverse technology announcements” almost every day and it’s obvious where it all is going. I prefer various companies like yours be successful in this area than just a few giant corporations trying to be a middleman for everyone.

        • Hivemind9000

          In the history of tech, and especially the Internet, the ecosystem has preceded any standardization. This will eventually come to fruition with the “metaverse” but the ecosystem really needs to grow first, and it’s projects like this (and many others) that will help drive that along. It will eventually get to some critical inflection point where standards will be needed (like “open verse” or something) for these worlds to cooperate and exchange between each other. Can’t see that happening for a few years yet, but good to see increasing investment in this general area.

      • As someone that builds event in VRChat too, I feel your pain… sometimes you would like to have more freedom of development

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