top of page

Meet Simone Clow
Co-Founder of Zebrar 

After a long international career in visual effects for television and film, Simone Clow co-founded Australia’s award-winning creative technology company Zebrar in 2017. She and her team merge art and technology to create immersive, interactive experiences that elevate global brands (IBM, Disney, Salesforce, Meta, Accenture) and captivate audiences. As CEO of Zebrar, Simone is at the cutting edge of global tech. She speaks on panels, podcasts and events about the power of immersive technology including XR and Metaverse. A founding member of the Australian Metaverse Advisory Council and named as one of the Trailblazing Women Making a Footprint in Business 2023 by Fortune Times Magazine, she loves creating purposeful experiences that add value in a transformative industry. A mother of two who loves boxing and travel, Simone has a personal life evolution story as powerful as her business and technology.

  • LinkedIn

Innovating Reality: A Journey into the Metaverse and Beyond with Simone

In a dynamic conversation with Simone, we explore her transformative journey from advertising and visual effects to becoming a pioneer in immersive technology. From her must-follows in the industry to her bold predictions for the future of the Metaverse, Simone shares insights that redefine the boundaries of reality.

Simone, can you share with us who are your must follows in the industry to stay up to date?

"I follow Cathy Hackl and Amy Webb"

What resources were pivotal in starting your career in crypto?

"Creative Technology is actually my second career. After a long career in advertising and visual effects in London and New York (Saturday Night Live, HBO), I was managing a Sydney VFX studio, working on VFX shots for feature film Hacksaw Ridge. The job and team I’d built were fantastic but I felt my use-by date as a woman in the production industry was closing in. Determined to control my own exit, I left my job for a year producing experiential content for motor shows around the world and found my purpose and a great second act in unexpected circumstances. A virtual reality team I worked with convinced me to don a VR headset in 2016 which I thought was for young gamers and it transformed my thinking and created a new business. I’d spent my career building CG worlds for 2D screens but now saw the potential of users immersing themselves in the worlds and interacting with content. Fuelled by a new perspective and passion, I co-founded Virtual Immersive (later Zebrar) with younger brave partners who went into business with a woman (aka me) who had decades of production expertise, exceptional logistics skills and zero tech knowledge. Our intention was to work in VR, but our first project was world first AR technology for a project in Sydney for Lunar New Year that won awards and received international attention. There were not really resources for what we were doing at that time - we were inventing the tech as we went. My resources where my business partners."

Everyone's talking about Web3. What’s your bold take on its future?

"I am a metaverse expert, not a web 3 expert, so my answer will be metaverse specific based on the widely accepted understanding that Web 3.0 is the decentralized next version of the internet that leverages blockchain technology, aiming to provide a more secure, transparent, and user-centric online experience. 

As a founding member of the Australian Metaverse Advisory Council, we define Metaverse as 'a network of immersive experiences that merge digital and physical realities; enabled by technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and AI. It represents the next generation of the internet, offering new avenues for social connection, entertainment, economic, collaborative and creative activity. 

While I am not confident of the word ‘Metaverse’ surviving, the underlying technologies will absolutely continue to evolve to create the next generation of the internet. The concept of merging the real and virtual worlds is central to the Metaverse, utilizing spatial computing by leveraging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence to seamlessly integrate digital and physical elements, allowing users to interact in real-time. My predication is that metaverse will become an integral part of daily life. Consumed via smart glasses, it will revolutionize how we work, play, and connect.

I am not a fan of Meta’s concept of Metaverse as ‘the next evolution in social connection’ unless there is value and purpose - for example to people who are geographically isolated, those housebound (injury/disability/introverted/immobile etc); people who are living in towns or communities where they are marginalized (eg a transgender person living in a small town where they are not understood or supported);Town Halls or team building events for companies who have workers geographically dispersed; Bringing people together to share cultural stories; Providing socialization opportunities for our aging population who are immobile. To name a few...there are many use cases here (including the obvious - games). So while there is certainly an element of social connection to Metaverse, my interest is the value and purpose it provides to business, which will further evolve as smart glasses hit mass adoption.

A few examples of how businesses can leverage Metaverse technology today are:

  • Brands: Create immersive experiences that enable people to interact and engage with your brand.

  • Personalization: Provide a genuine personal connection with your customers in areas such as retail, banking, insurance, government, airlines etc.

  • Training/Learning: Leverage the Metaverse for faster proficiency, reduced onboarding time, improved customer service, enhanced workplace safety, decreased turnover, cost-effective operations, and an efficient means of quickly imparting organizational culture.

  • Digital Twins: Building digital replicas of physical environments allows for real-time data processing, leading to improved operational efficiency, cost savings, better decision-making, risk mitigation, and increased innovation.

  • Industries: Such as: mining, manufacturing, healthcare, aerospace, banking, smart cities, and energy stand to benefit significantly. Immersive Wellness: Metaverse technologies enable immersive, accessible, and personalized experiences for mental health support, physical fitness, stress reduction, and community engagement, fostering holistic well-being. With an ageing population we can help reduce issues related to boredom in the elderly through immersive experiences.

  • Tourism: One of my favorite use cases for AR - bringing history to life (Picture yourself standing amidst the ruins of Pompeii, witnessing it as a vibrant active city, or standing at The Rocks and observing Sydney Harbour in Indigenous times) By building virtual replicas of historical sites, artifacts, and artworks, we can also allow people to explore and experience cultural treasures that may be inaccessible or at risk in the physical world.

  • Entertainment: We are at an exciting moment in time where the intersection between film and games is growing, providing amazing opportunities for audiences to participate and engage with the characters and story, rather than passively watch. We will see more cross genre collaboration in the arts as this intersection grows, and increased opportunity for immersive interactive storytelling.

  • Healthcare: So many use cases in diagnostics, treatments, and therapy. Remote Maintenance and Support: Enhance efficiency in remote maintenance and support services through augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) technologies. Rural Education: Overcome geographical barriers in education by combining the benefits of small community education with digitally accessible immersive teaching on a broader scale through the Metaverse.

You've been involved in some amazing projects. Is there one that stands out for you?

"While it is not a Web 3 project - as it is not on chain - the project I want to highlight is a multiplayer, immersive, real-time activation that showcases the future of live entertainment.

At Zebrar, we developed a gamified mobile application to revolutionize audience engagement during the Metaverse of Magic live show (produced by Jones Entertainment) that travelled through Australia and the Middle East (with plans for a more extensive international run).

The objective was to empower the audience, allowing them to influence the unfolding stage experience and elevate immersion by breaking the fourth wall.

Challenge: To create a seamless integration of technology and art that not only captivated the audience but also provided an interactive and gamified element to enhance the overall show experience.

Solution: We introduced a gamified mobile app that assigned each participating audience member to a team. At four strategic moments in the show, content was pushed to their personal devices, presenting tasks that required completion to advance the lead character in both the show and the game. Points were allocated both individually and as a team, creating a competitive yet collaborative atmosphere.

Results: The interactive and immersive experience created by successfully merged technology and art, resulting in a truly magical show. The audience's ability to control aspects of the unfolding stage experience, coupled with the competitive team dynamics, showcased the potential of transmedia entertainment in captivating and involving audiences, pushing the boundaries of traditional show formats."

What excites you the most about working in the Web3 space?

"There is so much potential for innovation and democratization! Decentralization (a shift from centralized control of the internet, where a few large companies hold significant power over data and user experiences, to a decentralized model) Enhanced Security and Privacy: ( blockchain = improved security and privacy features). Interoperability: (your purchases, achievements, assets etc work across different platforms, enabling new forms of collaboration) New Business Models: (prioritizing user participation, contribution, interaction and reward - moving away from the ad-based models that dominate the current internet landscape)."


What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of working in Web3, and how do you navigate these challenges?

"Building a business around new technology is difficult and expensive. There is a lot of educating required of clients to get projects over the line which takes time. Developing new technology is expensive as there is an R&D component to most projects which, as a business, we need to absorb. We navigate these challenges by being part of a collaborative community that shares knowledge. Additional challenges at the moment are: Interoperability is still a long way away. The regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other blockchain-based assets is still evolving."

What advice would you give to other women aspiring to enter and make an impact in the AI or Web3 industry?


"I started my journey in this industry about to turn 50 with zero tech knowledge, 7 years later not only do I have a successful business, but I am talking about technology at events such as SXSW. If I can do it, anyone can. Join a community, attend events, follow thought leaders on Linkedin, find a mentor, ask questions and ask for help... there are so many of us who want to help other women rise!"

Simone's story exemplifies the power of innovation and resilience in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of technology. As she continues to push boundaries and inspire others, her journey serves as a beacon of hope and empowerment for aspiring entrepreneurs and technologists, especially women, looking to make their mark in the AI and Web3 industry.

bottom of page