Former Disney CEO Bob Iger (and his avatar) is entering the metaverse.
Iger is investing in and joining the board of a company called Genies, which lets users create their own digital avatars for use in virtual worlds (you can see Iger’s avatar above). Iger joins Genies CEO & co-founder Akash Nigam, Genies co-founder Evan Rosenbaum and venture capitalists Mary Meeker and Rick Yang on the Genies board.
Genies has become popular among celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Lil Nas X. The company also has partnerships with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group for avatars and NFTs.
“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,” said Iger in a statement. “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.”
With talk of both the metaverse and web3 (a buzzword closely associated with crypto technology), Genies is trying to position itself as the future of online identity, whether that future is in virtual worlds or on the blockchain… or both. The hope is that after users create their avatar, it can be used everywhere and in every app (or virtual world).
And Iger, who officially left Disney at the end of the year, is exploring the metaverse just as his successor Bob Chapek begins exploring similar territory. Chapek cited the metaverse in his memo outlining three strategic “pillars” for the company in January. And in February Disney tapped executive Mike White to lead its metaverse strategy. But while DIsney is presumably looking at the metaverse as an opportunity to tell stories, Iger is betting that soon enough each one of us will be experiencing that Disney content in the metaverse through our own cartoon versions of ourselves.