June 2022
April 25, 2023
April 25, 2023

Star Wars holograms are finally here | Meet MATSUKO

MATSUKO — who they are, what they’ve done, what’s next & why you should care, why MATSUKO took us on as an investor and our investment rationale.

The future of virtual conferencing — meet MATSUKO

‘Hybrid’ working is an integral part of our day-to-day, and yes it works, but not perfectly.

The distinct experience between meeting someone in 2D and meeting them ‘in person’ is notable to stay the least.

What if you could have the best of both worlds? Imagine having the convenience of ‘meeting’ someone anywhere worldwide, whilst simultaneously feeling like they are in the room with you?

One word — MATSUKO.

💡 MATSUKO — what they do & why it’s game-changing

MATSUKO is a holographic communications company with a game-changing product that brings holograms into everyday life. It is the closest software-only solution to having a meeting with that natural sensation of a real presence and togetherness.

MATUSKO combines AR & AI to create 3D holograms to improve remote communication between people.

You may be thinking that holograms are not a new concept, so what does MATUSUKO add to the space?

MATSUKO — democratizing holographic communications

Simply put, currently for holographic communications to work, you need a hefty amount of equipment and setup time.

MATSUKO makes holographic communication as accessible as your smartphone. Their technology allows you to get your holograms in real-time, and real-size with just your hand held device. If you are looking for an even more immersive experience, you can pair it with your XR glasses. You can watch a demo here.

Why is this type of technology essential in today’s world?

More than ever before, working & communicating effectively virtually is paramount.

Travelling for meetings is increasingly the exception rather than the norm. The strive to minimise travel time, resources, our carbon footprint & the rise of the ‘home office’ means strong virtual communication is key.

MATSUKO’s technology is game-changing because 3D perception is much more native to our brains than a flat perception of the world around us. By creating that ‘in-person’ presence, MATUSKO takes virtual communication to the next level.

However, even in a pre-pandemic status quo, MATSUKO’s technology remains significant. It is much more than another video conferencing alternative, with extensive applications such as bringing speakers closer to their audience and enabling busy CEOs to find innovative ways to communicate with their employees.

MATSUKO’s objective is to offer the most effective solution to those separated by distance, and bring a physical presence to them.

📈 Their journey so far

Maria and Matus created this Slovakian company a few years ago combining their amazing experience in video gaming and AI to build a product that could fulfil the next chapter in communication.

Currently, MATUSKO is a team of 14 and growing, with a Seed+ of approximately €3m under their belt. The product is live in MVP BETA, with the team actively gathering feedback to improve the product until Q3 & Q4.

Here are some of their achievements and milestones to date:

2021: MATSUKO was part of the T-Mobile accelerator.

Feb 2022: They were a big hit at 4YFN & MWC in Barcelona. Watch their recap video here.

March 2022: Presented the MATSUKO app for iPhone at South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festival & were selected among the 50 finalists in 10 separate categories.

⏭️ What’s next — investment, product launch, global & team expansion

In the long-term, MATSUKO wants to become a global leader in the XR communication market and an established company in the Metaverse market.

This year they are focused on customer development and user testing.

So far, MATSUKO has been on a world tour showcasing at Barcelona, Paris, Austin (Texas, USA) and Santa Clara (California, USA).

On the investment front, they are looking to fundraise targeting a mix of UK, EU and USA investors to support them in their scaling and growth plans globally.

If you are interested in getting to know more, please reach out to Maria.

💸 Our investment rationale #1 — immersive communications & telcos

Our reasoning for investing in MATSUKO is twofold.

The first stems from interpersonal communications being part of Telefónica’s core business. They are committed to offering their customers innovative and meaningful means of communicating, with a USP focused on offering ‘communication of the future.’

Operators were not able to capitalize on the pandemic-induced mass adoption of video conferencing. However, Telefónica believes it can play in holographic and metaverse communications. This is part of a wider trend in the telco space, with all of them trying to make up for the missing Web1 & Web2 boats…

As Telefónica’s Open Innovation hub, we are committed to understanding all innovative spaces they want to play in and integrating it with their innovation roadmap.

In this case, investing in MATSUKO was aligned with their strategic focus on immersive communications., and a step towards helping them play in the space.

🔮 Investment rationale #2 — immersive communications are the future

Separate from Telefónica’s interest in the space, our second investment rationale is that the future is technology like MATSUKO’s.

This type of investment is what we call a ‘tech bet’. We are not betting on where the technology is today, but on where it will be. Driven by our belief in its potential, we came in as an early investor before the product was even live, ahead of any commercial traction.

The purpose of our investment is to support the development of the technology, hire the best technical team and drive user validation. Although it’s early days for this kind of technology, when we see MATSUKO, we see the future.

Here is our Head of Finance and Portfolio’s take:

‘I like the founders & the technology. I am a big Star Wars fan, so to have holograms on the way to becoming part of our day-to-day communication habits is super exciting. We live in a virtual world, we need to invest in the future of virtual comms.’’

With the product now “live” and capturing early users we can already see the future coming into view. The iPhone app is in full swing (with improvements still being implemented), and the Android app is on the roadmap over the next few months.

🤝 Why they took us on as an investor

As is the case with all of our investments, we came into MATSUKO’s round as a strategic investor. The core value of our investment is expanding and cementing MATSUKO’s relationship with Telefónica.

Maria Vircikova, MATSUKO’s CEO, adds:

“MATSUKO Holographic Presence is the world’s first real-time hologram meeting app that requires only an iPhone to capture and stream people’s holograms. Leading telcos, including Telefónica, have selected MATSUKO to launch Holographic Presence as the next step in the evolution of communication technology. Wayra is a strong partner who helps us on our mission to bring the future of communication where people experience real presence for remote work and the metaverse.”

Currently, MATSUKO is running a proof of concept (POC) with Telefonica’s GCTIO. Our investment creates an additional layer of engagement with telcos, helping to extend the POC and the scope of business use cases and opportunities.

To ensure our companies make the most of the commercial engagement, they are assigned a dedicated business development team to support business development, engage key stakeholders and make the most of the POC.

Our investment also comes with access to Telefónica’s and our investor & client network as well as AR, VR & XR communities which offer business development, client and hiring opportunities.

We also offer our portfolio additional support focused on mitigating scaling challenges. Last year we spoke to our portfolio to understand their key pain points and where we could support them better. Based on this, we built Wayraise, our fundraising readiness programme we run with Mountside Ventures. We also offer the tools, mentorship & coaching they need to take things to the next level and secure a partnership with Telefónica as well as other corporates.

🙌 Be part of the future — work with MATSUKO

Holograms may not be part of our day-to-day yet, but they’re coming…

Below are a few ways you can get involved:

  1. MATSUKO needs VR & AR enthusiasts or ‘techies’ like yourself to be their early adopters so they can iterate their product-market fit with user test trials. If you want to try out their BETA product and step into holographic communications, your company can join their Early Access Programme.
  2. If you want to take it a step further, MATSUKO is currently hiring. To be part of creating the future, apply HERE.

If you want to know more, reach out!

🏁 Ready, set, holograms!

So there you have it, a snapshot into our fantastic company MATSUKO, why we invested & how you can get involved.

See you next time!

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