Virtual Events Platform:NYX VX
UK based Andrew Ramgobin shows us why virtual worlds are the future & his plans for NYX VX.
This story is one of creation in disruptive times.
Covid left a trail of destruction, but it also resulted in one of the biggest waves of innovation in possibly, the shortest amount of time.
Chances are you haven’t heard about NYX VX or FREYA before.
Like me, if you are into virtual worlds, then this is your chance to grab insights from a team like NYX VX.
As I write-edit this piece, NYX VX has hosted 30–35 live virtual acts, in a really short time-frame of six months ago.
Andrew is one of the five co-founders & the chief storyteller for their portfolio of technology companies, that aims to disrupt virtual concerts, distributed computing & payments.
If you ever want a masterclass on “ How to disrupt an industry 101”, then Andrew is your man.
He has a ton of ideas, thus a lot was said over an hour long chat and it’s really tough to keep everything. I had to edit out material so we could focus on NYX VX.
Apart from my list of questions, Andrew raised a few point of his own. I added them as short tittles.
This interview was recorded on Zoom, thus I have used small snippets of the videos edited by Andrew’s fiance to the mix.
So let’s dive in, enjoy.
Let start with the names. What is the story with Greek/Norse God names of both platforms ?
I actually don’t know the background for the name NYX VX. Mariusz wanted to call it NYX VX. Would you believe, never ever asked him where the name came from.
When it comes to FREYA, is obviously a Nordic God. James Reese, our CSO loves Hugnin & Munin the twin ravens of Odin. He wanted to start us down this naming convention around Nordic gods.
There is no real meaning other than some propensities from the guys towards aspects they are passionate about & that Nordic god names sound cool. So other than that there is no big story there.
What compelled you guys to start NYX VX ?
What is the big problem you want to solve with NYX VX ?
The connection between both FREYA & NYX VX platforms.
Would NYX VX be possible without FREYA ?
Yes absolutely- the two are wholly independent. We are just leveraging the technology & IP we have with FREYA- for a stronger proposition for investors. Both companies are completely independent, but together it’s a much stronger proposition.
How long have you worked on both the platforms ?
NYX VX is 5–6 months old, like I said we began work because Covid hit us. Most of that has been Mariusz, working his socks off helped by his younger brother Sebastian.
FREYA, is over a year old in terms of what we have been doing with the tech & IP base.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of why we started two companies.
Is the same team working across all the start-ups.
So there are 5 co-founders.
I have been in the startup space for two & half years now. Myself & Mariusz Lubkowski, who is the CTO were part of another startup, same as James Rees who is the CSO.
We got a stellar team, they are all credible & hard working guys.
To give you an idea, all 5 guys including myself & David Cooper come from the tech background. So we are all used to solving problems with technology. What we have done for a living, probably why the five of us work so well together.
Sebastian Lubkowski is Marius’ brother, two Polish brothers.
Then we have a pool of developers that stretches across all of the startups. Some of them are dedicated to other startups too.
Pretty much, same core team & a few different people from a development perspective.
Do you think 5G will drive this vision- how important is 5G to this vision.
If you had to convey NYX VX to anybody- be it an artist or investor, what is your elevator pitch ?
What I want to say to all artists —
Unleash your imagination on our creative power house.
Bands go to great historic venues, we can’t compete with the history of a venue. What we can do is take all of those ideas, themes & vision. Song’s from that album from that journey and turn that into a real virtual immersive experience.
With one of our most recent acts,
Zabel Music , We built an underwater scene for that event — she was almost in tears — she couldn’t believe — her exact words were —
“What have I done to deserve something like this”.
We want to strip off the limitations — get ready to have an incredible experience — it’s like nothing else. These bands have all these ideas- it’s where the music came from.
Now imagine that its not about the music or lyrics, now you are able to wrap around the scene. Probably it will make the people love the music even more.
The more immersive something is, the more incredible it is.
What do users ( artists & audience ) need in terms of tech to be on the NYX VX platform ?
Let me pick it up from the band’s perspective first,
Bands are the supply & the consumers are the demand.
Bands can get on NYX VX with a simple prerecorded track. Everything we do at this moment is prerecorded.
We have done some live testing but we would prefer to have 5G & a much bigger team before we go live on a large scale. We were in the crawl phase & now we are in the walk phase now.
First & foremost,
It’s really important bands come with enthusiasm & secondly they need to bring prerecorded music tracks we can convert them into whatever they want.
We work with the bands to create 3d visuals and scenes to suit their brand and requirements.
Even better, If they come with video footage of music performances.
We can then mix that footage with the virtual performance in NYX VX & stream it on big screens in the virtual experience.
We did it for a Punk Rock band- Westerwaves.
The video mix was done by my fiance in the evenings, she learnt to do it just to help us out.
To create something special, It’s really important that bands should come with a good attitude .
Bands that are willing to embrace the new mixed reality environment. And work with us to create events that are a fit for both parties and help us with scene developments to match their brand.
From the perspective of- Original Music Creators
Original music is great for us because we can have an agreement with the artist.
Creative people are very protective of their IP & rightly so. It’s not like tech IP- it’s very personal & comes from emotions & life experience.
We want to make sure that the band or artist knows & are 100 % confident that we are going to use their music the way that we agreed. Trust and relationships are the foundation of this business.
That covers the artists.
Now, from the music lovers / fan point of view
First & foremost you don’t need money, we are not charging at the moment. Just show up, what really matters is the community spirit. They will need a NYX VX link to download the installer files to access the build.
All they need is a PC or a laptop for a decent experience. For a graphically seamless & visually exciting experience they do need to have a dedicated GPU.
The better the GPU the better the experience.
You want the absolutely best experience- have a good graphics card.
As I have said, we want a broad category of users & not just Gamer’s.
In the future, we will partner with ‘Nvidia’ or ‘Google Stadia’ so all users / joiners have the same high performance GPU. Later when we do charge people, we will roll that into the ticket or subscription price.
Right now — it’s absolutely free.
Again, if you have- a laptop or desktop- you can join & enjoy a fully immersive experience of NYX VX.
How do you decide which bands get to join the NYX VX platform.
We are very open to all genres and we are trying to internationalize our platform as much as possible. Again attitude and enthusiasm on the part of the bands is key.
We will do the rest, work with them to create a fantastic and memorable event that they can be proud of.
What has been the response both from the artists & their audiences, since you launched the platform?
Like I said before- we don’t have huge connections in the music industry.
So, we have been reaching out to friends & family. Asking them, who knows bands, who knows artists, who knows someone who needs to perform.
Investors usually ask, have you tried the friends & family rounds. We are not asking our friends for money, we are asking them for connections & to get people to attend events on NYX VX.
We also encourage bands & artists to attract their community of followers to NYX VX When we are bigger we can naturally attract larger audiences with a marketing budget
So far we worked with a selection of DJ’s from UK & Poland. Till date the maximum number of attendees to a virtual event are 34 concurrent avatars.
We are really hoping for this Sunday’s event to get 50 concurrent people in it. It doesn’t sound like a lot but actually 50 people is quite a lot for a small artist. It will be an amazing experience for fans who come to listen to their music in a completely immersive environment.
Right now, we are all about small steps. We run events every week to get better with artists. More artists are coming with more promotional material. So we are releasing the kind of videos you have seen .
Slowly but surely we are starting to build the scene as we gain momentum. We aim to keep moving forward without going over the cliff. Get to a point where you are happy to roll down the mountain with a snowball effect.
How do you plan to onboard artists to bring their act to NYX VX ?
We started with family & friends to get the plane off the ground by hook or crook or sheer will we had to leverage that initially.
As NYX VX is built, as the following builds and our connections grow & so does our expansion into different areas- into Music, Gaming and Unity.
We all got big experience working with the big tech vendors. Can we go out to someone like Unity straight away, to see some of the contacts we made there. And for them to say, actually we got these people from the music industry we can bring to the table.
Reach out to AR/VR/XR experts- that were working in the movie space quite closely linked to music. Every time we engage with one of these experts they come to the table with new ideas, new contacts, new artists and new links.
We are foraging away like a squirrel trying to uncover new artists & areas. New links to these people whether that may be a massive DJ venue or promotion house.
Whether it might be Unity or another big tech vendor having a music arm. trying to get people to work with a platform like NYX VX.
We used the word momentum right, momentum is going to get us those bigger artists. Whether we go to them or they come to us. Just by our very nature of activity, pro-activity, will result in success.
I honestly believe that.
How do you plan to bring users/fans to join a live event on NYX VX ?
What does it take to build a tech Platform like NYX VX ?
As for NYX VX, not much as of now as the platform is small, AWS instances are architected by network security infrastructure best practices. We all have AWS experiences in the business so that’s handy.
We are completely different in that you have five guys that eat this for breakfast when it comes to building tech platforms.
The tech is foundationally huge, it’s the biggest thing.
It takes a huge amount of money to build this kind of foundational platform.
We all have done this before.With platforms like this, having great ideas or customers is not enough. If you cannot scale the underpinning systems through IT & technology then you fall over.
For us this is the bit we enjoy the most, certainly I enjoy the most. This bit is easy, not that easy, but it’s what we do day in and day out.
How do you approach product development ?
What we have done is to continually test that pipeline of events, so we can slick up that experience.
That’s why we get a DJ or event every week.
It’s not there to generate attendances or to brag about NYX VX.
It’s actually for us, for lessons learnt & development best practices. That’s how we continually improve just by continually generating events.
That’s the big thing.
But most importantly, we understand technology & how everything fits together.
It’s not about being tactical and solving one problem now, it’s about being strategic about solving problems three years down the line.
So for us we built the tech platform & it fits the purpose now. It should be fully transformational agile at any given moment- to be able to adapt & pivot in the future.
What about funding- from what I know you have bootstrapped. So who is your ideal investment partner.
I think, an ideal investment partner would be someone from the arts & entertainment industry.
They have a specific problem they need to solve.
So, they want to invest in NYX VX, to solve that big problem & not just as a business.
That would be our ideal partner.
Do we want to build a global billion dollar business?
Some of the guys might say yes, my personal opinion is no. I have worked for billion dollar businesses, I know how hard & complex they are to build.
I would rather have us find the right partner that really wants to invest in this industry not just because it’s money making but because they have a problem to solve.
Some of the best deals & biggest inventions in the world have come from problems & solutions.
So yeah someone in the arts & entertainment industry like a ‘Framestore’ for example, could be ‘Marvel’ or ‘Disney’.
Definitely, Disney would be incredible.
Investors want to invest in a portfolio of companies. Yes they will invest in one. If you are lucky enough or strategic enough to create a portfolio of companies , where you are able to join the dots & links.
It increases your investability manifolds.
You have FREYA, from the rendering perspective, NYX VX, from an immersive almost film experience.
That would be the idea.
Do I think we could get Disney, probably not — we could always dream.
But then you never know-
What we want to do at the moment is rather than try to go to an artist, we try to go for investment.
We are limited by what we can do right now. All the promotional videos & content appeals to bands & artists but it’s geared more towards investors.
What we are trying to do is to get investors to see this as a booming industry. Where they say, that looks pretty cool, they have done a real good job on a shoestring budget.
What on earth they could do with 1–2 million pounds.
That’s the story that we are trying to build.
We know now, what’s excites you as a group. How do you plan to navigate the rest of this year.
I am done with my questions, anything that you would like to add if I missed out.
No I think we have covered a huge amount, we have been on the line for well over an hour.
For me, it is great to have a chance to talk about something I am incredibly passionate about & to something I have given a huge amount of life & time.
I wouldn’t be able to do it without my partner, with all the huge amount of work & stress. It’s a lot to take on board.
We all got great families & great partners. It’s just the case of getting the medium & vehicle to tell our stories to more people.
Whether we succeed or fail, you got to try in the first place.
I am sure many of you by now want to experience a virtual show. Join NYX VX on Facebook if you want a FREE invite to their next big event, ENJOY.
I like telling stories , so if you are a immersive technology or media startup in XR- AR/VR/MR/GAME space then it would be a privilege to hear & share your story with the world.
Hit me up here or on Linkedin if you want to collaborate on writing projects, story ideas or consultancy. My studio ‘ColdFace Interactive’ develops XR ( AR/VR/Game) projects & we can bring your ideas to life too.
Finally, give me feedback to make “ XR Bound ” better, Thank you.