Liv raises $8.5 million to enable easy streaming for AR and VR creators

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Liv has raised $8.5 million for its platform that allows augmented reality and virtual reality content creators to record and livestream themselves in their favorite games and apps.

Bitkraft Ventures led the round with participation from Sony Innovation Fund, Amazon Alexa Fund, Credo Ventures, Samsung Next and Olive Tree Capital. Angel investors, including Dave Wu, partner at Maveron, also participated. The funding will be used to invest in a creators and developers fund and grow the team, with the company actively recruiting staff in engineering, design, operations, marketing and community management.

Liv aims to revolutionize the VR streaming and content consumption experience by enabling creators to share their adventures in VR and AR games with their fans in real time, either as their true selves (commonly referred to as mixed reality capture). , or MRC) or as their favorite avatar (commonly called Vtubing).

VR app developers integrate the Liv software development kit (SDK) to unlock a range of recording tools and technologies for their users and generate video content for their apps. As of 2018, the creators of Liv have seen their content more than 3.5 billion times. dr. Doom started work in 2016 and he started the company in 2017.


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AJ “Dr. Doom” Shewki, co-founder and CEO of Liv, spoke to me in an interview about the early days.

AJ “Dr. Doom” Shewki.

“At the time, this wasn’t really supposed to be a business as we were hosting a show on Twitch,” said Dr. doom. “We had our hands on some early VR headsets. And I have a background in competitive gaming. So the idea was I’d host a show on Twitch, and we’d show what we thought VR esports would look like when people like I would play them really competitively.” They started streaming ourselves and realized that the standard VR experience of casting, recording and streaming was broken. A fundamental problem is that if you as a spectator see exactly what the VR streamer sees, you get sick very quickly because the movements of the viewpoint are jarring and unexpected.”

Then he showed me a demo. He pulled his virtual Dr. Doom costume and then went to a VR demo. In the demo on Discord I could see what he was doing through the stream he gave. I could see him interacting with different objects in a virtual space and then he touched a special object. That immediately started a video recording of one of his VR adventures. He shared his demo with me at 30 frames per second on Discord.

It seemed like a great way to broadcast what you do in the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds all connected together, like in novels like Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

dr. Doom said Liv supports more than half of the top 100 VR games with more than 2,200 developers on the platform and boasts 13,000 monthly active creators generating more than 30,000 hours of content each month.

The technology works live with no post-processing required. Creators can film their real bodies in their favorite VR game or transform themselves into a custom avatar that supports full-body tracking, finger tracking, eye animation, and lip tracking, as well as a full utility stack for seeing stream chat, alerts, and notifications in the headset.

In 2022, Liv will release their own software-based volumetric streaming technology and destination platform that will allow creators and fans to connect in ways unique to spatial technologies, drawing on what makes VR and AR special: the sense of presence.

Liv lets streamers capture themselves in VR performances.

It makes it possible to capture entire worlds and the people who inhabit them, for viewing or live consumption by anyone, on any device, opening up a whole new category of social experiences between fans, creators and gamers.

“Since 2016, we’ve been on a mission to empower creators in VR and AR to share their adventures with their friends, family and fans,” said Dr. doom. “As former competitive gamers and VR streamers, we know what we want and need from the streaming and casting experience, and we are going to solve our own problems. This increase allows us to bring on board top investors and strategic partners who will help us move closer to our goal of making Liv exist on every headset and game.”

Jens Hilgers, founding general partner at Bitkraft Ventures, will also join the board.

“Liv heralds a completely new content sharing format that allows users and creators to capture their VR/AR gameplay, stream it to audiences, and interact in ways unique to spatial technologies,” Hilgers said in a statement. “Since its launch in 2018, Liv has become the leading app for live streaming AR and VR games, with a large and continuously growing community of creators and support for more than half of the top 30 VR games. We believe VR and AR will bring a clear new platform for content creation, and the VR natives behind Liv are at the forefront of this.”

Avatars come to life in Liv.

“Normally, people will say that this makes them feel very nauseous and has a really bad experience,” said Dr. doom.

The other problem for VR desktop streaming is that you have a big screen in front of you that you can’t see from the VR scene. If you broadcast from VR to the flat screen that a viewer can see, the viewer only gets a limited picture of what the VR streamer actually sees. And that’s just not a good experience. Finally, if you’re the VR streamer and you can’t insert yourself into a scene you’re recording, it’s a problem.

What Liv does is figure out how to shoot a scene. It sets up the equivalent of a camera in the corner and then records what the streamer is doing in a room from a third-person perspective. For the past five years, Liv has been working on solving all of these problems so that it’s easy to record something that others can see from a third-person perspective. Liv can also record facial expressions and project them onto the avatar in the third-person scene.

“We give you as much expressiveness as you want for a creator,” said Dr. doom. “You can add waist trackers, knee trackers, feet trackers, shoulder trackers, mouth and eye trackers – as many trackers as you want to increase the expressiveness of your avatar.”

You can also easily switch avatars in real time. You can take selfies of yourself in the VR scene. dr. Doom said he sees some shots of 3D scenes as a kind of memory palace, where someone visualizes things to make them easier to remember.

Liv lets creators broadcast from VR.

“The memory palace is a legitimate memory technique where you model a physical space in your head and then assign memories to different objects in the space,” he said. “Because it is easier for us to spatially map thoughts to features as opposed to abstract thoughts themselves.”

The team has about 13 people and will use the money to hire more people.

Liv-based videos are taking off on platforms like TikTok, although Dr. Doom said we are in a nascent space with primitive tools.

“I think it’s just a function of time in the market. We’ve been working on this for five years and we expect to keep working on this for the next five years and just keep creating value to create this,” said Dr. doom.

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