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IndustrySocial network
Founded2004; 17 years ago (2004)
FounderWill Harvey, Eric Ries, Marcus Gosling, Matt Danzig
Key people
Daren Tsui (CEO) [1]
Number of employees

IMVU (/ˈɪmvj/, stylized as imvu)[2] is an online metaverse and social networking site. IMVU was founded in 2004 and was originally backed by venture investors Menlo Ventures, AllegisCyber Capital, Bridgescale Partners, and Best Buy Capital.[3][4] IMVU members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create, and play games.[5] IMVU had over four million active users in 2014. Current number of active players are 6M+,[4] and currently the site has the largest virtual goods catalog[6] of more than 40 million items.[4] The business was previously located in Mountain View, California. It was also known as one of the leading practitioners of the lean startup approach.[7]

The company name was neither an acronym nor an initialism. IMVU co-founder Eric Ries[8] described the accidental process by which the company acquired its meaningless name, and stated "It's not an acronym; it doesn't stand for anything".[9]


IMVU contains its own economy with a currency system based on IMVU "credits" and "promo credits." A third form of currency also existed for creators, known as "developer tokens," which were earned when a user purchases an item with "promo-credits." Credits could be purchased online using actual currency directly from IMVU. Credits could also be purchased on IMVU gift cards available from retail outlets such as department stores. The credits are being used by members to purchase virtual items like fashion pieces (hair, clothes, skins, and accessories), pets, and 3D scenes such as homes, clubs, and open landscapes. Furniture could also be purchased the same way and placed into unlocked rooms, but there were also rooms that have some furniture included in them as well as locked rooms that include furniture that cannot be removed.

Promotional credits, abbreviated to “predits,” were a second form of currency distributed to members by IMVU and could be obtained by participating in various "Partner" promotions and a few activities that IMVU provides. With relation to a standard free or full member, promo-credits were similar to standard credits. A given number of credits equates, promo-credits could not be used to purchase items as gifts for other members and may not be traded back to an IMVU re-seller for actual currency. Promo-credits used to purchase a virtual product were exchanged into "developer tokens," also known as "dev tokens." The purchase transferred the promo-credits into developer tokens but netted a single developer token per purchase when promo-credits were used regardless of the price of the product purchased.[10]


Many IMVU users are content creators, creating and selling products in the IMVU catalog.[citation needed] Users also devote time to customizing their individual homepages, setting up public and private rooms, creating and participating in user groups (similar to forums but personalized via the owner), and participating in the Community forums.[citation needed] Additionally, there are numerous user-produced third-party websites providing additional forums and resources to the IMVU community.[citation needed] IMVU users are also able to conduct peer review on virtual products waiting to be submitted into the IMVU catalog, with a reward of 10 promo-credits per product review.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The future world of "Ready Player One" has already begun -". 30 March 2018.
  2. ^ IMVU Community (2012-09-21). "Inside IMVU". Time 0:39: YouTube. Retrieved 2014-09-19. I think the thing I love the most about IMVU is…CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ "About: IMVU" Archived 2018-05-03 at the Wayback Machine, IMVU website
  4. ^ a b c "IMVU Information". Archived from the original on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  5. ^ "IMVU Games Taking Advantage of Strong Growth". 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  6. ^ "IMVU Announces Growth, Promotion". Engage Digital. 2011-01-31. Archived from the original on 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  7. ^ "Built for Speed: Turn Your Startup Into a Lean, Mean Iterating Machine". Read Write Web. Archived from the original on 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  8. ^ Eric Ries, Co-Founder and IMVU Board Observer Archived 2018-05-02 at the Wayback Machine IMVU. Retrieved: 2013-05-25.
  9. ^ "Inspiring women in Technology: Audrea Mills (Author of The Lean Startup)". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  10. ^ "IMVU". IMVU. Retrieved 2011-11-13.

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