Bristol-based Condense lands €4.4 million to bring live events into the metaverse

Bristol-based startup Condense is on a mission to deliver the authenticity and connectivity of real-world events into the metaverse. The young team has just picked up €4.4 million and has opened a world-first metaverse studio.

The metaverse boom has brought about lots of fresh innovation and futuristic technology. Bringing the real world into the digital sphere, and doing so whilst maintaining the power, connection and immersive quality of live events, Condense is transforming how music, sports and ‘in-person’ events are experienced. Founded in 2019, the startup has just picked up a €4.4 million capital boost to do so in addition to opening a pioneering metaverse studio.

Condenses CEO and co-founder Nick Fellingham: “The Bristol scene has long been a world-renowned melting pot of different cultures and music and, in the last few years, it’s become a hub for games development too. Now we’re going to put Bristol on the map once again with the world’s first metaverse live streaming studio to bring together the energy of live events with the massive scale of the metaverse. The Video 3.0 infrastructure we’ve built takes out the technical complexity of streaming live into the metaverse, so people are free to put their creativity in Video. 3.0 is going to change not just how we experience live events online, but fundamentally how we engage with each other.”

The Funding

LocalGlobe led the €4.4 million round, 7percent Ventures and Deeptech Labs, alongside angels including a platinum-selling grime artist, former England footballer and sports presenter, Tom Blomfield (Monzo), renowned music manager Grace Ladoja MBE and Ian Hogarth (Song Kick).

It’ll be used to accelerate commercial relationships with artists, labels, content creators and metaverse platforms, furthering the vision of bringing real-life into the metaverse age.

Metaverse Tech

The Bristol-based startup is at the forefront of emerging metaverse tech. It’s developed end-to-end capture and streaming technology to live stream real-world events like music and sports events into 3D applications. The company uses cutting-edge computer vision, machine learning and proprietary streaming infrastructure to capture and embed live 3D video (Video 3.0) into any metaverse game, mobile app or platform created with Unity or Unreal Engine. 

It means that true-to-life live performances can be streamed directly into the virtual worlds and games platforms used by billions of people worldwide – without the need for VR headsets. Because the events are streamed live as three-dimensional “real-world” video, every player’s perspective is as unique and dynamic as if they were at a physical live event – and their experience is just as memorable. 

Andrew Gault, founding partner of 7percent ventures said: “When I invested in Oculus nearly 10 years ago, the dream was to deliver experiences that seamlessly merge the digital and the physical. Condense has now made that possible inside all video games and platforms, without the need for VR headsets. What they have built is already a reality and it’s going to change the way the whole world engages online.”

It’s certainly a new era for events and experiences, and it’ll be interesting to see how it catches on. The atmosphere of attending concerts and sports events is what makes the in-person aspect so special, so the fact Condense is claiming to be able to replicate this is quite impressive. 

It’s been stated by the company that using Video3.0 can give fans an enhanced true-to-life experience. They can attend gigs or sporting events with friends, with the freedom to move among the virtual crowds and get up close to the action. Because performances are live, fans can interact with the artist – a digital step forward from holding a banner at a gig – and artists can respond in real-time, giving shout-outs, answering questions or performing a requested track. 

Ziv Reichert, partner at LocalGlobe said: “Hundreds of millions of people are hanging out in immersive 3D platforms like Roblox, Rec Room, Fortnite, Sandbox, Decentraland and VRChat; attending virtual events, socialising and being creative. At the same time, player demand for live entertainment inside these virtual worlds has never been greater. Condense has built the infrastructure to connect the two – now music artists, sports stars and creatives can perform and play live in the metaverse, to the largest stadium audience imaginable.” 

The Studio

In addition to the funding, Condense has also opened a pioneering metaverse studio in partnership with Watershed – Bristol’s cultural cinema and creative technology venue – to give established artists and emerging talent access to the technology. The studio is a “metaverse-first” event space, and can also accommodate a live audience. In partnership with another organisation, a London studio will soon open followed by other studios internationally. 

With Condense, broadcasting live in three dimensions to the metaverse is as natural and easy as performing in front of a conventional camera, with no need for green screens or post-production, allowing for an immediate connection with the audience in real-time. 

Bristol-based vocalist and producer Grove, who was among the first artists to pioneer Condense technology, said: “The minds behind the technology are pushing the boundaries of tech-informed performance sharing. This is great for accessibility and opens up exciting new opportunities for fans to connect with their favourite artists”.

Grace Ladoja MBE, co-founder of METALLIC INC and renowned artist manager said: “Culture and community are what drives music forward. It’s how we connect with where we’ve come from and where we want to go. Condense’s technology is opening up a new platform for these communities and cultures, diversifying the voices in the metaverse by making it live and accessible. It’s got the potential to inspire and empower a new movement of artists and fans. This is both exciting, and significant.” 

What’s next

Taking its futuristic tech to the next step, this capital boost will be used to accelerate commercial relationships with artists, labels, content creators and metaverse platforms, expanding the startup’s reach and presence in the market. As it is also today opening its metaverse studio, it is now developing an international network of streaming studios to capture and broadcast Video 3.0 live into the metaverse. 

Miles Kirby, CEO of Deeptech Labs said: “The metaverse requires a new infrastructure, much of it breaking new ground and requiring next-generation machine learning and machine vision. Condense has the deeptech experience and vision to make the metaverse the number one destination for live events.”