Meta, formerly known as Facebook, unveiled a significant initiative on Wednesday, June 28, as it introduced a $250,000 fund designed to bolster Indian startups and developers involved in the creation of mixed reality (MR) products. The program aims to select up to five startups and provide them with financial grants to develop apps and experiences on Meta’s Presence Platform. By harnessing extended reality (XR) technologies, Meta aims to foster innovation, strengthen the local XR ecosystem, and drive the adoption of virtual reality (VR) and MR experiences throughout India.
Meta’s Presence Platform offers a comprehensive suite of products and services that enable developers to build mixed reality experiences specifically for Meta’s virtual reality platform, Meta Quest. In addition to financial support, the selected startups will benefit from mentorship provided by experts at Meta Reality Labs. They will also 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, and the selection of participants will take place over the next few months. The fund encourages emerging and established companies and developers from all regions of India to apply. Once selected, the startups will be required to develop 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 to enhance its in-app XR features and drive the adoption of its mixed reality platform. It enables the social media giant to tap into India’s vast talent pool in the XR domain and make virtual experiences more accessible and immersive for users.
Devanathan highlighted that the Presence Platform plays a vital role in Meta’s metaverse vision. The company recognizes the significance of fostering innovation in emerging technologies within India.
Notably, this is not Meta’s first venture into engaging Indian XR startups. Earlier this year, in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Meta shortlisted 120 startups for an 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 such as gaming, education, healthcare, and retail. Companies like Urban Ladder have leveraged AR to help customers visualize furniture in their homes, while BYJU’S has explored AR and VR to enhance customer experiences. With the increasing smartphone and internet penetration, the Indian AR/VR market is projected to reach $14.07 billion by 2027, offering significant 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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