Read the pitch deck that AR startup Anima used to raise $3 million, which characterizes Meta’s idea of the metaverse as a ‘soulless dystopia’

Headshots of Anima cofounders Alex Herrity and Neil Voss
  • An augmented-reality startup called Anima announced a $3 million funding round.
  • The company plans to allow users to tokenize and monetize augmented-reality creations.
  • Anima shared 15 pages of the pitch deck it used to convince investors.

Anima, an augmented-reality startup, raised a $3 million funding round from investors. VC funds HashKey, Not Boring Capital, Polygon Studios, and NGC Ventures were among the investors in the round, joining the company’s previous investors Coinbase Ventures, Flamingo, and Divergence Ventures.

Anima was cofounded in early 2021 by Alex Herrity, who worked at the video-game developer Epic Games, and Neil Voss, who’s worked at Nintendo and Tumblr.

Having worked in gaming for over a decade, the two started seeing a change in the way younger generations approached digital ownership in games like “Fortnite,” Roblox, and “Minecraft,” where users can create and buy add-ons to modify the game or their character’s appearance. Some creators have built lucrative businesses selling these digital goods.

Herrity and Voss wanted to bring an ability for people to own tokens to AR, a 3D experience in which computer-generated elements interact with the real world (in contrast with virtual reality, which is contained fully on a screen).

Herrity said they both felt AR lacked “a way to collect things, to own things.” He contrasted this with Snapchat filters, which he described as more of “a distraction or an enhancement to a message versus something that you feel attached to, that represents you.”

Anima plans to offer the technology to allow creators to bring 3D assets into AR and easily view and interact with their creations. The team also includes gaming and VFX experts to assist creators and work on in-house projects.

The company is in beta but plans to open access to the public in early 2023.

Herrity described AR as “this kind of incredible medium that’s been largely unexplored by creators.”

So far Anima has launched an in-house creation, Onlybots, and projects in partnership with artists.

One of those projects, called “Mirror,” created with the Spanish street artist Demsky, allowed users to place digital sculptures in real-world landscapes like the Swiss Alps, Venice, or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Onlybots, launched in early December, are algorithmically generated AR “pets” that users can interact with.

Herrity said Anima offered “a protocol to use our tech,” adding that the company would take a percentage of sales from projects using the protocol but was “still figuring out some of the percentages that are fair.”

Anima gave Insider an exclusive look at 15 slides from the pitch deck it used to raise $3 million.

Editor’s note: Four slides containing confidential information were removed from the original deck. One was on the mechanism behind the protocol, the second was on the AR engine, the third was a list of upcoming projects, and the fourth was a timeline for product rollout.

The intro slide includes the logo and Anima’s name.


The cofounders made this deck vertical, to be suitable for sharing on phones.

“We were told it was the first mobile deck that most investors had seen,” Herrity said.

The second slide shows an image of the metaverse the way Mark Zuckerberg and Meta envision it, saying, “The metaverse won’t emerge in isolated worlds.”


Herrity said this slide was meant to showcase how Anima’s interpretation of the metaverse was different from that of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has invested heavily in focusing Facebook’s parent company on VR.

He added that through this slide, investors could understand what Anima doesn’t stand for.

Leaders at Meta “also seem pretty out of touch with what is compelling for user experience,” Herrity said, adding, “Being a massively successful social network does not make it so that you understand what’s fun in 3D.”

The company continues on this theme, dismissing “empty, disconnected, soulless dystopias.”


In contrast, Anima predicts the metaverse will grow through AR to create a “mixed reality, human and creative.”


This slide included a link to the artwork referenced in it: an AR boombox, created by the filmmaker and photographer Lyle Owerko.

Several other slides in the deck include images of art projects created on Anima.

This slide includes a screenshot of a tweet from one of Anima’s investors, Packy McCormick from Not Boring Capital.


This slide also included a link to the artwork in it.

Herrity said it was important that he and the investors he was pitching had common ground. “If I had to convince people that AR was a thing, then it was a waste of my time,” he said. “You already want investors that believe in a similar vision of the future.”

The company presents its mission statement — and explains over the next few slides how it plans to follow through on it.


The company envisages “an ownable digital layer on top of the world.”


It adds that it hopes to create a world “filled with dynamic and reactive things to discover.”


Anima describes what it plans to become.


This slide briefly explains the products the company plans to offer.


It describes the kinds of works it wants to facilitate as “previously impossible” to create.


Anima presents its “Mirror” project, a collection of digital sculptures it recently worked on with the street artist Demsky.


This slide included a link to the artwork.

It showcases another project, made in-house, called Onlybots.


This slide also included a link to the artwork.

The deck presents the cofounders and briefly describes their work experience.


The final slide includes an email address for Anima.