Emperia, a London-base ‘metaverse startup that develops virtual stores for fashion brands, has raised $10m (£8m) in a Series A funding round. Founded in 2019, Emperia creates virtual storefronts to simulate physical shopping experiences when purchasing art and fashion products. It has worked with brands including Lacoste, Dior Beauty and Sunglass Hut. In November last year, Emperia created a virtual store for Ralph Lauren set in a “snowy ski chalet in the mountains” where shoppers could browse digital representations of clothing. Emperia says it uses data analytics to inform the design of its virtual stores. The metaverse is a hypothetical and much-hyped iteration of the internet accessed by virtual reality headsets. “We are strong believers in data reliance and as such all our virtual experiences are developed incorporating analytics, which is reflected in layout, design, user experience, and merchandise placement. Crucially, we’re doing this in a way that has a demonstrable impact on sales, traffic, engagement, and brand perception,” said Emperia CEO and co-founder Olga Dogadkina.