UAE’s Vuz secures $20m in funding to expand into new markets

The series B round was led by investors such as Caruso Ventures, Vision Ventures VC Fund and e& capital

Khaled Zaataah, founder of UAE-based start-up Vuz. Photo: Vuz
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Vuz, a UAE-based social app that allows users to stream and experience immersive realism in extended reality (XR) and enjoy metaverse digital experiences, has secured $20 million in a series B funding round that will pave the way to expand in new markets and boost growth.

The company will also use the funding to develop new products, hasten the growth of its recurring subscription revenue and hire new staff, data platform Magnitt reported on Friday, quoting Vuz.

The funding was led by Caruso Ventures, the Vision Ventures VC Fund, e& capital, the Dubai Future District Fund, SRMG and the Webit Investment Network.

Elbert Capital, Yasta Partners, Faith Capital, Panthera Capital and seven of the existing previous investors also participated in the funding round, the company said.

“Our plans for the future are 10 times stronger than what we have been building for the past six years,” Vuz founder Khaled Zaatarah said.

“We have built the base and now we are ready for sustainable scalability and growth at a scale-up stage.”

The XR market size is expected to reach $125.2 billion by 2026, from $33bn in 2021, according to a research report by Markets and Markets.

The global metaverse industry, which was valued at $47.69bn in 2020, is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 43.3 per cent to $828.95bn in 2028, according to Emergen Research.

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The metaverse is the emerging digital space in which people, represented by avatars or three-dimensional representations of themselves, can interact in virtual worlds.

The company's “vision is to bring people together and connect the world by providing authentic immersive experiences while removing the constraints of travel, time and access to billions of people around the world”, Vuz, which was previously known as 360Vuz, said.

The start-up is planning to build on its current iOS and Android social mobile applications with new features, as well as launch its web and smart TV platforms.

It will also further scale up operations at its office in Los Angeles to boost growth.

“We are excited about investing in a tech company like Vuz that supports the creation of virtual content, as well as enables futuristic immersive experiences,” said Kushal Shah, head of venture capital at e& capital, the new investment unit of e&, formerly known as the Etisalat Group.

“This is in line with our commitment to collaborate with visionary tech businesses that we believe will contribute to building a better and brighter digital future.”

Venture capital funding for start-ups in the Mena region rose by 20 per cent annually to more than $2.3bn in the first three quarters of 2022, according to a recent report by Magnitt.

The UAE has been leading the venture capital ecosystem in the Mena region, raising more than $840m in the first nine months of the year.

Updated: October 14, 2022, 1:17 PM
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