Former Disney chief Bob Iger is joining the board of avatar technology company Genies and is also making a personal investment in the emerging metaverse player.
Iger, who capped his lengthy run at Disney last December, is joined on the Genies board by Bond’s Mary Meeker, NEA’s Rick Yang and Genies co-founders Akash Nigam and Evan Rosenbaum.
The announcement of Iger’s involvement said he will “help Genies navigate its mission to empower humans to create their own avatar ecosystems (avatars, avatar fashion lines, avatar worlds, and avatar experiences) in web3.”
The size of Iger’s investment was not disclosed in the announcement.
Described as a more democratic conception of the Internet, web3 is designed to be decentralized and less dependent on the traditional gatekeepers like Google and broadband providers.
Avatars, long popular in video gaming, offer users a persona enabling them to navigate the metaverse. A range of startups with an eye on the growing metaverse market have arrived on the market, and traditional companies — including Iger’s alma mater — have started to make moves in the sector.
“I’ve always been drawn to the intersection between technology and art, and Genies provides unique and compelling opportunities to harness the power of that combination to enable new forms of creativity, expression and communication,” Iger said in a press release. “After spending the last few months getting to know Akash and learning more about Genies, I am very excited about his vision and how it will be fulfilled, and I look forward to working with the entire team.”
The company sees avatars as the “mobile apps of web3,” said Nigam, who is CEO as well as co-founder. “An ambitious vision calls for rare mindshare and I can’t think of a better creative and product thinker than Bob to collaborate with in bringing this all to reality.”
Genies has become popular with celebrities and has also set partnerships with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to be their official avatar and digital goods NFT provider. In addition to those targeted opportunities, Genies has also started to roll out mass consumer avatar tools in beta.
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