Human communication is dynamic: from the use of carrier pigeons to telephones, the ways people interact are constantly changing.
In the early 2000s, the introduction of social networking sites created a form of communication free from social and physical barriers. Today, the metaverse has revolutionized communication even further by enabling individuals to connect with others in interactive virtual worlds.
The metaverse is a series of interconnected virtual environments which users can explore through their avatars. These environments, many of which are user-created, offer exciting ways to connect with others from around the globe.
Miami University student Blake Faulkner is capitalizing on this technology by enabling others to do what they love through his company, Bloxsmith.
Faulkner, a senior at Miami, is double-majoring in finance and entrepreneurship and minoring in anthropology. He first gained exposure to the metaverse when he was in grade school while he worked as a Roblox game developer. As a game developer, he created many 3-D models to be used in virtual worlds throughout the online game platform.
As Faulkner accumulated these 3-D models, he discovered their creative value and realized that they were assets that could be sold to other players. With the use of Discord, an instant messaging social platform, he began selling his models to other Roblox players.
“I quickly realized that was really tedious and not scalable because when you're selling peer-to-peer via direct messages, every transaction is so manual, and there is such a long closing period,” Faulkner said.
So, Faulkner pivoted and utilized Google Docs while in high school to continue his selling. Then, as a first-year at Miami, he launched his own website to sell his creations. Shortly later, he had sold 3-D models to customers in over 120 countries and even received messages from numerous digital asset creators asking if they could sell their designs on his site.
“For me at that time, it was kind of a light bulb moment because I never intended to build a marketplace,” Faulkner said. “But after that, I decided to go all in and really build a marketplace.”
The result was Bloxsmith, which was officially founded in March 2022.
Faulkner designed Bloxsmith to be the ultimate marketplace for game developers. Through its platform, the company empowers developers with the technology and community to sell their creations across the metaverse for interoperable use. Similar marketplaces exist but are restricted to individual gaming platforms or games.
Bloxsmith tears down these barriers.
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Bloxsmith has won numerous pitch competitions, including the Launch it Cincy Pitch Competition, Global Student Entrepreneur Awards Regional Pitch Competition and Rough Draft Ventures Spring Pitch Competition.
The achievement that Faulkner is most proud of, though, is winning the Draper University Summer 2022 Demo Day competition.
The competition, judged by billionaire investor Tim Draper, allowed Faulkner to immerse himself in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. For five weeks, Faulkner lived in San Francisco and engaged with investors and startup founders from across the globe. Not only did Faulkner learn immensely about the startup and venture capital industries, but he also beat over 60 companies from 24 countries to win the pitch competition.
“We were one of the youngest founders there, so we were competing against folks that were in their late 40s, 50s, etc. I’m very proud we were able to win all of it,” Faulkner said.
To date, Bloxsmith has raised over $200,000 in capital and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Bloxsmith is the first Miami student-led startup to raise venture capital financing and is backed by coastal venture capital firms, including Dorm Room Fund, Rough Draft Ventures, Soma Capital and Stonks.
Daniel Jones, a professor at Miami and head of the John W. Altman seed stage startup accelerator for Miami’s student-led startups, said Faulkner and his team are leading the way to solve problems in the emerging metaverse.
“By focusing on providing a trusted transactional platform,” Jones said, “Blake and his team are providing the stability and confidence needed for various Web 3.0 initiates to flourish.”
In 2023, Bloxsmith plans to raise a significant amount of capital through a new round of fundraising. Currently, the company has over 200+ investors that are on a waitlist for information about the next fundraising round. Bloxsmith will use these funds to increase its marketing and scale the marketplace.
Bloxsmith has grown to become a community of over 1,500+ game developers actively building, buying, and selling creative works for metaverse platforms. Its tight-knit community that celebrates creativity is rapidly expanding with members from over a dozen countries.
“Our mission is to create connections for individuals, whether they be game developers or young people in general, to empower them to do what they love and be able to earn from it,” Faulkner said.
With a clear mission, Faulkner is prepared to navigate Bloxsmith into the future and continue to revolutionize how individuals connect in the metaverse.