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Mawari has raised $6.5 million to enable faster 3D content delivery for digital assets for the metaverse.
It hopes to offload the processing and networking requirements for our future internet with technologies such as machine learning, compression and blockchain to enable a 3D metaverse.
The firm said the oversubscribed round was led by Blockchange Ventures and Decasonic, with additional investments from Abies Ventures, Accord Ventures, Anfield, Outlier Ventures, Primal Capital and others.
“We are excited to have achieved this major milestone with such a prestigious group of investors who share our mission and ambition to deliver the metaverse to everyone,” said Luis Oscar Ramirez Solorzano, CEO of Mawari.
In an interview with GamesBeat, he said that the company has been labeled “the Akamai of the metaverse,” a reference to Akamai’s content delivery networks for the internet, where the company set up points on the internet where you could download games or videos in a way that was faster because the assets were close to you. It was a way of unclogging the internet, and it’s not a bad analogy for how Mawari hopes to head off the clogging of the metaverse.
“We’ve been through the waves of AR and VR, with the mission of becoming the Akamai of XR (extended reality),” he said. “We are moving to democratize access to immersive content. That’s how we started.”
The funding in the form of venture equity and digital assets will enable Mawari to expand its existing R&D capabilities and to move faster towards the launch of the Mawari Network: a decentralized 3D and XR content delivery platform with designs based on Web3 principles. It will be powered by interactive real-time 3D rendering and streaming technologies, and it will be supported by partners in a decentralized network.
“What Mawari is building isn’t just better. It’s also faster. And cheaper,” said Ken Seiff, managing partner of Blockchange Ventures, in a statement. “We were initially drawn to the Mawari team by their vision for leveraging decentralized compute with all the implications for spreading the technology broadly and making it more accessible to a much larger market. Then we learned from customers and partners that they were using Mawari simply because it was better. We love Mawari’s combination of forward vision and present practicality.”
As noted, everything from online gaming to video streaming to cloud services for mobile devices could create the mother of all clogged pipes as the metaverse arrives.
Ramirez Solorzano noted that the tech problem is similar to streaming videos. When you press “play” on a Netflix show, it will start playing movies without requiring you to download them. It took decades to build that kind of infrastructure.
“People already take this for granted. And when we talk about the metaverse, everybody has a very different vision of the metaverse. But in the end, this is a 3D world that can be an overlay on our world, or a world that will interact seamlessly with our devices, whether it’s a smartphone or a headset,” Ramirez Solorzano. “What people don’t realize is that the infrastructure that we have today, like the CDN, does not work for metaverse content at scale. So this is what we call the elephant in the room. The metaverse cannot be scaled to mobile XR devices.”
Other companies like Subspace tried to attack this problem in different ways, creating a kind of alternate network with special hardware that routed around internet bottlenecks. That turned out to be too capital-intensive and Subspace shut down. But Mawari figured out how to take advantage of existing hardware, splitting rendering tasks between the datacenter and the devices in the decentralized network.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or try to build everything,” Ramirez Solorzano said. “We try to break down the problem by decentralizing the computing.”
The Mawari Network provides a solution to the major bottlenecks that limit scalability and mainstream adoption of XR and Metaverse applications — speed, quality and light-weight 3D content, Ramirez Solorzano said.
Its core technologies include a patent-pending 3D streaming CODEC and split-rendering algorithms that have already earned it wide recognition, and now also tremendous support from the investment community.
Mawari.io is developing the Mawari Network, a metaverse content delivery system and Web3 project that breaks the delivery bottleneck for Metaverse content to mobile devices. It is a distributed, revenue-sharing, content delivery and rendering network powered by existing, underutilized computing and network resources. It is blockchain-enabled to programmatically scale and manage service quality.
This will accelerate the delivery of metaverse content to mobile devices and will create new revenues, Ramirez Solorzano said.
“Mawari has developed a fundamental backbone technology that will deliver the highest quality augmented-reality content in the Web3 / metaverse era, significantly evolving the community environment and experience,” said Paul Hsu, CEO of Decasonic, in a statement.
The company uses unique 3D compression, machine learning and split-rendering algorithms along with delivery at scale via a decentralized 3D content delivery platform powered by a network of GPU-powered nodes that run the Mawari Engine.
“The metaverse cannot scale until consumer-grade content can be efficiently streamed simultaneously to large numbers of mobile devices. There is no infrastructure today that can enable this,” said Ramirez Solorzano. “Mawari solves these bottlenecks by building a decentralized render network.”
The company also reduces the bandwidth required by 200 times with a 3D streaming CODEC. It can take a four-gigabit stream of data and reduce it to 10 to 14 megabits per second, he said. The company also streams geometry rather than 3D pixels themselves. It figures out which content is rendered in the cloud and which is rendered on the device for the sake of efficiency.
Why it Matters
The need for such a platform has also been recognized by major players in the industry including Google, Microsoft, Meta, Apple and Qualcomm who are all investing heavily in XR and metaverse solutions as well as funding content creation.
However, the common bottleneck that these projects face is the lack of a scalable, high-quality delivery system that can handle large amounts of data and large numbers of independent mobile devices simultaneously. Mawari’s breakthrough technologies and network are focused on redefining how immersive content is delivered, and on making it accessible to everyone.
“We do it in real time and is perfectly synchronized. So this allows, for example, digital humans to be streamed into virtual worlds. And that enables what everybody’s talking about, interoperability between metaverses,” he said. “We could stream high-quality avatars into The Sandbox or any Unity-based game or metaverse.”
The company has its streaming SDK for XR devices, and it hopes to work with cloud companies to scale its solutions to millions of users.
Besides Ramirez Solorzano and Borisov, Mawari’s leadership includes Frederick Speckeen, COO. They started the company in 2017 in Japan and bootstrapped it until now.
The company worked with Japanese telecommunications firm KDDI and figured out the huge bottlenecks in the networks and devices that prevented them from doing a good job rendering the graphics for VR and AR headsets. It turned out 5G was not the killer solution everyone hoped for, Ramirez Solorzano said.
“We stayed in stealth mode. We bootstrapped the company for four years in Japan and made almost $4.5 million in revenue, meaning paid R&D in collaboration with KDDI,” he said. “We created unique algorithms that work for XR devices. And since this year, we relocated the company to the U.S.”
Mawari counts as its partners and customers companies including BMW, Ericsson, KDDI, Niantic, Qualcomm, Sapporo Breweries and T-Mobile.
“We believe our technology and decentralized approach is a major breakthrough and will be a game-changer for the XR and Metaverse industries, redefining how immersive content is delivered.” Aleksandr Borisov, CTO of Mawari, in a statement.
Now based in Los Altos, California, Mawari has over 40 deployments worldwide in partnership with companies like KDDI, T-Mobile and Qualcomm. The team has 16 people.
To tap a decentralized network, the company needs different partners in the infrastructure food chain, like network validators.
“If you enable this entire thing with blockchain, and you build a system that rewards people through revenue, share for their participation, and monitors their performance, and you build this out regionally, then it works,” said Speckeen, the COO, in an interview. “It’s the 21st century and there are underutilized resources in the network. You can tap that. Unless you can do the metaverse on mobile devices, we are all going to be in a metaverse winter until this problem is solved.”
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