Earlier this month, we wrote that High Fidelity, the virtual world startup led by Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, had raised $2.4 million of a $3.4 million round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, we didn’t know who had actually made the investment — until today.
Tony Conrad of True Ventures just announced that his firm led High Fidelity’s Series A, and that Google Ventures and various angel investors also participated. The High Fidelity website now mentions Mitch Kapor and Linden Lab (the company behind Second Life) as investors too.
In his blog post, Conrad praises Rosedale’s achievement in building virtual world Second Life. Then he offers this description of what the new company does:
Philip is truly a Founder of a movement—his passion for authenticity in our virtual interactions is unparalleled. So it stands to reason that his most recent company, High Fidelity, is building a next-generation virtual world enabling even richer avatar interactions, driven by sensor-equipped hardware, simulated and served by devices (phones, tablets and laptops/desktops) contributed by end-users. Together with Co-Founders Fred Heiberger and Ryan Karpf, the High Fidelity team is creating a version of the SETI system, but with computers powering a tiny piece of the virtual world rather than folding proteins or looking for aliens.
If I understand Conrad’s description, as well as the details available on the High Fidelity homepage, the company wants to harness the collective computing power in user devices to build a new kind of virtual world. In case this clears things up: The site also emphasizes the importance of low latency in virtual world interactions, and it declares, “We work in labcoats. Starched and ironed.”
Conrad’s blog post does not mention the size of the round. I’ve emailed True Ventures to ask and will update if I hear back.