What triggered you to start your metaverse company?
When I was younger, I was hooked on creating 3D worlds within my computer games. Later, when I set up my digital consulting business, I realized there was a lack of options in the business space to make 3D visualizations. So in 2012, we started working on the Rooom platform. Four years later, we founded the company.
One of the most exciting things about making a metaverse company is seeing how much it was shaped by the experiences of playing and making video games in the 90s. The compression algorithms we use to make our platform run on low-bandwidth hardware are inspired by those that game developers used back then to create experiences that were technically ahead of their time.
What’s the story behind your company?
You may have noticed the third “O” in our name. That’s three Os, one for each dimension in the 3D space. Our customers are all businesses, some with a business audience and some targeting consumers. We saw a real need for businesses to make 3D visualizations for many fields easily. So we had the goal of providing companies with applications to do so.
We founded Rooom as a stock company in Jena, a town in Thuringia known for its University and academic excellence. We offer a comprehensive platform for 3D/AR/VR experiences with four essential parts. We’re now distributed over five offices in Germany and the US. And we employ over 130 people.
These are Rooom spaces for the 3D environments, Rooom products for showcasing 3D models of products, Rooom events for creating virtual meetings and trade shows, and Rooom immersions for AR applications.
What does your company solve?
We aim to democratize the metaverse and tear down its biggest barriers to entry. Many companies want to make spatial and three-dimensional experiences accessible for their customer base, both in the B2B and B2C sectors but are hesitant because of these barriers. They think designing, creating, and maintaining virtual worlds requires a high degree of expertise.
And they believe that most people will not gain much from this without specialized hardware. Rooom solves both problems by making it easy to create virtual spaces through a WordPress-like CMS. And by providing low-bandwidth 3D rendering technology that runs on almost any 2D or 3D device.
John Radoff describes the value chain of the metaverse with 7 layers. In which layer(s) does your company operate? Can you give an example?
Our company operates on several of the layers described by John Radoff. Rooom.com provides a Human Interface for the metaverse and a cloud-based service for the Spatial Computing layer through its Web-based platform.
The Creator Economy is provided with its easy-to-use interface. Retailers can create virtual showrooms as per the Discovery layer. And the Experience layer is served through social events, meetings, virtual escape games, and more.
We cover the complete Metaverse Value Chain by providing tools to let customers create their worlds. This chain begins with scanning objects to make 3D models in Rooom Products. It then proceeds to use those models to make photorealistic renderings. This then moves to showcase them in the real world through AR and virtual worlds through Rooom Spaces and Events.
Who were the people who have been the most helpful in getting you to where you are today? How did they impact your life and your success?
Well, on the one hand, my family, of course. And especially my parents. They have always supported me and set an example of entrepreneurship and creativity. Likewise, they’ve encouraged those traits in me. Secondly, my wife encouraged me to pursue my idea of a 3D platform and to found Rooom. She’s incredibly supportive of me at work and in my personal life.
Then there’s my brother and friends. Some now work at Rooom, and others I met through Rooom. And, of course, the whole team behind Rooom. The commitment, energy, and inventiveness are incredible. I also had a lot of support from mentors and investors who were, and are, role models and teachers through their experience and know-how.
What do you hope the metaverse will look like in 10 years?
The metaverse will be the next generation of today’s Internet thanks to collaboration and interoperable open standards. No one company will control it, but anyone will be able to create spatial experiences as easily and independently as they do today in Web 2.0. AR glasses will be a widespread accessory for those experiences as their form factor shrinks. This will be similar to the way we currently use smartphones.
How do you envision your company’s role within the metaverse in 10 years?
Ten years sounds like a long time, but when it comes to the metaverse, we are still only talking about its infancy, according to Gartner. We are already one of the top management services providers in this hype cycle. We hope to only go up from here. We also call the Rooom platform “the WordPress of the Metaverse”. We also hope to continue this path, given that half of all websites are built on WordPress.
Finally, we’re continuously improving the technology that enables our vision of a Metaverse on any device – compression algorithms and such. We hope to see it more widely adopted in the future. Our efforts with organizations such as the Metaverse Standards Forum will hopefully continue and contribute to the proliferation of open standards in the future.