LiveKit Co-Founder Believes Metaverse Needs Open Infrastructure – TechCrunch
When the global pandemic hit, Russell d’Sa was using a product at Medium and recognized early on that with everyone working from home, company culture was affected, affecting much of employee interactions. .
âWhat’s gone are college conversations, Friday night drinks or making coffee together,â he told TechCrunch. âSo much about making friends at work underpins how you ultimately collaborate. “
When Clubhouse launched in its alpha form last year, it was touted as a new form of participatory media “that would change everything,” d’Sa said, and he wanted something like that for his co-workers. .
He took a look at how the app was powered by Agora and started developing a desktop app for his idea. He started it and almost immediately built up a waiting list of 1,300 companies. D’Sa ultimately shelved the app, but found that businesses were “desperate in this new environment to try anything.”
In fact, a large social media company approached him about using his app for his business of 1,000 people, but was concerned about the safety of using Agora. He started looking for alternatives, but found that many focused on conferencing and didn’t offer the flexibility of native mobile.
It’s like that LiveKit was born. D’Sa and his team, which includes co-founder David Zhao, have developed a free open source infrastructure for building and scaling real-time audio and video experiences, aka WebRTC, in apps.
It launched in July and today the company announced $ 7 million in seed funding that includes support from Redpoint Ventures and a group of individual investors including Justin Kan, Robin Chan and Elad Gil. .
Only five months old, the tool has trended on GitHub, going from zero to nearly 2,000 stars, d’Sa said. It also proves that the product market is fit, especially as more and more talk has revolved around the metaverse.
âCOVID has changed the world we live in online, even going to internet weddings,â he added. “We already live in the metaverse and have been for over two years.”
He believes conference calling is not the future and that virtual and augmented reality will make calls more like real life. However, the challenge is to move data quickly across the internet and have a working infrastructure for cameras, microphones, and 3D objects.
The earliest use cases for LiveKit’s live audio and video experiences were cameras at events, but one drone company is even using the technology. As the company saw increasing adoption, including over 100 projects using LiveKit, d’Sa decided to seek venture capital support to scale the team from three to 15. since launch.
The business is not generating revenue at this time, but it will as new tools come online, such as services offered beyond basic functionality including analytics, telemetry , spam and abuse monitoring, transcription, translations or voice and facial features.
Next, the LiveKit team will focus on technology development so that the tools are more reliable, flexible, and accessible to developers and the types of use cases they create.
âThe point is to find a way to work, even with a bad network,â D’Sa said. âWe’re talking to businesses big and small, and the biggest companies want massive scale to make the events of a million people all interactive. “