Reported by various news outlets and later confirmed in the latest Oculus Kickstarter update, it seems Oculus have received a substantial financial shot in the arm from two Venture Capitalist firms.
$16M R&D Dollars
In what must come as little surprise to those that have followed Oculus VR’s meteoric rise over the last 12 months, Oculus just got all corporate on us. CEO of Oculus VR Brendan Iribe has announced that they’ve finalised their first round of funding and chosen 2 VC firms to join with them to help build the future of Virtual Reality gaming.
Spark Capital and Matrix Partners are the two willing investors, and a representative from each firm now form a new upper echelon of management at Oculus VR. As Iribe put it, whilst talking to The Verge “I have a boss now, I guess.”
Clearly concious that it’s hard-won indie credentials may be lost, Iribe is quick to point out that Oculus VR’s mission has not been altered, quite the reverse. Iribe insists this new money is quite simply “R&D Dollars” to enable the company to recruit and grow where required.
It does seem that Oculus VR have had a firm hand on the steering wheel throughout the process. In the latest Kickstarter update from Oculus, Palmer Luckey states:
We were fortunate enough to be able to pick investors who we thought would be a great fit. They really believe in our vision for the future of VR. These are people who have taken companies from startup to mass market many times, entrepreneurs who have a ton of meaningful experience building hardware and software consumer technology.
It’s great news for Oculus, it’s employees and, ultimately, it’s customers and fans. The technical problems yet to be solved that currently stand in the way of the fabled Consumer Edition of the Oculus Rift are tough. With any luck, this new money will give Oculus the space it needs to solve these problems without compromising their vision for a first rate VR experience.
Iribe Speaks to Forbes
In an interview with Forbes magazine, Iribe details estimations on how the funding will manifest itself at Oculus:
We don’t have an exact number nailed down. We are around 30 now, and we have about 35 jobs on our careers page, so you can see we’ll be ramping up pretty quickly. They are almost entirely engineering – is almost entirely engineers and developers. That sprawls across multiple different skill set: there are software developers, hardware developers… We are going to start to scale up the developer relations side, and technical support. Now that we have over 10,000 developers with kits in their hands and at least another 10,000 more to ship, we want to make sure that people generate the best content they can.
Matrix Partners Blog about the Oculus VR Venture
Antonio Rodriguez from Matrix Partners, who clearly has his geek credentials firmly in place, posted a grounded and interesting take on the new venture. References to cult VR literature notwithstanding, Antonio clearly understands the challenges that await the Oculus team:
Finally, let’s not kid ourselves: though we are in the business of investing in the future, it is rare to see a team that seems to have jumped directly out of the pages of “Snowcrash” or “Ready Player One.” When Oculus’ CEO, Brendan Iribe, first brought the demo over to our office, it was one of those moments that inspire a mix of deja vu (because you’ve read about concepts like this so many times before) with a sense of wonder about just how much of science fiction is possible today. It might be rough around the edges right now, and the team has loads of work ahead of it before the Rift can go mass market, but to be so wholly transported to another place by such an immersive piece of technology, we immediately knew that this is a piece of the future we wanted to support. We are enormously excited about Oculus VR and can’t wait for everyone to experience what it’s like when virtual reality reaches its potential.
About: Spark Capital
Formed 8 years ago, Spark have been been a major player in the technology and online field. Big name investments in their portfolio include Twitter, FourSquare and Tumblr. From their CrunchBase profile:
Founded eight years ago, Spark Capital is a leading venture capital firm focused on early stage startups. Spark’s portfolio includes companies such as Twitter, Tumblr (acq Yahoo!), Foursquare, AdMeld (acq Google), Warby Parker, OMGPOP (acq Zynga), ThePlatform (acq Comcast), and 5Min (acq AOL).
With offices in Boston and New York, Spark invests across the globe and across stages, from a $250k active partner at a seed stage, to $25m to establish category leadership.
Spark’s tight-knit group of partners focuses on a number of areas including: advertising & monetization, commerce & services, cloud & infrastructure, social, mobile and content.
About: Matrix Partners
An elder statesman in comparison to Spark, the company was formed back in 1977 and now focusses on investing in technology, online and mobile communications startups from seed. heir CrunchBase profile reads:
Matrix Partners is a US based private equity investment firm focusing on venture capital investments. The firm invests in seed and early stage companies in the software, communications, semiconductors, data storage, Internet and wireless sectors.
Matrix Partners has offices in Waltham, MA, Palo Alto, CA, Mumbai, India and Beijing, China.
Read more: http://www.crunchbase.com/financial-organization/matrix-partners#ixzz2Wbgx30Tx
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