IMVU, a 3D virtual world for teenagers, has announced they are on a $40 million annualized revenue run rate, meaning that they are profitable and cash flow positive. The company monetizes its 50 million member userbase by selling virtual goods, but the unique element is that the virtual goods are created by users themselves. There are over 4 million items in the IMVU catalogue and that number grows by 5,000 items every day. They also announced that they have hired former Second Life Executive David Fleck as their VP of Marketing.
IMVU is an interesting application in the sense that it’s a virtual world without any real game mechanics. The world is about interaction and communication, and even its interface is closer to Live Messenger than World of Warcraft. That said, the world focuses on avatar customization, and upon entering a room you’re almost sure to notice that the various people who inhabit it have unique clothes and items. This fosters an atmosphere of materialism within the world that surely contributes to the growing profits and trends.
The company is growing as well, as they expect to double their 60 employees to 120 by the end of 2010. They hired a former Second Life executive, David Fleck, as their new VP of Marketing. He has worked with social gaming, 3D and virtual spaces for years and now sees potential with IMVU. Finally, IMVU was in fact recognized as one of the ‘best places to work’ by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.
I personally see a lot of potential in IMVU for the reason that the avatars are designed to be attractive and playful. I don’t know of any other 3D virtual world that has the sense of style that IMVU does, and for that reason, it may be the perfect place to introduce light gaming. I expect to see more from IMVU in the future.