A new approach to digital communications will change the way we work, interact, study, visit the doctor, socialize and play. It’s often hard to explain the market in which one of our deep tech portfolio companies operates. This is because we are constantly looking for bold entrepreneurs who anticipate the market, understand its challenges, and invent solutions ahead of time. They tend to focus on markets that do not yet exist or are not yet well defined. In the case of CommonGround, our newest investment, the market potential is easy to grasp. Their mission is to revolutionize a market we have all become very familiar with: online communication and collaboration. As the COVID-19 virus spread globally, the entire world transferred from in-person to remote communications. According to a TrustRadius software buyers survey (published on Business Insider), it seems that above all other sectors, web conferencing is the number one area in which software buyers are most likely to increase their spending. We’re now spending more time in the virtual space, and virtual isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even in the post-pandemic world, both people and organizations will need virtual communications to make life easier, reduce travel costs, improve collaboration by combining the digital and physical worlds, as well as allow employees to work despite challenging weather conditions. The pandemic has accelerated the pace in which we adapt, develop, and expand opportunities with regards to digital communications. That being said, as quickly as people and workplaces were drawn to these platforms, users came to realize their pain points and limitations. Many users have started to report an ‘online fatigue’ of sorts. This makes a lot of sense: As human beings, we are social creatures. We crave a more real-life experience that will allow us to connect, feel like we really are a part of meaningful social interaction, and that enables us to break through the screen’s limitations. Digitalization processes are enabling new digital communication technologies to be born. Suitable networks are readily available and expanding rapidly in both capacity and function. The future generation of AR/VR headsets, smart glasses and contact lenses allow us to interact directly with the real world and each other. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google are all currently working on new wearables that will allow you to combine the physical and virtual worlds. The world has made a big leap in little time, and now it is ready for the next phase: a photorealistic, immersive communications tool that expands existing solutions to become as effective and engaging as face to face. CommonGround’s technology closes the gap between real, in-person meetings and digital ones. Furthermore, due to the intelligent use of virtual space, it delivers significantly more value and function to make the interaction even more effective, engaging and fun. Rewriting the rules is not easy. The technological challenges that need to be overcome in order to leap forward and blur the lines between a real-world experience and a computing platform generated one are substantial. What the team at CommonGround is building was not thinkable, let alone achievable, a few years ago. Recent developments in computer vision and 3D technology combined with advancements in deep learning and AI enable generating a photorealistic and authentic experience, that is nothing short of a paradigm shift. We believe this will fuel the next revolution in both communications as well as how humans interact over digital. Grove Ventures is happy to announce today our co-investment in CommonGround together with our partners at StageOne Capital and we are thrilled that we have managed to bring Matrix Partners, one of the leading VCs in the world, to this fantastic journey. Matrix has previously invested in revolutionary companies such as Apple, Xiaomi and Oculus — and CommonGround is the latest addition to this esteemed group. It was an easy decision for us to join forces with veteran entrepreneurs Amir Bassan-Eskenazi and Ran Oz and the exceptional team they lead. After successfully founding multiple companies leading to three IPOs, we are positive that their deep tech solution, vision and enthusiastic execution will allow us to reinvent communications. Not too far in the future, the next generations might look at the communications platforms that the world used throughout the pandemic as we look back at the typewriter, cute but outdated.