Up next on our Why We Invested series is Hallway Tile from Cohort III. Hallway is empowering the next generation of creators in the digital world. Their AI/ML-powered product unlocks professional-grade motion capture empowering 3D content and creativity for artists, fans, and storytellers.
The world is going synthetic. Today, users, especially Gen Z, spend most of their time in the digital world. Whether it’s games (~11 hours per week) or Tiktok (~10 hours per week), or platforms like Discord (~1.5 hours per week) and Video Chat (~12 hours per week). The digital world is the real world, and your digital identity is your real identity. Users are spending real time and real dollars to curate a unique identity in the form of digital avatars
Across these platforms, there are over 100M creators, which converts to about 1B+ hours of content daily. Hallway believes they can 10x the number of creators by knocking down barriers to entry in streaming, such as showing your face on camera and revealing your identity. Another barrier for v-tubers is the costs that come with the hardware and software to run facial and body recognition. Itrex Group estimates that integrating a tool that only does face detection and identification will cost you at least $3,000, and this number will increase with the scope of the facial recognition solution. V-tubers spend anywhere from $500 to $6,000 on designing and building their avatars. Currently, there are 16K V-tubers today, and it’s the fastest-growing segment on Twitch with a growth of 500% YOY.
Users want virtual identities, but there is no common method that is contagious right now. Everything is clunky, expensive, and hard to use. The future of our mental health and communication is dependent on innovation with virtual identities/worlds. People find higher satisfaction in life when they can be their authentic selves, which sometimes happens through digital identities. According to Gartner, by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in a metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media, and/or entertainment. In the workspace, people are more productive with their cameras off but are also more productive with self-avatars, which can maintain intimate video conferencing.
“For every creator today, there are 10 more creators who feel limited by video as a medium and being the ‘face’ of their content." - Hallway Team
The graphic below shows the number of viewer hours watching V-tubers vs. viewer hours total watching Twitch
Hallway’s product has the highest precision facial and body recognition on the market. This eliminates the pains of current solutions, which require wearable technology to capture movement. Once Hallway is the go-to tool for v-tubers to bring their avatars to life and create content, they will build the go-to platform with numerous tools for anyone to express themselves as a 3D character. One of these products is the Cube, the public profile page of your avatar. Hallway’s product allows creators to store and show off their virtual assets. Creators can show your status, whether sleeping, gaming, or streaming, and display where they will stream next. Eventually, it will become a place for avatars to interact and stream content to their fanbase and audience.
The Hallway team comprises seasoned technical founders with unique domain expertise in mobile, machine learning, streaming, and 3D creator tools. Several of the team’s members have worked together for 6+ years prior to building products for Reddit, Houseparty, Eventbrite, and Epic Games.
Bryan Pratte, CEO, and co-founder, has previous leadership and founder experience as the CEO and co-founder of QuarkWorks. He also holds a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Missouri.
Brett Koonce, CTO, and co-founder, has experience in mobile development and machine learning. He holds a ME in Computer Science from the University of Missouri and an undergraduate degree in film from the University of Southern California. Brett was also a co-founder of QuarkWorks and served as their CTO.
Bryan and Brett have already displayed that they can build products that consumers love and engineering teams that thrive in their curated culture. We have no doubt that they will build the future of how people interact digitally with each other and content.
Read more about Hallway in an article by Startland News here
Redbud VC is an early-stage venture capital fund and studio investing monetary and social capital in early-stage tech founders.
Co-authored by Brett Calhoun and William VanAlstine