At its March 2022 launch, TruSo, an audio-visual social media networking app for the African Diaspora operating in 2D and the metaverse, already had the investment backing of several Black celebrities.
Created by founder and CEO Matthew Newman, the app’s mission is to amplify Black voices. TruSo has received investment funding from radio personality Sway Calloway, former NFL football player Terrell Owens, actor Kareem Grimes, U.S. Olympian and TruSo investor Miki Barber, among others.
“By investing in TruSo, you’re not just investing in a nuanced social media platform, you’re backing a movement for truly genuine and empowering social and professional experiences,” Newman said in a press release. “Think about how the early investors in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have profited based on coming in on the early development of the now huge social media platforms.”
Businesses in various industries are tapping into this virtual frontier — ready to find their fortune. In 2021, when the virtual universe Roblox went public, its valuation was set at $42 billion. In addition, Facebook rebranded to Meta with Mark Zuckerberg, arguing it was “an embodied Internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at.” According to Yahoo Finance, stock for Meta Platforms, the parent company for Facebook, is expected to grow by 22 percent.
“Everyday white businesses, corporations, agencies, and investors are throwing millions of dollars into the metaverse because they understand what the future economy will be,” Black Metaverse founder, Stefan Youngblood, told Finurah’s “Money Talk” Instagram series. “Dollars equal power, power equals control.”
Black Metaverse is a community promoting metaverse opportunities. It has a Clubhouse club of more than 4,000 members.
Though corporate research firm CB Insights shared with Inc. that while it will take at least 10 years before extreme levels of immersion and interactivity, there are current business opportunities for investors to begin taking advantage.
Here are some ways Black investors can start participating in funding the metaverse.
Infrastructure: The metaverse is constantly changing and will need funding to consistently support new technologies — from 5G to edge networks. For interested investors, there is an opportunity to support startups that are dedicated to enhancing the infrastructure of the metaverse.
Technological Interface: The hardware used to allow users to experience the metaverse also provides funding opportunities — VR headsets, smart glasses, haptics and even holographics. For investors, this is an opportunity to work with startups focused on hardware development.
Virtual Tools: Developers and designers need to build metaverse worlds and experiences to keep users engaged. The development of these tools offers investors the opportunity to fund the development of avatars and 3D capture through gaming engines and other visual tools.
Currency Development: Users will be expected to pay for goods and services in the metaverse. “We aren’t just talking finance but economics,” Youngblood said. “Finance is not just dollars and cents. There’s also digital currency and trading.”
In addition to cryptocurrency exchanges, there also will be opportunities for traditional banking institutions to participate.
Virtual Experiences: “Museums, cultural institutions, everything is online and it’s more immersive,” Youngblood added. “We need to have a seat at the table.”
From virtual concerts, gaming experiences and even social networking TruSo will provide Black users with opportunities to not only engage but invest in the metaverse. Black investors will support projects that will provide Black people with the opportunity to have shared experiences and increased cultural value.