One of the leading lights in the early days of immersive cinema and 360 film-making, Chris Milks has announced $12 in series A funding for his company Vrse, along with its new name – ‘Within’.
We reported earlier in the week that VR film pioneers Felix & Paul were celebrating $6.8M in funding to build their “Global VR Studio” and yesterday, another well respected and significant force in the immersive entertainment sphere ‘Vrse’ announced their own windfall, specifically over $12M in Series A funding, with involvement from 20th Century Fox. Oh and, they’re changing their name, from ‘Vrse’ to ‘Within‘.
Milk has had a creative hand in some of the most impressive immersive film experiences since it was founded by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin in 2014. Early 360 film projects like brilliantly realised fantasy Evolution of Verse and the powerful UN backed documentary Clouds over Sidra cemented their sister company Vrse.works’ and Milk’s position as creative leaders in the field, back before there was really a field to leaders in.
“In the past year, VR headsets finally reached the hands of the general public. The initial reaction — from the media, academics, and early adopters — was positively glowing,” Milk says, in a blog post marking the funding news, “But now we’re at the point in the technology adoption cycle where we’re starting to hear some naysaying reverberations in the echo chamber .”
Milk believes virtual reality to be “last medium”, which is one of the reasons he cites as inspiration for the re-brand, aside of course from the fact that no one could pronounce ‘Vrse’. “tying our brand to “virtual reality”, a phrase we may not even use in ten years, seems inadvisable,” writes Milk, “And at our heart, we’re about more than just a specific technology or buzzword — we’re about creating and sharing human experience. Technology is just a tool to get us there.”
Within’s funding along with Felix & Paul Studios’ are important to mark. They illustrate an important inflection point where a fledgling scene, kickstarted by enthusiasts in a wild west of the new, becomes a fledgling and legitimate industry in the eyes of the money men. We’re looking forward to finding out where these studios take immersive media next. As Chris Milk puts it “It’s been an amazing journey so far — and it’s only going to get better. We hope you’ll join us in moving beyond ‘once upon a time’ about ‘people over there’ — and start experiencing stories with ‘us, here, now.'”
Feature photo credit: Ted