As you’re reading this, a new universe is being created, code by code. A universe that connects the physical world with the digital realm. A universe limited only by your imagination. The metaverse. While the virtual world platform Second Life may have given us a glimpse into the metaverse in 2003, it wasn’t until Meta’s (then Facebook) commitment to help build such a medium, that metaverse projects started to take off.
In essence, the concept of metaverse describes an ecosystem built around 3D virtual worlds, where digital connectivity is the ultimate goal. At its foundation lie emerging technologies such as 3D, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR). The applications are vast, from gaming and entertainment, to real estate, traveling, and fashion.
In this article, The Recursive meets you with 15+ entrepreneurs from Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and the Western Balkans who are building new products and services within the metaverse space. This is only the beginning of mapping out metaverse entrepreneurs and projects in Southeast Europe. Please feel free to contact The Recursive Newsroom with updates or names we should add to the list → [email protected].
15+ entrepreneurs working on metaverse projects in Southeast Europe
Name & role: Cosmin Scripcariu, co-founder of Elysium Metaverse
Background: Cosmin has entered the crypto area as early as 2015, as a crypto trader. He has tested entrepreneurship several times, founding a media company and an NGO offering mentorship and grants to young entrepreneurs. In 2021, he co-founded Elysium Metaverse, a fully integrated Web 3.0 ecosystem inspired by Greek mythology, featuring a token-based, play-to-earn game and an NFT collection.
Name & role: George Cretu, founder of CGArtefacts
Background: Prior to stepping into the entrepreneurship world, George accumulated extensive experience as a freelancer graphic designer. In 2016, he built CGArtefacts, a VR and AR boutique development studio. The team handles all production aspects of VR and AR apps, from 3D modeling to code to UX/UI. More recently, he has founded UnfoldVR, with the purpose of helping users discover and create NFTs.
Name & role: Christiana Tudor, managing director & founder of SINOPPIA
Background: A graduate of architecture studies in Bucharest, Christiana has tried the entrepreneurship hat a few times already. She first founded GRAPHROOT, a 3D architectural visualization and rendering product for architecture. Today, she manages SINOPPIA, a creative technology studio for digital and virtual experiences focused on architecture projects.
Name & role: Cristian Manea, CEO & co-founder of Aggero
Background: Cristian describes himself as a tech entrepreneur and blockchain enthusiast, as well as an e-sports and gaming addict and uber geek. No wonder that his company, London-based Aggero, helps brands navigate e-sports and gaming through a matchmaking and automation platform to maximize ROI. Following a recent seed round, the startup is planning on developing new projects, including metaverse projects. Cristian is also an angel investor, and has consulting experiences in e-sports and gaming.
Name & role: Sabin Dima, CEO & founder of Humans AI
Background: Sabin is a serial entrepreneur, having co-started multiple companies in areas such as entertainment or digital advertising. He is the founder and CEO of HUMANS AI, a deep tech startup creating a platform for the creation and use of synthetic media with help from AI and blockchain. The ecosystem includes a blockchain infrastructure currently in testing, an AI launchpad that aims to help Web 2.0 AI companies switch to Web 3.0, and the $HEART token for AI NFTs.
Name & role: Emanuil Pavlov , CEO and co-founder of Ispolink
Background: Before founding Ispolink, Emanuil worked on a variety of projects, including social media, blockchain consulting, and sales. At Ispolink, he is leading the development of an AI and blockchain based platform that aims to connect metaverse, gaming, and DeFi companies with Web 3.0 talent across the world. Ispolink is powered by an interoperable, decentralized ecosystem in which users can purchase services and earn rewards with the $ISP native cryptocurrency.
Name & role: Gergana Gruncharova, CEO and co-founder of Incineration Productions
Background: Gergana first started working at 14, mostly dealing with marketing and sales. During her university years, she learned management and finance through gamification, which later on led her to found LeadersPlay, offering offline training for children in entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Her more recent endeavor, Incineration Productions, is a game development studio, developing proprietary games and high-tech VR software projects.
Name & role: Dimitar Kralev, metaverse operations at The Fabricant
Background: Dimitar’s passion for 3D and visual effects (VFX) led him to various positions as a 3D artist and VFX producer. Currently, he is a VFX Producer at The Fabricant, a decentralized digital fashion house aiming to build the wardrobe of the metaverse. Among others, Dimitar is in charge of project management, simplifying and improving 3D content creation, and facilitating R&D sprints, mainly focused on application of AR in digital fashion.
Name & role: Zhivko Todorov, co-founder of EnterDAO
Background: Passionate about Web 3.0 and decentralization, Zhivko has co-founded EnterDAO, a decentralized organization building products to enable new markets within the metaverse economy, such as games. EnterDao recently attracted a $1.8M investment from 36 global funds, angels, and founders in the crypto and blockchain sectors. Zhivko is also in charge of business development at LimeChain, a Bulgarian development and consulting startup for blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions.
Name & role: Ivan Nikolaev, managing partner of ZenArt VR
Background: Ivan has a track record of leading multicultural teams and companies, with particular focus on sports. In 2018, he founded ZenArt VR, a company that specializes in the development and provision of photo-realistic interactive experiences in virtual reality. The goal is to create experiences that feel real. The company has received several international awards for innovation and creativity.
Name & role: Kiril Nikolov, DeFi Strategist at Nexo
Background: With a background in growth-related roles at enterprise technology startups, Kiril fell down the crypto rabbit hole back in 2016, joining the world’s first crypto lender Nexo in 2018 as their first hire. Nexo Ventures, the company’s strategic investment arm, has a special focus on Web 3 projects, with notable investments including Bware Labs and 1inch. Among others, Kiril leads Nexo’s strategic work with DeFi protocols to develop institutional-friendly products. He is the driving force behind the Nexo NFT Lending Desk. This white-glove service aims to unlock liquidity behind NFTs and has already made the news by issuing a $3 million NFT-backed loan.
Name & role: George Hans Giallourakis, business development manager at SKYLECT
Background: George describes himself as a tech futurist. After holding leadership roles in digital marketing, he put on the entrepreneurship hat, founding two companies. Presently, he works as a business development manager at SKYLECT, an immersive metaverse that aims to promote the digital transformation of educational institutions, businesses, and professionals. SKYLECT offers standard and VR technologies to create compelling educational experiences.
Name & role: Ioannis Exarchos, founder at VR Productions
Background: Ioannis Exarchos is an experienced XR (Extended Reality) 360 professional, passionate about innovation and digital transformation through cutting edge technologies like VR, AR, and XR. After working in the IT and consulting industry, he founded VR Productions, a company creating immersive VR experiences and 360° Virtual Tours. He is also a co-founder of the Greek Chapter VR/AR Association.
Name & role: Alexandros Ananiadis, co-founder at Placeme
Background: A cognitive psychologist & 3D designer with extensive experience in XR entrepreneurship, Alexandros started his career as a research assistant. In 2016, he co-founded his first company, eyeSphere, one of the first AR/VR production studios in Greece that made immersive media accessible to businesses involved in culture and tourism. More recently he co-founded Placeme, aiming to help businesses transition to Web 3.0 by building 3D experiences for web, mobile, and social media.
Name & role: John Tsopanis, CEO and co-founder at 1UP Metaverse Creative
Background: Prior to his entrepreneurial journey, John worked across multiple industries, from media, to financial services, and cybersecurity. In 2022, he founded 1UP Metaverse, where he aims to help investors and corporations purchase digital coworking and networking environments and build immersive metaverse experiences. The 1UP Metaverse mirrors real cities such as Athens, Dubai and Mykonos, with high art and gaming mechanics. Prior to this, he founded Joyn Social media, a crypto and NFT powered social network.
Name & role: Josip Vlah, co-founder and creative director at Pragmatik
Background: When still in his junior year of college, in 2020, Josip launched Definition8, a metaverse partner for agencies, brands, and companies across diverse industries to deliver immersive solutions in the field of creative development and web 3.0. More recently, he co-founded Pragmatik, a high-end collectibles and fashion company specializing in the utilization of blockchain and AR technologies within the fashion and virtual worlds.
Name & role: Danilo Micić, co-founder Case3D
Background: An architect by training, has worked at his own architecture firm for 7 years, before co-founding a proptech solution. Case 3D offers 3D renderings, 3D animations, 360° panoramic tours, property navigator, VR, and AR. The company has offices in Novi Sad, Dubai, and London. Danilo is currently leading the metaverse direction of the company.
Name & role: Sefy Tofan, founder and CEO of Olympus
Background: Starting his career as a music composer, Sefy later on switched directions towards e-commerce, marketing, sales, and entrepreneurship. He founded a meditation brand and created 4 YouTube channels. In 2020, he founded a digital marketing agency to help professionals navigate the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, including creating an identity, managing Web 3.0 communities, and building awareness.
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