Emperia, a London-based metaverse startup that develops virtual stores for fashion brands, has raised $10m (£8m) in a Series A funding round.

Founded in 2019, Emperia creates virtual storefronts to simulate physical shopping experiences when shopping for art and fashion products. He has worked with brands such as Lacoste, Dior Beauty and Sunglass Hut.

In November last year, Emperia created a virtual store for Ralph Lauren in a “snowy ski lodge in the mountains” where shoppers could browse digital representations of clothing.

Emperia says it uses data analytics to inform the design of its virtual stores. The Metaverse is a hypothetical, much-hyped iteration of the internet accessible by virtual reality headsets.

“We are firm believers in data dependency and as such all of our virtual experiences are developed integrating analytics, which is reflected in the layout, design, user experience and placement of merchandise. Above all, we do it in a way that has a demonstrable impact on sales, traffic, engagement and brand perception,” said Olga Dogakina, CEO and co-founder of Emperia.

Talk to Tech CrunchDogakina described the vision when establishing the company.

“It became clear to me that while e-commerce was the future of retail, 2D websites were just a tool for online shopping through a simple grid of images and text, but lacked of customer journey, storytelling and ability to deliver the customer experience and physical stores product discovery retailers are striving to achieve,” she said.

The Series A funding came courtesy of Base10 partners and featured participation from Daphni, Sony Innovation Fund, Background Capital, Stanford Capital Partners and Concept Ventures.

The London startup also has a secondary site in New York.

Image credit: Emperia.

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