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You might have met Marcus Smith at the 2022 MILLSUMMIT. He was busy networking, as one does at the professional development event. And if you did meet him, he might have asked you if you were interested in checking out a demo of Moooves, an augmented reality social platform designed to connect people in their IRL proximity.
The Web3 platform uses AR, geofencing and crypto, and will launch as a smartphone app. Smith, currently the CEO and sole founder, has recently returned to Delaware after college and internships. Moooves was conceived shortly before the pandemic when he — a first-generation American, first-generation college student — was an intern at the NASDAQ in New York.
“What would happen is we would all go to these networking events because we’re all trying to get a full-time job,” Smith said. He spent the two and a half months of his internship “going up and down every day from here to New York because I had to get a job. I realized that I was able to afford a maximum of two [events] during a five-day week in order to network and do what I need to do. Sometimes it would be awesome, networking wise. Sometimes it would be a wash.”
The experience inspired him to do better. Enter Moooves, which works to streamline networking by helping users find good places to meet other people, then connecting them in the physical space. For example, if you’re at a networking event full of people you didn’t know, you could let Moooves access your phone’s camera function to locate other users in the venue and highlight their public profile. That profile would include general info, a limited amount of content and links to their social media, allowing you to see if they’re a good match for networking.
(You may be thinking: “‘Black Mirror’ much?” More on that in a moment.)
Mass adoption of VR and AR devices beyond smartphones is still in its early days, and Smith is thinking ahead.
Moooves is phone based for now, but it’s part of a long strategy where its future potential will grow as technology, especially AR, evolves.
“Our plan is to get a lot of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, places like the Chase Center that can pull events,” Smith said, “so that not only will you be able to scan people, but also any events in the area.”
Users can like, follow and comment on profiles like on social media, as well as earn tokens called Sosh coins, short for “social currency,” which is actually cryptocurrency on the Solana blockchain, per the CEO: “The idea is, the more you’re interacting with your social currency, you’ll be able to use it for real-life things.” That includes in-app digital purchases and cash payouts.
Smith doesn’t rule out an eventual metaverse presence, but the tech he most sees Moooves evolving in is AR smart glasses. Unlike bulky VR headsets, smart glasses can be worn outside, look like glasses — Ray Ban produces a popular line under its Wayfarer brand — and are made for interactive AR apps like Moooves.
But mass adoption of VR and AR devices beyond smartphones is still in its early days, and Smith is thinking ahead.
“When they perfect the AR glasses, people are going to stop using phones,” he said. “I feel very bullish on that. Once you have a pair of glasses that aren’t big glasses, but literally just regular iframes, when you want GPS to go somewhere, instead of having to pull out your phone and hold it or mount it, you can literally see it like a video game.”
And, despite the goal of using the app with tech that is known to cause fear of a dystopia of people cut off from reality, the point is more face-to-face interaction, not less.
“Have you ever walked into a room, and everybody is on their phone? And it’s like, ‘Man, I wish everybody would just put their phones down and be social,’” Smith said. “In a world that’s becoming increasingly digital, we realize that social media has made everyone less social. We can’t get people to put their phones down. So we’re trying to connect people socially through their phones.”
Smith is planning to formally launch Moooves by the end of December.-30-