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Developer(s) IMVU Inc.
Initial release April 15, 2004; 11 years ago (2004-04-15)[1]
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, iOS (Apple), Android OS
Type Instant messaging client
License Freeware

IMVU, Inc., (/ˈɪmvjuː/)[2] is an online metaverse and website. IMVU was founded in 2004 and was originally backed by venture investors Menlo Ventures, Allegis Capital, Bridgescale Partners and Best Buy Capital.[1][3] IMVU members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create, and play games.[4] IMVU has over 3 million active users[3] and currently has the largest virtual goods catalog[5] of more than 6 million items.[3] The business is located in Mountain View, California, and has 120 full-time employees.[3] It is also known as one of the leading practitioners of the lean startup approach.[6]

The company name is neither an acronym nor an initialism. IMVU co-founder Eric Ries[7] 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".[8]

IMVU contains its own economy with a currency system based on IMVU "credits" and "promo credits". A third form of currency also exists for creators, known as "developer tokens", which are earned when a user purchases an item with "promo-credits". Credits can be purchased online using actual currency directly from IMVU. Credits may also be purchased on IMVU gift cards available from retail outlets such as department stores. Credits can be transferred back from IMVU to actual currency for developers accounts only. The credits are 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 can also be purchased the same way and placed into unlocked rooms, but there are 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 "promo-credits" or "predits", are a second form of currency distributed to members by IMVU and can be obtained by participating in various "Partner" promotions as well as a few activities the IMVU provides. With relation to a standard free or full member, promo-credits are similar to standard credits. A given number of credits equates, promo-credits cannot 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 are exchanged into "developer tokens", also known as "dev tokens". The purchase transfers the promo-credits into developer tokens but nets a single developer token per purchase when promo-credits are used regardless of the price of the product purchased.[9]


Many IMVU users are content creators, creating and selling products in the IMVU catalog. 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 participate in the Community forums. Additionally, there are numerous user produced third-party websites providing additional forums and resources to the IMVU community. IMVU users also do peer reviewing on virtual products waiting to be submitted into the IMVU catalog.


In January 2015,[10] IMVU acquired FurAffinity, a furry fandom art gallery. According to the acquired site, this acquisition was "the natural and reasonable conclusion to bring these similar and often already connected communities together officially." [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About: IMVU", IMVU website
  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… 
  3. ^ a b c d "IMVU Information". Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  4. ^ Mar 11th, 2011 (2011-03-11). "IMVU Games Taking Advantage of Strong Growth". Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  5. ^ "IMVU Announces Growth, Promotion". Engage Digital. 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  6. ^ "Built for Speed: Turn Your Startup Into a Lean, Mean Iterating Machine". Read Write Web. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  7. ^ Eric Ries, Co-Founder and IMVU Board Observer IMVU. Retrieved: 2013-05-25.
  8. ^ "Inspiring women in Technology: Eric Ries (Author of The Lean Startup)". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  9. ^ "IMVU". IMVU. Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  10. ^
  11. ^

Further reading[edit]