Meta's New Product Experimentation team to adopt a more future-proofing strategy

The NPE (New Product Experimentation) team's Metaverse experimental app section is getting a lot of attention. The corporation formed the department in mid-2019 to develop consumer-facing apps for testing new features and getting feedback. The predominantly Menlo Park-based business has tried a range of experiments over the years, from dating and calling applications to meme-makers, TikTok, Twitter, and Clubhouse competitors, to apps for couples. Now, NPE is putting a new hypothesis to the test: the next big idea could emerge from a global market.

To take advantage of this opportunity, the group recently opened an office in Lagos, Nigeria, and plans to create another in Asia soon. It's also changing its strategy to incorporate seed-stage investments in tiny, entrepreneurial businesses. A check for this purpose has already been written. NPE guided Meta's recent investment in an A.I.-powered developer platform for creating virtual characters. Future inspections may go to non-metaverse enterprises, such as startups using the mobile internet in innovative ways, to include those with more immediate potential.

Meta recognizes that many of today's universal experiences began in niche communities. Before it was accepted globally, WhatsApp, for example, surged in popularity in regions where SMS text messaging was not free. Meanwhile, the lack of legacy payment mechanisms in East Africa made certain mobile money innovations. Meta's NPE team is exploring outside Silicon Valley to guarantee it doesn't lose out on future possibilities like this. As part of this new strategy, the team will concentrate on markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, though it will continue to work on initiatives in the United States. Some of those, though, may appear different than in the past.

Rather than launching and quickly shuttering new social apps that fail to gain traction, NPE's current set of experiments includes a project that helps citizens in the United States re-enter society after being incarcerated, as well as another that assists families on the path to becoming parents. These are obviously more substantial than a TikTok clone. However, because of the enlarged focus to cover the global stage, NPE will be on the lookout for concepts that start small potentially even in underdeveloped markets but have the potential to scale.

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