Inworld AI Closes $50M Series A to Populate Video Games and the Metaverse with Interactive AI-Driven Characters

Funding led by Section32 and Intel Capital, alongside participation in the Disney Accelerator, will empower developers to create interactive AI-driven characters for virtual worlds

Inworld AI, a developer platform for creating AI-driven virtual characters, founded by conversational AI pioneers Ilya Gelfenbeyn, Michael Ermolenko, and Kylan Gibbs, announced the close of its Series A funding round. The company has raised an additional $50 million to bring richer social interactions to immersive worlds in gaming, metaverses, entertainment, and brand experiences. Section 32 and Intel Capital led the round, which also included investments from Founders Fund, Accelerator Investments LLC, First Spark Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, BITKRAFT Ventures, CRV, Microsoft’s M12 fund, Micron Ventures, LG Technology Ventures, SK Telecom Venture Capital, NTT Docomo Ventures, and The Venture Reality Fund.

“Inworld’s AI platform removes the complexities of developing intelligent virtual characters with the potential to unlock a variety of new online experiences”

Inworld brings characters to life for gaming, metaverse, and business applications. While virtual worlds have become more immersive, realistic, and open, interactions with characters have remained relatively static, relying on scripted dialogue and behavior. Ilya Gelfenbeyn, Inworld CEO, said, “In the last year, we’ve seen research that shows that online relationships can be as meaningful as those formed in real life. With Inworld, you can create gaming NPCs (non-playable characters), native populations for virtual worlds, virtual influencers, brand representatives, in-world guides, and digital humans that can forge relationships with users and unlock deeper engagement. This is the future of entertainment–stories that are told through characters with a rich inner life, that audiences are invited to participate in, and take immersion to the next level.”

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Inworld uses advanced AI to build generative characters whose personalities, thoughts, memories, and behaviors are designed to mimic the deeply social nature of human interaction. The Inworld platform features a no-code studio that makes the creation of AI characters accessible to writers, designers, and creators. Integrations with the most popular game engines, like Unreal and Unity, make it easy for developers to deploy characters into game environments.

“Inworld’s AI platform removes the complexities of developing intelligent virtual characters with the potential to unlock a variety of new online experiences,” said Andy Harrison, Managing Partner at Section 32. “Applications for Inworld’s platform transcend what’s possible in gaming and the metaverse alone, and enable enterprises to deliver rich, on-brand experiences with AI-powered virtual characters capable of delivering memorable user experiences.”

“The demand for immersive content and experiences is rising, ushering in a thriving creator economy and unlocking opportunities for individual developers,” said Srini Ananth, Managing Director at Intel Capital. “Inworld has quickly become a trusted resource for developers, who are flocking to the platform to create AI-powered virtual characters with human-like speech, facial gestures and body language for immersive realities including the metaverse, VR/AR, games, and virtual worlds.”

Since Inworld’s founding in July 2021, the company has raised a total of approximately $70 million, which includes the $50 million Series A, following pre-seed and seed rounds totaling nearly $20 million.

Since closing its seed round in March 2022, Inworld released its beta product, hired Academy Award winner John Gaeta as Chief Creative Officer, and was selected as one of six companies to join the 2022 Disney Accelerator. This year’s Disney Accelerator class is focused on building the future of immersive experiences and specializes in technologies such as augmented reality (AR), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and artificial intelligence (AI) characters. Inworld has broad applications outside of gaming and metaverse, and can also be used for entertainment, sales & marketing, and training & education.

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