In the rush to build the metaverse, Sam Huber has had a head start.
“I’ve been personally buying virtual lands since 2017,” says Huber. His London-based company, Admix, has found a surprisingly lucrative business turning that virtual real estate into actual money. Working with brands ranging from McDonald’s to Pepsi to Formula One racing, Admix has been buying space in various metaverse platforms like Decentraland and the Sandbox and leasing them to companies interested in dabbling inside this new online virtual space.
On the high end, building out a metaverse experience on one of those plots of land and leasing it back to a company can get monthly rents upwards of $60,000. Huber says that on some projects, Admix has pulled in profits upwards of 70%. “It’s highly profitable,” he says.
Huber is likely one of the longest established metaverse landlords in this nascent business. The company is like a real estate conglomerate that develops buildings and then leases them out to clients—a business model that’s operated in the real world for thousands of years.
And just as in the real world, a metaverse real estate business is most successful when one can buy low and sell (or lease) high. Huber says the cost of virtual land has grown by a factor of five every year since he began investing.
Huber got started buying virtual real estate long before the metaverse was a common phrase, focusing on another type of money-making property familiar from the real world: billboard advertising. His company was founded to try to integrate advertising inside the actual game play of online video games, like billboards along the track of a car racing game or logos on the players’s jerseys in a soccer game.
When the metaverse concept of a 3D virtual space began to gather steam, Huber saw an opportunity to create more than just virtual billboards. With $37 million in venture capital funding and about 100 employees, Admix has carved out a niche providing a variety of virtual real estate services to those interested in testing the waters.
For all his investments in the metaverse, Huber is under no illusions about it taking over the world. “We see this as a new social media channel, nothing more,” he says. “For some brands, it makes sense to be on Instagram; for some others, it makes sense to be on TikTok. [The metaverse] is another way for brands to tell their story in a different way.”
“These are just new ways for them to reach their customers,” Huber adds. As long as they want to, Huber’s company will lease them the virtual space to try.
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