Entrepreneurship and the Metaverse


The metaverse holds enormous opportunities for entrepreneurs. But how so? What about a framework for considering and thinking about the metaverse and entrepreneurship?

A study titled “Metaverse-enabled entrepreneurship” by Jörg Weking, Kevin C. Desouza, Erwin Fielt, and Marek Kowalkiewicz – all from Queensland University of Technology in Australia (with Weking also affiliated with Technical University of Munich in Germany) – takes interesting and largely helpful steps forward on this front.

The authors note that the metaverse is expected “to change the nature of entrepreneurship. However, research on metaverse, its opportunities, and challenges, as well as the nature of entrepreneurship remains scarce. This study lays out a framework to explore metaverse-enabled entrepreneurship…”

The authors sum up: “Entrepreneurs recognize that metaverse offers new opportunities across the virtual and physical worlds. On the one hand, we see entrepreneurs in metaverse leveraging virtual experiences, transactions, and artifacts, for example, platforms for virtual clubbing and dating (McMorrow et al., 2022Yoon, 2022). On the other hand, we see entrepreneurs in the physical world introducing virtual experiences, transactions, and artifacts and blending their physical world into metaverse, for example, virtual fashion (Adidas, 2022The New York Times, 2022), virtual jewelry (Youde, 2022), or capturing motions with haptic feedback (Teslasuit, 2022).”

The study warrants full reading, but a few points are worth highlighting here as to thinking about and considering various metaverse enablers for entrepreneurship. For example:

● “Supply enablers cover the design decisions of metaverse worlds and, thus, provide the fundamental feasibility of metaverse (Bland and Osterwalder, 2019). Different metaverse platforms and their worlds have different characteristics often determined by their owners (e.g., platform design choices) or creators (e.g., world design choices). These may restrict or enhance the network effects, the generativity, or the affordances offered by a world and, thus, how entrepreneurs can translate enablers into new offerings and ventures (Nambisan et al., 2019Parker et al., 2016).”

● “Demand enablers are focused on how entrepreneurs can capture value in metaverse and, thus, capture the needs of customers with offerings of specific virtual products (Steininger, 2019) and make metaverse viable (Bland and Osterwalder, 2019).”

● “…metaverse enables entrepreneurs to capture value by addressing the need for virtual experiences. Entrepreneurs can capture value with unique experiences for their users (Seidel et al., 2022). This includes designing virtual shops for extravagant or special fashion (Abboud, 2021Youde, 2022) and metaverse worlds for virtual events, art, avatars, or accessories for avatars (CB Insights, 2022c).”

● “…entrepreneurs in metaverse can capture value with the users’ needs for having a virtual identity. Entrepreneurs can create highly personalized artifacts for users who want to be unique (Stackpole, 2022).”

● “Entrepreneurs in metaverse can actively shape their environment and monetize their own content instead of only being a complementor in a centralized platform ecosystem. Examples include earning royalties from designed virtual assets (Chalmers et al., 2022Chandra, 2022).”

● “…the availability of funding further drives opportunities for entrepreneurs to capture value and, thus, shows the desirability of metaverse from an investor’s perspective. Examples include Epic Games, which announced 2 billion US$ in funding for their metaverse initiatives (Webster, 2022), and BUD, which aims to create a metaverse world for Gen Z and raise 37 million US$ to launch NFTs (Liao, 2022). These examples illustrate that there is significant funding for new ventures, and even incumbents are investing in designing novel offerings.”

Entrepreneurial ideas can spring seemingly from anywhere. This study again warrants full consideration given an assortment of concepts about the metaverse and entrepreneurship, and that in turn, can spark entrepreneurship itself. That is, thinking about various avenues for entrepreneurial activity quite reasonably can lead to real-world entrepreneurial actions and undertakings related to the metaverse.