Fluxon, a global product development firm, has acquired Pluto, a virtual events platform where people can hang out and collaborate in the metaverse, in 3D worlds such as the Maldives, Burning Man, or Admont Abbey in Austria. This acquisition adds to the company’s growing portfolio of productivity and collaboration tools, including the real-time Q&A application, Dory.
As a remote first company, Fluxon, which was founded in 2017 by leaders from Google and other top tech companies, has focused on creating effective tools and processes to encourage participation across time zones. Fluxon builds products for startups and fast-growing companies all over the world, and delivers end-to-end development across Design, Product Management and Engineering. Their clients include companies such as Google, Stripe and Zapier.
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In 2020, entrepreneur and investor, Elad Gil, reached out to Fluxon to build an immersive virtual social experience. He saw that the shift to remote work had expanded the decisions people are willing to make without in-person interaction, from fund-raising to making friends – but the available video conferencing tools were missing an important ingredient: serendipity. The idea was simple: Instead of talking to people in static rooms over video calls, what if people could meet anywhere, and have more life-like, human interactions, and chance encounters?
“During the pandemic, I got sick of all the virtual happy hours, birthday parties, and company get-togethers. Fun random chance meetups largely died – you could no longer run into a friend or co-worker or interesting new person,” said Elad Gil, Entrepreneur and Investor. “With Pluto, everything is represented in 3D, which means people can explore their surroundings and randomly run into each other again. This allows for serendipitous collaborations and planned meetups in a less structured setting.”
In just a few months, Fluxon collaboratively turned the idea into a fully working product known as Pluto, complete with 3D worlds that enable users to teleport to music venues, conference centers, a relaxing beach – and even Burning Man. Attendees can move around, represented by a live video avatar, and thanks to spatial audio, walk in and out of conversations naturally. Pluto balances realism with playful fantasy worlds that include customization features, fun mazes and Easter egg hunts.
Katsuya Noguchi and Fatima Sabar co-founded a company to bring Pluto to market in 2021. Pluto received immediate interest from consumers and businesses. For companies, it is the antidote to tiresome office hours and awkward virtual events. It gives teams an online space for meetups, conferences and collaboration that can be customized into a branded, purpose-built environment. Figma, Canva and the Xoogler community group were some of the first companies to host virtual meetups in Pluto’s 3D worlds, which can be tailored to each brand’s needs.
“Fluxon has been pivotal to building scalable and high-quality video, audio and 3D technologies and we are excited that they will continue to expand the Pluto metaverse,” said Katsuya Noguchi, CEO and co-founder of Pluto.
Tens of thousands of users have already hung out, attended parties or got to know each other better in Pluto’s worlds, and there have been over 5,000 corporate and social events. User feedback has been incredibly positive: user reviews say it is “by far the best virtual event”, a “mind-blowing” experience that leaves people “feeling connected again” and helps teams to “be there without being there.”
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After the acquisition, Fluxon plans to expand Pluto’s features and capabilities, adding more content such as games, and new worlds for users to explore and collaborate in. Fluxon also plans to make Pluto available for companies looking to host much larger branded events – from conferences to concerts. With a team of world-class developers now behind Pluto, the possibilities for creating new bespoke worlds are endless.
“We’re excited about the potential of the metaverse, and want to make it accessible for everyone – without the need for expensive devices and headsets,” said Erad Fridman, CEO of Fluxon. Pluto makes it possible for friends and coworkers to hang out in, and creates unique opportunities to host completely customizable virtual events. Want to host an offsite on the moon? Or a concert in the Arctic? Anything you can imagine becomes possible with Pluto.”