The first venture firm (we know of) solely focused on supporting early-stage VR and AR startups launches today. Managing partners at Presence Capital include Phil Chen (who started the HTC Vive project), Amitt Mahajan (who helped create FarmVille) and Paul Bragiel (the founder of three startups).
With $10 million to invest, they are aiming to be “the first money in” a number of mixed reality startups, Mahajan said. The goal behind the firm is to help launch very early startups and bring aid and support to developing ideas for the AR and VR industry. Many investors are waiting for consumer headsets to be released before deciding where to invest, according to Mahajan, but Presence Capital is aiming to get in before then and provide assistance on the path toward larger moves down the road.
“It’s about finding smart money that’s going to help you actually run your business,” Mahajan said.
Presence Capital already invested in several startups including VR animation studio Baobab, which recently raised $6 million, and Harmonix, which is partnering with Oculus for the creation of Rock Band VR. They also invested in an augmented reality company, Waygo, which translates text written in Chinese, Japanese or Korean into English — a bit like Word Lens, which was acquired by Google.
“VR is going to be a massive platform and AR is essentially going to be, you know, potentially the last platform ever if it actually holds up to its promise,” Mahajan said.