These days it seems impossible to get away from the concept of the metaverse, but how many people understand what it is or the potential it has to transform modern life and business? One, for certain, is Daniel Corazzi, metaverse pioneer, founder and CEO of eyeora. The social VR platform allows creators of all kinds (from art to music to film and beyond) to share their work across any virtual reality platform in the metaverse.
Which, when it comes to securing investment, is no easy sell. Particularly given that the term ’metaverse’ has really only been around since 2021.
“I was very, very early in the game,” says Corazzi. “I was one of those crazy people that sat in front of corporates 10 years ago and said, ‘One day, we’re going to be putting this virtual reality hardware on our faces and transporting ourselves to new, different experiences.’ And they’d all look at me very strangely.”
Corazzi’s journey to the metaverse took many twists and turns. At school, his interests lay in media and entertainment with early dreams of working in the music business. He would go on to become a singer-songwriter and the frontman of a band before building his own recording studio and working as an audio engineer.
It was at this point that his nascent interest in tech started to resurface. “When I was at school, technology wasn’t really at the forefront of anyone’s focus,” he says. “But then we saw the birth of the internet.” Both of Corazzi’s parents were entrepreneurs and his father was one of the first to bring in programming for businesses. “Helping my dad out in his business, I learnt about going from paper to digital. I saw that transition happening.”
Later on, while working with artists in his recording studio, he realised how time-consuming and manual a process creating music could be and started looking for ways to modernise it. “All I wanted to do as an entrepreneur and a developer is create tools that I never had.” He started to explore what was needed to be successful as an artist or a creator that did not currently exist and developed from there. “One thing led to another - and we went from broadcasting and streaming projects – which led us to the metaverse.”
Almost entirely self-taught, Corazzi developed his engineering and software skills and started working on websites, applications and CRMs for other companies before he started running his own technology projects in his forties.
The culmination of these projects is eyeora, a VR platform that Corazzi first presented to potential investors 10 years ago. When these investors couldn’t see the potential, Corazzi started to fund the project out of his own pocket and by 2019 he had secured an impressive board and executive team of high-profile tech entrepreneurs, musical artists and managers (including Chris Herbert, founder of both the Spice Girls and the boyband Five).
“I love the excitement of building a new industry,” says Corazzi. “I love seeing the reaction from people when they see something they’ve never seen before. Building websites is great, but it’s not exciting.”
The other best part of building a company from scratch, he says, is seeing that organisation grow and develop. “We started with two people and today we have nearly 30. I’m seeing people getting married, having children and building careers around something that I envisioned. That’s very rewarding.”
The drawbacks? When you are a tech enthusiast and visionary ideas guy, having to run a company takes away from the time you can spend on those passions. “I was never a CEO. I’ve always worked for companies,” he says. “Now, I’m responsible for making decisions that will have an impact – positive or negative - on the whole company. And it’s not that I don’t like that, it’s just not as exciting as coming up with new features and development!”
Beyond the responsibilities that all CEOs share, Corazzi says there are certain skills which are essential for tech entrepreneurs. To drive a successful metaverse project you need to be able to assemble an abundance of technically able people, from front-end developers to app-developers to 3D-developers. Most important of all, you then need to be able to understand them and their needs. “It’s not a one-person job. To create something like that you really do need a team of people.”
To push forward in a new area when everyone else is confused by your product, it’s crucial to have “that entrepreneurial spirit to face challenges and create new concepts and strategies in an emerging market”. And this requires an instinct and drive that Corazzi says you are born with.
Finally, you have to be able to work with investors to give your platform the best chance of success. “The most important thing in that setting is honesty - you don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver. You need to believe in yourself and make sure you’ve done your homework.”
Should you be up to the challenge, the possibilities are as exciting as they are endless, says Corazzi. “The metaverse is what is going to connect everyone in a digital way.” Following successive lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic, he believes the metaverse offers people opportunities to connect and enjoy life’s experiences in a much more affordable, accessible way. “The metaverse can put people back into that social environment, even though it’s digital, and allow people to have more experiences than they would otherwise.”
If that sounds farfetched to you, Corazzi knows it’s just a matter of time before you can see his vision for the world yourself.