The Peoples's Metaverse

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Forbes MC Staff   Forbes Monaco

The Peoples's Metaverse

Matthew Larby, Milan Gruner and Joban Thomas founded a new NFT microverse platform in Q3 2021.

In October of 2021, the word “metaverse” transformed from a niche concept describing the futuristic fantasies of a select group of technology enthusiasts to the hottest topic in business, finance and entertainment. The metaverse is being hailed as the next internet and the next trillion dollar market, with speculations about its future coming from the likes of Forbes, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal. While most of the world is just now learning about what the metaverse is and why it’s essential, several individuals and organizations that have seen this trend coming have prepared and positioned themselves to lead this emerging movement.

Enter Realm, The People’s Metaverse, founded by Matthew “The Metaverse” Larby, chief executive officer; Milan Gruner, chief technology officer; and Joban Thomas, chief product officer. These three co-founders have worked together since 2014 when they started Unified, a technology company that built internal positioning systems  and a suite of analytics solutions for the events, hospitality and retail industries. They successfully sold that business in 2018 and moved on to IoT and sustainability, building smart water infrastructure to disrupt the bottled water industry. Inspired by the tremendous advances in decentralized technologies, and catalyzed by the massive social shifts that the world has experienced over the past two years, these longtime friends decided to embark on yet another entrepreneurial journey. What began as an exploration into the world of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies soon developed into a master plan to create a mobile first, play-to-earn, social impact-driven metaverse, a platform where anyone can build the world of their dreams.

“The metaverse is the most significant product that there will ever be, and it will be the interface layer for all digital services that you engage in,” comments Larby, whose words are echoed by Dean Thomas, global head of institutional capital at Polygon. “The future of the metaverse is inevitable,” says Thomas. “People speak about the metaverse as if it were a foreign concept but if you think about it, we already live in a metaverse be it through our social media communications or shopping through Amazon. The next step is merely moving from the flat 2D metaverse environments of our computer screens to an immersive one with VR/AR technology.”

He adds, “Polygon has seen incredible adoption in the NFT and gaming space mainly because things that were theoretically possible on ETH are now becoming practically possible due to the incredibly low transaction costs and high throughput made possible by Polygon. We will continue to see an explosion of NFT and gaming projects emerge in the Polygon ecosystem which we will continue supporting through our studios and ecosystem funds.”

The world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies today has many parallels to the early days of the internet. Once again, we are witnessing the emergence of new inventions and technologies being applied across a broad array of industries in a liberating way to consumers and creatives alike. Similarly, we are seeing massive waves of new investment as fund managers and retail investors alike are highly motivated not to miss out on the next big thing. Along with this new wave of opportunities comes the highly volatile markets, devastating security breaches, and utter void of regulations that we see today. In this environment, entrepreneurs must be highly diligent and adaptive to succeed. The Realm team, having found success in the technology startup world of Web2, holds a unique edge in the emerging markets of Web3. Realm recently raised $2.25 million in seed funding and launched $REALM, their cryptocurrency, onto the decentralized markets. Around the world, individuals have bought into the vision of Realm by purchasing the token and buying land, and are excited to see that vision materialize into reality. Some of the critical differentiators of Realm are the sound business models, values and principles that underpin the design of their platform, technology, and company. According to advisor Barry Herbst, “Realm is a real business amongst a sea of crypto projects.”

Three Cs


When friends go intobusiness together

CEO Matthew Larby is the visionary entrepreneur, adept at spotting cutting edge market opportunities. Technologically savvy (he has practiced electronic engineering since he was a child), the highly charismatic leader has built several technology companies, products and applications over his career. Larby cares deeply about design and creating elegant and intuitive products with world-class user experience.

CPO Joban Thomas is a Cambridge graduate who bridges the gap between creative and technical proficiency, bringing his artistic flair to bear in designing and developing hi-tech products and solutions. His skills span project management, sound, and video production, UI/UX Design, Web Design, app development, IT infrastructure, blockchain development and software development; he codes in Javascript, Solidity, Node.js, AWS and Python. Thomas oversees the integration of the design and technology into a world-class product.

CTO Milan Gruner is a meticulous and methodical technology savant with over 12 years of experience as an IT engineer and hardware developer. His versatile engineering background is an invaluable asset to Realm as he is consistently implementing best in-class solutions and innovating where solutions do not yet exist. Gruner is adept in just about every programming language and is comfortable with developing hardware, machine learning and augmented reality solutions. He is managing Realm’s continuously expanding team of engineers, which at the time of writing stands at over 30 strong.


Realm has positioned itself as a platform and a service provider within the metaverse space. “Realm’s place in the market sits between metaverse, play-to-earn and gaming,” says CPO Joban Thomas. “We believe that a compelling product unites these elements into a super user-friendly package that can connect both crypto natives and newcomers by focusing on mobile-first and building elegant and simple UX that allows anyone to participate and build with each other.”

Realm is a mobile-first metaverse focused on servicing the world’s 2.2 billion active mobile gamers, whereas most metaverse companies are focused on the emerging market of 16 million VR headsets or settling with clunky PC interfaces. For the countless brands and companies looking to build out their presence in the metaverse, reaching the world’s people via their smartphones is an enticing value proposition. And many of these brands are asking Realm to bridge their products and services into the metaverse: retail, fashion, sports, hospitality, finance, news, music and live events, just to name a few. There is a high demand to digitize products and artwork, tokenize the digital assets and create immersive experiences in the metaverse that integrate these valuables into this new emerging economy.

Entering Realm is as easy as downloading the app and signing up with an email address. Realm’s metaverse is open, accessible and decentralized. Anyone who joins can create the world of their dreams for free, and use it to host games, gather with their friends, display their NFT artwork or even sell tickets to live events. Players in Realm can earn money by exploring virtual spaces, collecting rare and valuable game- items and NFTs which can be sold on the market place, and by participating in a complex and vibrant decentralized economy.

“The Metaverse movement right now is much like the beginnings of E-commerce in the 90S - Few yet understand  how significant its impact will be on our lives.”

Joban Thomas


Realm is highly focused on philanthropy, leveraging in-game actions to create real-world impact. Through a partnership with the Eden Reforestation Project, when players plant trees in the game, Realm will plant trees in real life, offsetting carbon emissions and restoring ecosystems. Being a force for good globally is non-negotiable for the founders at Realm and these ethics are backed into every design. It is essential to provide players with sovereignty and ownership of the data they create and empower people to earn from their attention and engagement and control who has access to it. These decentralized principles are foundational to Realm’s metaverse, which is genuinely open and accessible.

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Forbes MC Staff   Forbes Monaco