IMVU, Inc., 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. IMVU members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create, and play games. IMVU has over 3 million active users and currently has the largest virtual goods catalog of more than 30 million items. The business is located in Mountain View, California, and has 120 full-time employees. It is also known as one of the leading practitioners of the lean startup approach.
The company name is neither an acronym nor an initialism. IMVU co-founder Eric Ries 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".
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.