Inception’s ambitions to become the ‘Netflix of VR’ have just received a major boost, with the Tel Aviv-based company closing a $15 million Series A funding round led by media and broadcast giant RTL Group. Launched in October 2016, the Inception app is accessible on leading mobile VR platforms, as well as the Rift and Vive, while PSVR support is ‘coming soon’.
Having collaborated with the likes of Time Out magazine and online music broadcasting platform Boiler Room to produce original VR content, and more recently making The Dalí Museum’s virtual exhibit Dreams of Dalí accessible in the app, as well as launching a VR music channel with Pitchfork, Inception has quickly gained recognition for its innovative productions.
The company prides itself on its ‘Born for VR’ content, where every feature is “conceptualized, designed and filmed with VR in mind”. Inception claim to have a “best-in-class” app, with proprietary streaming technology that uses spatial audio streaming, adaptive bitrate streaming, and optimised cube projection, along with smart analytics so creators can see how their content is performing.
The $15 million investment will help the platform expand its content catalogue, and accelerate growth, the company says. The press release, posted on the Inception website, states that the company will provide “Virtual Reality programming, creative, and distribution capabilities to RTL Group with its unique combination of a next generation content network, innovative technology in the areas of interactivity and user experience, as well as content creation expertise.”
RTL Group, Europe’s largest broadcaster with a global presence in 59 television channels and 31 radio stations, and the leading European media company for online video, will hold a minority stake of 15% in the company. Leading investors including James Packer, Gigi Levy-Weiss, and iAngels also participated in the Series A funding round.
“VR is an incredible new entertainment medium and a fantastic opportunity for brands and talents to tell their stories and engage their audience as never before”, said Benny Arbel, Inception’s CEO. “Our unique combination of great technology and content will make VR more accessible and enjoyable for audiences around the world. Together, RTL Group and Inception can play a key role in shaping that experience by combining our expertise in content creation, episodic storytelling, and immersive technology to take audiences to the next level.”
“Virtual Reality is a new medium for content and creative ideas, which are at the heart of what we do”, said Christos Schizas, Vice President Business Development and Group Synergies at RTL Group. “That’s why it is only natural to explore ways of augmenting our total video universe with this new medium. We see clear potential for synergies with our existing portfolio of content production, multi-platform networks and advertising solutions. Inception’s experience and entrepreneurial spirit will match perfectly with our tradition and capabilities.”