SideQuest is leveling up from an initial $650K investment last year to a $3 million seed round as its founders look to build tools to aid VR developers.
The sideloading platform launched in 2019 two days after Oculus Quest release and, now, SideQuest sees more than one million monthly active users, according to husband-and-wife founders Shane Harris and Orla Harris.
While Facebook implemented a strict console-like curation policy for Quest content on the Oculus Store, SideQuest immediately offered VR developers a route to list any VR software publicly for people to try out on Facebook’s headset. In the process, SideQuest made it super easy for adventurous Quest owners to test experimental software long before Facebook officially supported that kind of distribution with its App Lab system.
The VR headset market is poised for change as competitors seem to be ramping up efforts for more portable and powerful VR headsets and the widely supported OpenXR standard is expected to make it easier for developers to build VR apps that run on a wide range of hardware. With its pre-seed money last year, SideQuest representatives said the funding would help them build a testing service and other tools to help VR developers. SideQuest can accelerate and expand plans now with the additional $3 million coming from investment round leaders PROfounders and participation from Ada Ventures, Connect Ventures, Ascension, SCNE as well as several strategic angel investors.
“As the ecosystem opens up and more hardware enters the space we hope to help developers port to more platforms,” Orla Harris told UploadVR.
Games like Puzzling Places, Hyper Dash, and Cubism have used SideQuest to get feedback about their in-development software, effectively using the platform as a springboard to move toward store release on various platforms. Earlier this year, SideQuest released an Android app which enabled sideloading onto Quest without the need for a PC.
“This raise gives us the runway needed to focus on driving more engagement in our communities, more support for developers and more innovation in VR. We are excited to be able to provide discovery and community for the next generation of content creators,” Shane Harris told UploadVR. “We are excited to focus our energies on building tools and services to help developers target multiple platforms with OpenXR whilst leveraging the SideQuest community to grow their audience.”