Beyond the virtual office: 7 startup ideas for entrepreneurship in the metaverse

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What comes to mind when you think of virtual reality? For many people, it’s first-person shooter games like “Halo” or “Call of Duty.” However, the virtual office has also become a staple for some businesses in the digital age. It provides a low-cost, flexible way for businesses to get started without investing in expensive physical space or equipment. 

What if you want to take your virtual office one step further? What if you want to create an entire business inside a virtual world? Whether you’re looking for new ideas or just want to explore the possibilities, here are seven startup ideas worth checking out in the metaverse.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a term used to describe a virtual world that exists beyond the internet. It’s a place where you can create and explore anything you can imagine, from 3D designs to virtual worlds to immersive VR experiences and events. The metaverse is also home to various social networks, forums, and marketplaces where users can connect with each other and do business.

As a concept, “the” metaverse is supposed to be a single virtual space where people connect to interact, shop, play games, hang out and even work. It is meant to become the next step in the evolution of the internet, what some people are calling Web3.0. It is an enduring 3D world you can access through the equivalent of a web browser using special VR or AR gear and where you’ll be able to access new, more immersive forms of content than in what is now the “traditional” internet.

In practice, the concept of the metaverse is yet to be realized. What we have so far is a collection of little independent metaverses like Fortnite, Roblox and Decentraland that have some of the main traits of the metaverse concept. These early platforms, most of which are powered by blockchain technology and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), show enormous potential for business applications, seven of which we’ll discuss further down the post.

The story behind the metaverse

Although the term itself dates back to the 90s, and the concept goes back even further to a sci-fi novel from the 60s, the metaverse became mainstream thanks to Facebook’s rebranding to Meta Platforms, Inc.

The idea is perfectly framed in Steven Spielberg’s film Ready Player One, where it is represented by The Oasis. This virtual world depicted in the movie shows VR stores where users purchase real-world items alongside in-game purchases, VR clubs where they meet to hang out, personal shops owned or leased by users and, in general, an entire digital economy where ownership works just like in the real world and trades are based on coins or tokens, reminiscent of cryptocurrencies.

Many agree that we are moving towards a metaverse that will be very much like The Oasis. In this new virtual world, traditional web pages will be a thing of the past, and we will do everything in VR. This is one of the main reasons why founders and entrepreneurs need to focus on the metaverse when thinking of new businesses and business models for the future.

That said, here are seven great ideas for businesses you can start from scratch in the metaverse.

#1 Virtual real estate business (trading virtual land)

As we mentioned before, land is an important asset in the metaverse, just like in the real world. Users need land to build on and create new VR experiences, and most metaverses are created with a limited number of land lots. This scarcity, combined with its value and people’s desire to own it, makes virtual land a valuable commodity that can be traded, sold or even rented, just like normal real estate in the physical world. On the other hand, they are virtual assets represented by NFTs that you can trade on most major crypto exchanges like you trade cryptocurrencies, stocks and other financial assets.

There are already a few businesses that deal with virtual land trading, but there’s still room for more. If you’re interested in starting a virtual real estate business, besides researching deals on already trending metaverses, your main goal should be to identify new and emerging projects to get whitelisted for their early release. That way, you can purchase land at floor price (the original minting price of the NFTs) and ensure that you’ll make a profit when you sell later down the line.

You can also get into the business of virtual land by launching your own metaverse project and selling plots of land so users can build on them.

#2 The metaverse and VR gaming

As it stands, the metaverse is being built on top of popular 3D online gaming platforms. Some examples include popular titles like Fortnite, Worlds of Warcraft, Roblox and Minecraft. But you can also create games within some of these virtual worlds. Creating games and 3D VR experiences either inside already existing metaverse platforms or starting your platform from scratch can be a profitable business.

The number of online play-to-earn games is rapidly increasing, and it offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter a new business model where you can create entire digital worlds where people can earn, buy and trade in-game items, buy and own plots of land as NFTs, build on them whatever they want and bring others on board for the experience.

#3 Virtual / Brick & Mortar Hybrid coworking space businesses

Coworking spaces and virtual business addresses are common solutions for businesses that want to save on office space while working alongside like-minded individuals. In the metaverse, this can take on a whole new meaning where businesses can have a virtual office linked to a physical one.

The idea is to create a hybrid workspace, both in VR and physical reality, that allows people to work together in both worlds simultaneously. The VR version is no more than a digital twin of the real-world space hosted in the metaverse. This setup would allow people to communicate and collaborate in real-time as if they were all in the same room, regardless of their location.

This lets remote work take on a whole new meaning, leveraging technology to improve employee communication, collaboration and integration with the rest of the team. Starting a hybrid coworking space or adapting a normal coworking to the hybrid model is a great way to dive into the metaverse as an entrepreneur. This business model requires a special setup, but it’s well worth the investment.

This type of business can appeal to startups, remote workers, entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to get out of the home office and interact with others both physically and virtually like never before.

#4 Metaverse 3D assets design firm

As the metaverse continues to grow, the need for 3D assets will also continue to grow. This makes starting a 3D asset design firm a great business idea for entrepreneurs who want to get into the metaverse.

3D assets are used in many different ways in the metaverse. We can use them to create new VR experiences, for marketing or even for product prototyping. As the demand for 3D assets grows, so too will the need for businesses that can create them quickly and efficiently.

If you’re interested in starting a 3D asset design firm, your main goal should be to identify what type of 3D assets are in high demand and on which metaverse platform they’re selling. Focus on creating those types of assets and make sure to offer them in the right market, and you’ve got a source of passive income in the making.

#5 Metaverse marketing business

Like it or hate it, digital marketing agencies helped make the internet what it is today. Businesses will need help marketing their products and services in this new digital world in the near future. Virtual marketing is taking on a whole new meaning. This is where a metaverse marketing business comes in.

A metaverse marketing business can help businesses with anything from building a brand presence in the metaverse to creating ad campaigns that reach the right audience, to even developing marketing plans specific to the metaverse. Anything from referral and affiliate marketing to content marketing and everything in between will have to be adapted for this new virtual environment.

If you’re good at marketing and have a basic understanding of the metaverse, then starting your own metaverse marketing business can be a great idea.

#6 Immersive online tutoring business

The metaverse provides a perfect environment for learning. It allows students to learn in ways that are impossible in the real world. It also allows them to meet other students from all over the world, learning how to bridge cultural differences to collaborate and work together to solve problems.

An immersive online tutoring business that runs on the metaverse can provide students with access to quality education anywhere. All you need is a good internet connection, a VR headset and the will to create awesome lessons in VR, and you’re good to go. The best part is that this type of business can be started on a shoestring budget and doesn’t require much infrastructure or equipment. It does, however, require plenty of time and technical skills to create the lessons.

If you’re passionate about education and want to help others learn in new and innovative ways, an immersive online tutoring business can be profitable and rewarding.

#7 Metaverse as a service (MetaaS?)

Imagine you have a business that wants to jump on the metaverse bandwagon, but you don’t know how. You look at all the different metaverse platforms and don’t feel that they suit your needs. If only you could create your own metaverse…

Well, if you were an experienced developer, you probably could. But if you’re not, the only solution is to find someone who knows how to build amazing online 3D VR worlds. This is where the idea of metaverse as a service, or MetaaS, comes from. This is a type of software development company that focuses on creating, running and potentially even hosting metaverses for their clients.

Not everyone has the skills and know-how to launch a startup like this one, but those who do will find it to be a future-proof and profitable business for at least the next couple of decades.

The bottom line

The metaverse is a fascinating place with endless possibilities for entrepreneurship. These are just a few ideas to get you started, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to starting your own business in this virtual world. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start building!

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