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Company typeprivate
IndustrySocial network
Founded2004; 20 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 virtual world and social networking site. IMVU was founded in 2004 and was originally backed by venture investors Menlo Ventures, AllegisCyber Capital, Justin Greene, Bridgescale Partners, and Best Buy Capital.[3][4] IMVU members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create, and play games.[5] In 2014, IMVU had approximately six million active players,[4] and had the largest virtual goods catalog[6] of more than 6 million items as of 2011.[4] The business was previously located in Mountain View, California.[7] It was known as one of the leading practitioners of the lean startup approach.[8]

The company name was neither an acronym nor an initialism. IMVU co-founder Eric Ries[9] 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", though he did note the name was originally used because the IM aspect invoked instant messaging, something the company wanted to be associated with.[10]


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 can also be attained through IMVU gift cards available from retail outlets, as well as completing surveys and the game's daily spin, where a player can win either an item or an amount of credits.

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.[11] In early 2021, the developers of the game made it possible for players to gift credits, hinting of a possible business addition to the game in the future.


  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. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2014-09-19. I think the thing I love the most about IMVU is…((cite web)): 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. ^ "IMVU Inc - Company Profile and News". Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ Eric Ries, Co-Founder and IMVU Board Observer Archived 2018-05-02 at the Wayback Machine IMVU. Retrieved: 2013-05-25.
  10. ^ "Inspiring women in Technology: Audrea Mills (Author of The Lean Startup)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  11. ^ "IMVU". IMVU. Retrieved 2011-11-13.

Further reading

See also