Liv raises $8.5M to enable easy streaming for AR and VR creators

Liv raises $8.5M to enable easy streaming for AR and VR creators

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Liv has raised $8.5 million for its platform that allows AR and VR creators to record and broadcast themselves live within their favorite games and apps.

Bitkraft Ventures led the round with participation from Sony Innovation Fund, Amazon Alexa Fund, Credo Ventures, Samsung Next and Olive Tree Capital. Angel investors including Dave Wu, partner at Maveron also participated. The funding will be used to invest in a builder, developer and team development fund, with the company actively involved in engineering, design, operations, marketing and community management.

Liv wants to revolutionize the experience of VR streaming and content consumption by enabling creators to share their adventures within VR and AR games with their fans in real time, either as their true selves (commonly referred to as Mixed Reality Capture or MRC) or as an avatar. Their favorite (commonly referred to as Vtubing).

VR application developers integrate the Liv Software Development Kit (SDK) to unlock a range of capture tools and technologies for their users, and create video content for their applications. Since 2018, Liv’s creators have generated more than 3.5 billion views of their content. Dr. Dom started the business in 2016 and started the company in 2017.

AJ “Dr. Doom” Shawky, co-founder and CEO of Liv, spoke to me in an interview about the early days.

Liv raises $8.5M to enable easy streaming for AR and VR creators
AJ “Dr. Dom” Shawky.

“At the time, it wasn’t really meant to be a company because we were hosting a show on Twitch,” Dr. Dom said. “We got our hands on some early VR headsets. I have a background in competitive gaming. So the idea was I was going to host a show on Twitch, and we were going to show what we thought VR sports would look like when people like me played them really competitively.” The casting, recording, and streaming experience was down . One of the primary problems is that if as a spectator you see exactly what a VR broadcaster sees, you get sick very quickly because the point-of-view movements are annoying and unpredictable.”

Then he showed me a demo. He put on his virtual Dr. Dom costume and then went to a virtual reality show. In the demo on Discord, I was able to see what he was doing through the stream he provided. I could see him manipulate different things in a virtual space and then touch something private. This immediately set up a video recording of one of his adventures in virtual reality. Share his demo with me at 30 fps on Discord.

It seemed to me a great way to broadcast what you’re doing into the metaverse, the realm of all interconnected virtual worlds, as in novels like snow crash And One ready player.

Dom said Liv supports more than half of the top 100 VR games with over 2,200 developers on the platform and has 13,000 monthly active creators who create more than 30,000 hours of content each month.

The technology works live without the need for post-production. Creators can either photograph their real bodies inside their favorite VR game or transform themselves into a custom avatar that supports full body tracking, finger tracking, eye animation and lip tracking, as well as a full suite of tools for watching chat broadcasts, alerts and notifications in the headset.

In 2022, Liv will launch its software-based volumetric broadcast technology and destination platform that allows creators and fans to connect in unique ways to spatial technologies, drawing on what makes VR and AR special: the sense of presence.

Liv raises $8.5M to enable easy streaming for AR and VR creators
Liv allows live streamers to capture themselves in virtual reality shows.

It enables the capture of entire worlds and the people who inhabit them, for playback or direct consumption by anyone, on any device, opening up a whole new class of social experiences among fans, creators and gamers.

“We have been on a mission to enable virtual and augmented reality creators to share their adventures with their friends, family and fans since 2016,” said Dr. Dom. “As competitive ex-players and VR broadcasters, we know what we want and need from the streaming and streaming experience, and we start solving our own problems. This increase allows us to bring in first-class investors and strategic partners that help us move closer to our goal of having Liv in every headset. head and every game.”

Jens Hilgers, founding general partner at Bitkraft Ventures, will also join the board of directors.

“Liv introduces an entirely new format for sharing content that enables users and creators to capture their own VR/AR gameplay, broadcast it to an audience, and interact in unique ways with spatial technologies,” Hilgers said in a statement. “Since its launch in 2018, Liv has become the leading live streaming app for AR and VR games, with a large and ever-growing community of creators, and support for more than half of the top 30 VR games. We believe VR and AR will provide a new premium content creation platform, and lead the population of VR Originals Liv Way.”

Liv raises $8.5M to enable easy streaming for AR and VR creators
Avatars come to life in Lev.

“Usually, people will say that makes them feel really sick and gives them a really bad experience,” Dr. Dom said.

The other problem with streaming VR for desktop is that you have a big screen in front of you that you can’t see from inside a VR scene. If you stream from inside VR to a flat screen that the viewer can see, the viewer only gets a limited view of what the VR streaming device really sees. This is not a good experience. Finally, it’s a problem if you’re a VR video player and can’t get yourself into a scene you’re recording.

What Liv does is figure out how to record a scene. It sets up the equivalent of a camera in the corner and then records what the operator is doing in the room from a third person perspective. Over the past five years, Liv has been fixing all of these issues so that it’s easier to record something that others can see in the third person. Liv can also record facial expressions and display them to the avatar in the third person scene.

“We give you as much expression as you want a creator,” said Dr. Dom. “You can add waist trackers, knee trackers, foot trackers, shoulder trackers, mouth and eye trackers—any number of trackers you want to increase your avatar’s expressiveness.”

You can also easily switch between avatars in real time. You can take selfies of yourself in the virtual reality scene. Dr. Dom said he thinks of some recordings of 3D scenes as a kind of memory palace, where someone imagines things to remember them more easily.

Liv raises $8.5M to enable easy streaming for AR and VR creators
Liv allows creators to broadcast from virtual reality.

“Memory Palace is a legitimate memory technique where you design a physical space in your head, and then map memories to different things in the space,” he said. “Because it’s easier for us to spatially map ideas to traits rather than to the abstract ideas themselves.”

The team has about 13 people, and will use the money to hire more people.

Liv-based videos are proliferating on platforms like TikTok, although Dr. Dom said we’re in an emerging space with rudimentary tools.

“I think this is just a function of time in the market. We’ve been working on these five years and expect to keep working on this over the next five years and just keep pushing the value to create this,” Dr. Doom said.

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