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The Wild West of Web 3.0

The Wild West of Web 3.0
November 15, 2021

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Internet 3.0 is a contested concept, primarily because it’s still in the making. Whereas Web 2.0 promised a more connected world, with virtual hangouts and social media serving as major components, Web 3.0 is loosely defined as the "next stage in the evolution of the Internet that would ensure that information can be processed with human-like intelligence utilizing technologies such as big data and machine learning.” Here we present a few components of this next digital era. 

The Metaverse
The term refers to a digital universe using technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and video to interact in the digital realm. We might still need to eat, drink, sleep, and pay bills in the physical world, but with the right tools, we’ll be able to interact online using avatars. Meta (fka Facebook) just bought Within, the VR startup and maker of popular fitness app Supernatural. Meta's interest in the space dates back to 2014 with its acquisition of Oculus VR for $2BN.

Microsoft, not to be outdone, is developing extended reality (XR) applications, combining augmented and virtual reality. Your future Microsoft Teams meetings will allow you to design your own personal avatar to send to work (while you command the actions from the domain of your couch). The software company is even partnering with the U.S. Army to create headsets for soldiers for training exercises. Meanwhile, Epic Games has been putting on virtual concerts with Ariana Grande and re-enactments of historic speeches from the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. 

Web 3.0 was the topic du jour at the recent Singapore Fintech Festival. The founder of FTX, a digital currency exchange, says the next step towards the decentralized and interconnected way of the future will include mass adoption of digital currencies from major institutions, but the adoption will stretch beyond their significance, and new trusted sources will need to be established. For now, we exist in the wild west of digital currency, where NFTs are making downloadable digital art worth millions. 

Regulators can’t keep up
Regulators have long been seeking to break up Meta, filing antitrust lawsuits claiming anti-competitive behavior and a monopoly-style acquisition playbook. While governments seek to break it up, the company continues to expand its reach.  The company’s recent rebranding to Meta is in keeping with its ambition to dominate this space, spending billions on acquisitions

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Web 2.0, it's that good intentions have their unintended consequences. Whether it's an increase in anxiety and eating disorders in young people or the faster spread of misinformation, these consequences have yet to be ameliorated. What good and bad will come from Web 3.0 is a question still unanswered.

Since last week, PrivCo has added:
331 Companies | 61 Funding Activities | 65 M&A Deals

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Funding & Deal Highlights:

Cerebras System raises $250MM from Alpha Wave Ventures

Semiconductor • Round F • Los Altos, CA

Workato raises $200MM from Battery Ventures

Automation Platform • Round E • Cupertino, CA

Applied Intuition raises $175MM from Addition

AV Simulation • Round D • Sunnyvale, CA

Kodiak Robotics raises $125MM from SIP Global Partners

Autonomous Trucking • Round B • Palo Alto, CA

Contrast Security raises $150MM from Liberty Strategic Capital

Cyber Security • Round E • Los Altos, CA

TalentHack raises $17MM from Emergence Capital Partners

Business Tools • Round A • New York, NY

Solidus Labs raises $15MM from Liberty City Ventures

Blockchain • Round B • New York, NY

Calixa raises $12MM from Kleiner Perkins

Data Integration • Round A • San Francisco, CA

Mekonos raises $25MM from Reimagined Ventures

Biopharmaceuticals • Round A • San Francisco, CA

Sandbox VR raises $37MM from a16z

Virtual Reality • Round B • San Mateo, CA

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