Cinematic VR group Jaunt seems to have kept on growing in the past few years, but it may have just suffered its first setback.
Fast Company is reporting that Jens Christensen, CEO of the studio known for its 360 degree videos, is stepping down. This was later confirmed by a release and a company spokesperson that explained that Christensen thought the company would be – in the site’s words – “better served” by a replacement that would help it grow, and that reaching the objectives laid out for it was “a job for someone else”. It’s not thought that the CEO was unpopular within the team in any way, as we’ve never seen any previous signs of trouble from the company.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jaunt’s output and presence within the VR scene has grown at an alarming rate over the past few years, gaining $100 million in funding with the help of companies such as Disney. It’s expanded its team with new studios and even built its own VR camera, making it a big player within the 360 degree sector, though it admittedly now faces stiff competition from both other content makers and new camera rigs.
It wasn’t too long ago that Jaunt debuted its first 360 video, featuring a performance from Paul McCartney, and now a few years on the company is prepping a full VR documentary starring the surviving Beatle. It also has its own app for HMDs such as Gear VR where plenty of filmmakers choose to post their own 360 degree content, while its own projects have also expanded to include documentaries and more. Again, though, Samsung’s own Milk VR has provided competition to the app and continues to grow in significance.
In other words, we’re quite surprised to see Christensen go. CTO Arthur van Hoff will serve as interim CEO while the search for a permanent replacement gets underway. We’re not yet sure what’s next for Christensen; will he stay in VR? It’s certainly a strange time to get out of the industry.