With over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, business, and marketing, Florina Onetiu is also the creator and leader of a unique and innovative product, a business of the future, based in the United Arab Emirates: Xclusiverse. With the goal of becoming the world’s largest metaverse for premium products and services, the Xclusiverse platform provides users across the globe with a complete virtual business experience.
By Anda Sebesi
What is the Xclusiverse platform, when did you launch it, and what was the reason behind this innovative initiative?
Xclusiverse is a game changer, the first step into the future or, better said, the present future. That’s mainly because it offers a complete virtual business experience for users, addressing global markets, in a reality that is becoming a part of our daily and digitalized life. Xclusiverse is a complex product with multiple uses and varied domains; it is the only metaverse that connects entrepreneurs and helps them take their business to the next level. We are aiming to become the world’s leading cross-platform with our 5X™ process: Xtended Reality platform, Xtraordinary people, Xclusive physical and virtual products, Xquisite experiences, and Xciting interactions.
The idea of creating these business connections in a new world, which is different from anything I knew before, was born in my mind 12 years ago—back when Second Life was gaining popularity. At that time, of course, I didn’t know anything about the concept of the metaverse. But the idea stuck with me in the years that followed and I knew that someday I would start a business that would enhance the world of business through virtual interactions. Cristian, my business partner also had a dream of developing a business in which real estate properties could be fractionalised and sold to investors this way. Our ideas brought us together again as business partners.
We therefore decided to build a holding of companies with several focus areas: an investment fund for real estate, a software company that could fractionalise assets, and a virtual reality platform to bring these assets and other luxury products and services together, in an immersive experience through a new version of shopping in the Web3 space. Before the pandemic, in 2019, our idea had been to start this revolutionary business, with a major technology component, in the US. We had prepared for that, but when the pandemic came along we couldn’t implement our plan and we had to “reconfigure” our route. After moving to Germany, we went to Dubai on holiday and we ended up staying for a few months due to the lockdown in Germany. Arriving there, we realised that Dubai was a very important technology hub for the new technologies we wanted to build. We discovered a place that was very open to the new business environment, with an amazing rate of implementation of new technologies, starting from the development of blockchain businesses to the introduction of all operations into the metaverse, and not just at the business level, but at the government level as well. That’s why we chose to create this business product here while targeting the entire world.
In the beginning of 2021 we started working and developing the business, and in March 2022 we launched the Alpha version of the Xclusiverse platform, which is under continuous development, with new features being added constantly.
Who developed the platform and how large is the project team?
Our team has grown significantly within a very short time. By the end of this year, we expect to have an even larger team, probably reaching 60 employees and collaborators. More than 60 percent of them are Romanians, which makes me very proud, as do our colleagues’ professionalism, knowledge, and expertise.
If we were to strictly refer to the development of the platform, we’d be talking about a mixed team, consisting of an internal team located in Dubai and an external team located in Romania. Currently, there are 28 people working on the platform in these two areas. For the design and architecture components of the platform, we also have a team in Sweden, with about 7 people, so in total there are about 35 people (Dubai, Romania, Sweden), and that number is going to grow in the near future.
As for the NFTs, the artwork is being developed together with a very talented team of Romanian designers who live in Barcelona, Spain. The development work for the NFTs is carried out internally, by our programmers.
How much have you invested in the development of the platform so far? Is the development process going to continue?
The first part of the development and implementation process took more than a year. And yes, the platform is in continuous growth, with new features, products, departments. To date, the investment has reached a total of USD 1.4 million.
Who are the main users of the platform?
Xclusiverse primarily targets companies that offer premium & luxury products and services to their clients, those that want to scale their business using an innovative tool that will bring traction in front of a demanding audience, and are early adopters of technology, channels, and new methods of marketing and promotion. We are talking about industries like luxury real estate & development, fashion, beauty, hospitality, concierge services, architecture, and art.
The end users of the platform will be high income individuals who want to explore new ways of interacting, shopping, and having fun.
What is your business model and what are its core elements?
The Xclusiverse World was built using advanced research and design techniques from the entertainment and gaming worlds. By creating shared languages embedded within collective wisdom, ideas can be passed across time and space. Humanity’s evolution and progression has been shaped by stories, which have spanned generations and societies. Through the transmission of cultural memory, storytelling evolved to help us make sense of the world. A shared language is a means of passing down collective knowledge.
The Xclusiverse ecosystem will begin with 5 districts: Downtown, Business, Luxury, Art, and Experience (which includes Entertainment, Learning, Education, and Events). All districts have been created with the world’s most important industries in mind and with the aim of providing an immersive environment for users. The first three districts were launched in preview mode in December and will be fully available at the beginning of next year. In March 2023 we will launch the Experience district, with a focus on Entertainment, and in the following months we will launch other conferences and events dedicated to the business district. The Art district will be the final one, to be released in August.
The business model is based on both business customers (B2B) and individual customers (B2C). Through the way it has been conceived, designed, and implemented, this metaverse—which is an extended virtual reality—serves the world globally and has the power to offer people and businesses from the most important industries an extraordinary level of online interaction and connection, as well as a perfect environment for doing business at the highest level.
As for the key elements of this metavere business model, they are also based on statistics and extensive research. For example, 30 percent of businesses are expected to have offices in the metaverse by 2026 and in the next 5 years more than 25 percent of people will be present and active in the metaverse, according to a study by KPMG.
Currently, according to Statista, there are 50,000 B2C users in the metaverse, and the number is expected to grow to 2 billion by 2026.
What are the benefits for individuals or companies who decide to make their entrance into the metaverse through Xclusiverse?
For B2B clients, the main benefit is that they can find new revenue streams, grow their business, and position themselves as innovative brands. In the Business district, for example, companies will have virtual offices which will be tailored to their core needs. Here they can attract and meet new customers from all over the world, because there are no space and time limitations, so they can become truly global companies. In other words, they can scale up their business very easily. Having an office in a virtual world will be a step up from the website they had before. In the platform, the possibilities for interaction become endless, as people can actually come in to see you and what you are doing. This will become one of the most effective ways to promote and grow a business.
On the other hand, the Xclusiverse metaverse gives businesses the opportunity to develop their product portfolios and target market segments that they would not normally be able to reach using traditional means of exposure and promotion. In the Luxury District, people will not only have amazing fashion, jewellery, and beauty experiences, but they could also enjoy exquisite services and products from industries like cars, yachts, private planes or hotels. In this area, for example, the user can customise their avatar by purchasing different outfits and accessories. They can also try out products for both the virtual world and the physical world.
The Experience (Entertainment) District is a suitable environment for event organisers, regardless of the number of participants and whether we are talking about local or international events. Everyone can have an experience that is somehow doubled by a kind of “digital twin” at these events. So, besides the fact that more people can have the opportunity to attend your event, even if they can’t physically be there, they can also enjoy other kinds of products here that they wouldn’t have access to in the real world—including a different kind of interaction. This world has no limits and you can essentially do anything you want to enhance your experience. You can connect with people you may not normally get a chance to talk to, you can meet up with your friends from other corners of the world at a virtual concert, and you can even fly, because the Entertainment District comes with superpowers.
Another benefit for all Xclusiverse users is that they can interact without being restricted by space and meet business leaders, celebrities or high-profile people, whom they would normally have little chance to meet in real life due to distance, time or money, in the dedicated “MEET & GREET” area. Here, people will have the chance to interact with global stars, celebrities, and thought leaders in a non-limiting virtual environment where they can shake hands or even have a brief conversation.
Are Romanian investors ready to develop their businesses in the metaverse? Are global players better paid for this type of venture?
Xclusiverse’s initial strategy was to only target B2B customers. They should be prepared to expand into the metaverse now, because if we were to look a bit more closely at what happened 10-15 years ago, at the Web 2.0 level, we’d see that many companies missed the opportunity to open online shops or develop their apps, and I am convinced that they’ve come to regret that in recent years. But now they have a chance to regain the ground they’ve lost. Many luxury brands went through the same thing. They were very reluctant when online shops first appeared and only a few wanted to go in that direction. And when the pandemic came, it hit them pretty hard. That’s why now, in the Web3 space, luxury brands are the more enthusiastic ones. As for Romania, I already know for sure that there are companies—in technology, architecture, hospitality or logistics—who want to be ahead of the times.
For the moment, it is clear that the metaverse is still not for everyone. It’s for those who are inspired enough to see that in the next two-three years, many of their B2C customers will become active in the metaverse. To conclude, I very much believe that some Romanian companies are ready for the metaverse, especially since Romanians generally have a keen interest in technology and digitalization. At the same time, as far as our B2C customers are concerned, they will come along with the market growth. We are ready to offer them great experiences in the metaverse. But as more influencers and thought leaders will begin talking about it, their followers will start exploring the new medium as well. Just like what happened with social media, e-commerce, and everything else.
How large of an investment should a company that’s interested in entering the metaverse be ready to make?
It all depends on what each company wants to achieve. Our rental services for standard spaces, for example, start from USD 4,000/year for a virtual office, going up to USD 14,000/month for showrooms in the retail area. Of course, companies can choose spaces that are customised to their needs, and we have the capabilities to offer the best solutions.
What are your short-term goals for Xclusiverse?
On the technology side of the business, 2023 and 2024 should bring the completion and launch of the final product, with all five of its main districts—Downtown, Business, Luxury, Art, Experience. We aim to attract customers for each of the B2B districts and to exponentially increase the number of B2C customers every month. We aim to achieve this through various brand activations. In terms of business growth, another goal would be to attract investors to support and further develop the product. As a financial goal, for 2023 we are estimating that revenue will increase to USD 4.5 million.
How important is the role of the luxury industry in the platform’s development on other markets? Which markets are you targeting for your expansion?
As I mentioned earlier, we pay special attention to the district that will feature premium and luxury brands. The companies in the Luxury district of Xclusiverse will have a different product category. While these brands have so far been selling physical products online, now they can also create digital products that they can sell in Web 2.0 or Web 3.0, in the metaverse. And on top of that, they can also build their NFT collections, which is basically art. Users and customers of these companies in Xclusiverse will enjoy an innovative experience and interaction with the products. In the B2C area, in collaboration with renowned designers and in association with international fashion magazines, we are preparing a collection of Xclusiverse-branded outfits for avatars in our metaverse. We look forward to making this exclusive collection available to our users through our partnership with Ready Player Me, after they’ve been created and validated by top specialists in the field.
From a Shopping 3.0 perspective, we are very excited about what we have created as a team. In addition to a variety of physical and virtual products, users will get the chance to try on and test their favourite products: clothes, shoes, cosmetics, but also cars, planes, yachts, gadgets—all in a new, novel, revolutionary way. Especially with the Luxury and Business divisions, we are planning an expansion to the US, Middle East, and Western Europe.
How does Xclusiverse integrate the real world with the virtual one to provide tangible benefits to both the B2B and B2C segments?
XCLUSIVERSE is the only metaverse that connects real-world vendors, specialists, real estate agents, educators or business people to help all of them take their businesses to the next level. The platform consists of 3 components: the metaverse, the new digital world with a zone of intense interaction in the virtual environment; e-commerce, a space where brands can rent showrooms, commercial spaces where they can sell their products either digitally as NFTs or for real; and crypto investment, where utility and security tokens will be issued and allow users to make investments and trade assets on exchange platforms. Those who enter the Xclusiverse world will be able to buy virtual products as individuals.
They can even purchase security tokens, which can represent fractions of real properties in Dubai or other metropolises, to own and trade. Companies can rent virtual offices where business people can meet clients from all over the world and showcase products and services from all segments through a complex and interactive virtual journey. Unlike current platforms for business meetings or courses, Xclusiverse offers a much more engaging and real experience where you don’t feel the barrier of a screen, but share the same reality.
What can you tell us about the launch event for Xclusiverse’s first three districts and NFT collection, which took place in Dubai on December 5?
Xclusiverse closed the year with a super event that united the real world and the virtual world, officially opening the doors of the Xclusiverse Metaverse to all innovation and technology enthusiasts.
We met physically on December 5 in an exclusive location in Dubai, but the event was also streamed live in the metaverse. During this private event, we showed our guests a preview of the first 3 districts of Xclusiverse: Downtown, where users can interact freely; Business, for companies who want customised virtual offices; and Luxury, for brands that will be able to showcase their products in virtual showrooms and users who will enjoy amazing shopping experiences. This preview was based on interactions, allowing people to discover some of the showrooms and shops that will be made available next year.
We also launched our first NFT collection about the first part of the Xclusiverse story, told in a meaningful and artful way. The whole collection is about rebirth and reinventing worlds, aiming for an evolution of ourselves as a species. This first Xclusiverse event was dedicated to people who have chosen to contribute to this dream and become investors and business partners. This initial share of the collection celebrating the first citizens to arrive to the Xclusiverse will be named The Settlers. 2,000 NFTs with unique traits and perks will form the first part of collection, divided into 4 main sub-categories: The Main, The First, The Chosen Ones, and The Ambassadors. The special subcollection is endorsed by 4 International Key Opinion Leaders from various industries for each Xclusiverse district: Downtown – Carlos Calva, Business – Dr. Jonas Ridderstrale, Luxury – Diana Verde Nieto, Art & Experience – Ferdi Alici.
The physical event was streamed live in the metaverse and a live video with people from the metaverse (at the same time) was streamed in the physical event. People present in the metaverse used both platforms: the web and Oculus. On the web platform, it was the first time in the world that a physical event was streamed in the metaverse. We had almost 200 participants in the physical event and 1100 people on metaverse, during the entire event. 4 rare NFTs were auctioned and purchased in both worlds simultaneously, at an auction broadcasted live in the metaverse from the physical event and also in the real world, from the metaverse platform.