After years of record-breaking venture funding in the virtual reality industry, we wondered if 2016 would continue on its torrid pace. The numbers are starting to roll in, as reported in the new Fall edition of the 2016 Virtual Reality Industry Report, researched and published by Greenlight Insights and Road to VR.

Mega deals in VR venture funding have been the story of 2016. A diverse set of companies made up the largest venture deals of the year. This year, MindMaze ($100M) and NextVR ($80M) have raised two of the largest single venture rounds we’ve ever seen. Moreover, the top ten deals make up a whopping $396M, with several massive rounds at the top end:

2016-large-investment-deals-1Excluded from the analysis of more than 150 venture deals in the 2016 Virtual Reality Industry Report are large deals in adjacent technology industries, such as Magic Leap’s $793.5M Series C (February 2016), which Greenlight Insights counts as an augmented reality deal, and Unity’s $181M Series C (July 2016), which is primarily a game engine. But even without counting these outliers, 2016 will end as a record-breaking year for VR investments.

“This year will shatter funding records. The number of deals and actual dollar value is up significantly year-over-year,” says Greenlight Insights’ Senior Vice President, Steve Marshall. “As for next year, we expect to see more breakout deals as the first wave of innovation matures.”

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NextVR Raises $80 Million with an Eye on International Expansion

However, despite the vigorous funding environment throughout much of this year, Greenlight Insights still considers the virtual reality industry to be very much in its first wave of innovation, with much of the action still at the early stages and many potential success stories still waiting to be written.

The complete analysis of 2016’s VR venture funding, and everything else you need to know about VR this year, is available in the newly updated 92-page 2016 Virtual Reality Industry Report, which includes new market revenue and hardware shipment forecasts; for a limited time you can use the special code ROADTOVR to save $500.

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  • Well, I know lots of littler companies that would need little investments to take on interesting VR projects… great rounds are great, but they help only a little number of companies, where now an ecosystem has to be started (ehm, someone invest in us of Immotionar, please! :D)

  • Sponge Bob

    I am wondering when we see the first patent court fight in VR space…

    All those megafunded companies are filing patents like craze and most of their patents (applications for now) are invalid from the get-go

    Take a look for example at the Vive patent application for their “chaperon” system:

    https://patents.google.com/patent/US20160124502A1/en

    We claim:
    1. A method for warning a user of a head-mounted display of potential collisions with real- world obstacles, comprising the steps of:
    defining the location of said obstacles relative to a reference point;
    continually monitoring the location of said user relative to said reference point;
    performing a first detection to determine when the distance between said location of said user relative to the location of one of said obstacles is smaller than a predetermined alarm threshold; and
    in response to said first detection, displaying a visual alarm on said head-mounted display to provide an indication to said user of a potential collision with one of said obstacles.

    Any smart 12 years old would come up with the same solution

    Do those people at Valve Corporation have any shame at all ?

    • DiGiCT Ltd

      All those patent peiople should feel ashame on themselves, you invent something to make peoples lives better, but in this world it seems they only want to better themselves.

      • Sponge Bob

        Wrong answer

        There is nothing wrong with patents if they actually promote technical progress – disclose some new and unobvious technical solution to a difficult problem, something that other people can look at and say – gee, this is original and so clever !

        We live in a capitalistic society where true R&D advances should not be free (as in beer) to all the free runners out there – there would be no incentive to do any R&D otherwise

        I would say that Valve’s “lighthouse” tracking system may qualify for being patent worthy (if no “prior art” exists anywhere which I doubt)
        As opposed to Rift’s camera based tracking which is obvious to anyone, at least in its very basic implementation

        Valve’s “Chaperon” patent (application for now) is a complete bunch of obvious bs – obvious to any engineering student.

        • DiGiCT Ltd

          Patents are in many cases just description of an invention, without being anything made, just waiting for someone to use the patent in a final product to gain money out of it.
          I dont see the progress as most product designers dont want to pay high fees for something that is patented.
          In most cases they would even prefer to go around patent, resulting in a lesser quality product in most cases.
          If you really look into patents, you will see there is a lot of nonsense been patented.
          I dont see any progress for humankind in this.
          However i could agree that a company that invents something would be the only one making it for a certain amount of years, but eventually it needs to go to the public domain.
          Patents are just a bunch of bureaucratic BS nothing more then that IMO.
          You cant just claim rights on an idea without making any product out of it, stupidest invention in human history is patents for sure.
          I can you an example of someone who has a company in China had a patent on IPAD, although it had nothing to do with the apple ipad, apple still needed to pay them millions just because they sold their IPAD device in China, and then again this company did not manufacture anything that would be related to IPAD, they just had the patent for it in China.
          However this company was nearly bankrupt so they just decided to go to court for the IPAD patent in China lol.
          Seriuosly patents are big BS.

          • Sponge Bob

            You obviously don’t understand what Founding Fathers had in mind when they established US patent system which served this country so well for over 200 years…
            You are not alone – some government officials (including current USPTO director) are just like you – anti-patent (but for a different reason – they are bought and paid for by Google & Co.)
            Sad…
            BTW, you can’t have a “patent on IPAD” – IPAD is an agglomeration of hundreds of distinct technological innovations, many of them patented by Apple or someone else
            Such a “patent on IPAD” would most likely be invalid to begin with for being too broad, or at the very least it would not give you any rights to manufacture ipads cause you would still have to license the rest of the patented tech inside ipad to make it work

            And this is what VR is gradually becoming – a mind-boggling mess of many distinct technological innovations – from hi-res displays to gpu computing to computer vision algos to camera sensors to low latency rf communication to who knows what else ?
            And all those things are covered by tens of thousands of patents,
            even the most obvious ones like Valve’s “chaperon” system

            But you are right, at present US patent system is a big BS and I have little hope that it’s going to be fixed in the near future

          • DiGiCT Ltd

            Yeah Trump is going to fix that too hahaha.
            Welcome to disneyland rofl.
            Patents reason is simply money, nothing else.
            It is for greed purposes.

            Gunpowder was also invented by a chinese monk to make it easier to get stone out of mountains instead of digging it out.
            However now its used to kill people.
            Get the point ?
            Patent are really not needed in this time anymore.
            If you invent something you can make a product out of it and sell it to the market.
            If people really think that it is awesome or useful, they will buy it because they believe in the result or makes them happy.
            For others to “copy” your invention will take a while before they have a product on the market like that.
            Still people will know what is the original and what came second.
            If others can copy your idea fast, that means only that your invention was not that difficult at all, if it is, it would take years to replicate it.
            Apple is again a great example, i goes down a lot now as their new ideas are not that good anymore, filling the logic as their inventor past away.
            Steve Jobs made Apple, all the other working there are just remote hands.
            A real inventor is a very special person, they can make changes and are in a way artists too.
            A similar system is the one in music and film industry, claiming millions for rights os a song or movie.
            In human history many people performed songs and plays, because they loved to entertain people and make them happy.
            Now they do it for money, so they can go around in glamour, and that for just some stupid song in which they are mostly just the singer even not the creator.
            The results are the same, just a lot of money focus releases, not good at all, but rather an illusion.

            At the end ll those things comes all back in a way to oculus closed platform with exclusives.

          • Sponge Bob

            Dude, you are really funny

            Are you one of those hardcore Apple fans ??

            Steve Jobs an inventor ?

            Jobs was just an under-educated poser with some vision (and a big a$$hole too), he didn’t even write code, he owes his success to the creativity and knowledge of the people he employed and exploited, people like Wozniak

            Jobs patents ? Bu-ha-ha

            For quality tech patents try something else – like some early Bell Labs patents or early Qualcomm patents, NOT so called “Jobs patent” (I remember reading one – a complete obvious non-technical BS)

            And BTW, greed is good, greed is the engine of this society.
            It just needs to be regulated by the government to maximize the benefits and minimize the downsides
            Why do you think all those VCs are pouring money into VR space right now ? Because they see lots of $$$$$ in the near future, not because they want “to make the world a better place”

          • DiGiCT Ltd

            No I am not an apple fan at all, although i have many of their products for development purposes.
            Yes, vision is the key, you can be an exelent coder or engineer, but it does not let you sell anything.
            Without STeve Jobs they would never had anything in their live as a simple paid job.
            Leaders in business mostly dont know how to make the product, rather they know what it should be and force people to make it for them in return for salary.
            Same for Investors, they have no idea what you do and how, they only see you results are going to make money or not.
            And its all based on a gamble at the end.
            Greed is no good, and a government cant control it as there is no central government. There are so many countries you just can go to do what you want in business.
            But all those things are going far away from the topic patent.
            I am a business owner and i dont share your opinion (at least most of it)
            I am not greedy but rather make the products as i think they should be, so people will like them.
            The result for me is simple, i have a good life cant complain, and nearly non of my customers left for another one, rather they ask for more instead of less.
            I have no clue about your background, but yeah everyone has its own ones ofcourse but it does not mean we always agree on each other right ;-)

  • Augure

    Ubergizmo, it’d be good to discuss the actual other side of the projection http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/05/weak-demand-for-vr-ar-concerns/

    Kool-Aid auto-persuasion of success in a domain as never helped anyone, company or investors.