Today Rothenberg Ventures has announced the launch of the first VR accelerator, ‘River’, created to jumpstart early-stage companies working on exciting virtual reality projects. To start, Rothenberg Ventures plans to invest $1 million across 10 companies, and they’re accepting applications starting today.
Rothenberg Ventures, a San Francisco, CA based venture capital firm, is putting their money where their mouth is. After telling us last month they were above and beyond ‘gung ho’ about investing in virtual reality, they’re now launching River, a VR accelerator that aims to help early-stage companies blossom in the rapidly expanding VR space. The company tells me that the name River comes from the sound of its own abbreviation mixed with that of virtual reality—RVVR.
Rothenberg Ventures is on the hunt for 10 VR companies to join River, into which it will invest $100,000 each. Think you’ve got the chops? The company is accepting open applications on the River website starting right now.
Mike Rothenberg, founder of Rothenberg Ventures, told me that the company “believes that virtual reality will affect every industry.” He sees an opportunity to be part of that disruption by helping early-stage VR companies succeed.
“…virtual reality has been in development for a quarter of a century, and we’re really grateful to pioneers that built that,” Rothenberg told me. “Yet we’re finally at the point where the hardware is powerful, the infrastructure is efficient, the latency is low… because all those things have converged, we’re now at the beginning of the next 10 years where the infrastructure, platforms, applications, and content will change the way that we live, change the way that we learn, change the way that we interact with our world, both online and offline.”
In addition to a key influx of cash, the 3-month River program will also offer acceleratees access to coworking space in Rothenberg Ventures’ 8,000 square foot office in the SOMA region of San Francisco.
Rothenberg Ventures has lined up more than 20 mentors who will interface with the River companies for advice on everything from best practices of VR to best practices of business. Mentors include a few faces you’ll know if you’re involved with the VR community—like Eric Romo, CEO of AltspaceVR; Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense; and Karl Krantz, Founder of SVVR—along with a number of well-credentialed folks from the wider techsphere—like Gentry Underwood, Head of Design at Dropbox; Sridhar Solur, General Manager at HP; and Maureen Fan, VP of Games at Zynga.
River will hold weekly meetings where the accelerator participants can interact with the mentors. Further, companies in the program will be part of a hands-on demo day at Rothenberg Ventures’ ‘Founder Field Day’ event at AT&T Park, and an SVVR demo day in May 2015.
Applications for the River accelerator are open through January 11th, and the program will run from February through April. We’ll be looking forward to seeing who joins up and where the program takes them.