The metaverse is investable — and it’s going to be big, says tech billionaire

Technology

A man demonstrates the uSens Inc. Impression Pi virtual reality and augmented reality interactive device at CES Unveiled, a media preview event for CES International, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Las Vegas.
John Locher | AP

The so-called metaverse has a “big time” investment case, according to Puerto Rican billionaire businessman Orlando Bravo.

Bravo, co-founder and managing partner of private equity firm Thoma Bravo, told CNBC that he thinks “metaverse” is the big word of 2021.

“It’s investable and it’s going to be very big,” Bravo said in an interview with CNBC’s Annette Weisbach on Friday.

The metaverse is a sci-fi concept whereby humans put on some sort of headset or smart glasses that allows them to live, work and play in a virtual world much like the one depicted in the “Ready Player One” novel and movie. Depending on your point of view, it’s either a utopian dream or a dystopian nightmare.

The term metaverse was thrust into the spotlight this month by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg when he changed Facebook’s name to Meta and said the new company was going to focus on the metaverse.

“The metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started,” he said at the time. 

The announcement was mocked in a video published last week by Inspired by Iceland, a marketing campaign for Icelandic tourism. In the video, a Zuckerberg lookalike introduces viewers to “Icelandverse,” a place of “enhanced actual reality without silly-looking headsets.”

Dozens of other companies including Microsoft, Roblox, Nvidia and Britain’s Improbable are already trying to build the software and hardware that could power the metaverse.

Thoma Bravo has over $83 billion in assets under managements and a portfolio that comprises more than 40 software companies. It has invested in the likes of cybersecurity firms McAfee and Barracuda, as well as enterprise software firm Dynatrace.

In addition to the metaverse, Bravo is also bullish on crypto and he owns an undisclosed amount of bitcoin.

“How could you not love crypto?” Bravo said at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference in September. “Crypto is just a great system. It’s frictionless. It’s decentralized. And young people want their own financial system. So it is here to stay.”

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