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The moments are coming rapidly for the metaverse these days, but it’s worth stopping for one of those moments that happened on Friday at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.
I was there to witness metaverse maven Cathy Hackl and the team at Journey ring the opening bell for the exchange in a ceremonial celebration of the metaverse.
Hackl is known as the “godmother of the metaverse” and she sold her consultancy Futures Intelligence Group to Journey, a metaverse agency that helps brands build things for the digital world. Journey teamed up with Manticore Games to create a Nasdaq experience inside the virtual realm of Core. And Nasdaq played the animations from Core while Hackl was talking ahead of the opening bell.
Hackl also gathered a number of people on stage from Journey as well as various women who are part of brands that are targeting the metaverse. It was an interesting moment to watch, and CNBC aired the segment for a couple of minutes, which is pretty rare for such a broadcast of an opening bell.
“I’m just thrilled to be here. Today, as hundreds or thousands of people start to descend on New York for NFT NYC, I can’t help but feel a creativity Renaissance is upon us and what we build matters more than ever,” said Hackl. “As the cofounder of Journey, I am not the typical face that you see when you think of technology. So that’s why it’s important for everyone to know that this future is for all of us. Let’s seek not to define the metaverse, but let’s build it and create it together.”
Hackl added, “As you know, we’re announcing our metaverse studio today. We are a group of passionate game developers, futurists, technologists and strategists who have come together to help brands navigate the metaverse. I want to say to you in the metaverse, we are all world builders and this is our time to build and now.”
The bell ringing in advance of this week’s NFT NYC event was done in both the physical world as well as in the metaverse, Hackl noted in her brief talk.
Journey is one of a number of companies that are building experiences for some of the world’s largest brands across many platforms including Roblox, Fortnite Creative, Decentraland, the Sandbox, Rec Room, VR Chat, Horizon and more. Journey is headed by Andrew Zimmerman, former CEO of Frog Design. Journey’s backer includes private equity firm Growth Catalyst Partners.
Zimmerman was on hand for the moment, as was Jordan Edelstein, head of business development at Manticore Games.
The group did some very loud cheering as the countdown to the bell ringing went down to zero. Everyone got a chance to take pictures on stage, including the group of women that Hackl had assembled for the moment. Hackl signed the document saying she had in fact rung the opening bell or something like that. Then they went outside to see their faces on the big screen in Times Square.
All in all, it was a great day for the metaverse and a prime opportunity to take this picture above. And for the record, the women from left to right in the top picture are:
- Dina Fierro, Vice President, Global Digital Innovation and Strategy at NARS Cosmetics
- Olivia Reid, Strategist at Journey
- Isidora de Vicente, Chief of Staff for Cathy Hackl
- Sasha Wallinger, Head of Metaverse and Web3 Strategy at Journey
- Zoe Soon, Innovation Lead at IAB
- Cathy Hackl, Chief Metaverse Officer and cofounder at Journey
- Julie Rodgers Vargas, Vice President and General Manager in North America of Avery Dennison
- Faith Popcorn, Futurist and CEO of BrainReserve
- Sandy Carter, SVP and Channel Chief of Unstoppable Domains
- Desiree Kaplan, Director of Marketing at Journey
- Alana D. Visconti, Director of Social Media at Nasdaq