The Wave is a virtual reality music visualization and creation platform aimed initially at DJs. The young company’s three founders are: Adam Arrigo (formerly of Harmonix), Clarke Nordhauser (AKA Grimecraft) and Aaron Lemke (a seasoned virtual reality developer) and today the trio is announcing that The Wave has closed a $2.5 million dollar seed round of investment.
Even in Silicon Valley terms, a $2.5 million seed round is nothing to sneeze at. Investors in the round include: KPCB Edge, Presence Capital, Rothenberg Ventures, RRE Ventures, The VR Fund, Seedcamp and angels including Mike Fischer (ex-CEO Square Enix North America), Joe Kraus (of GV, formerly Google Ventures) and Luma Launch.
Looking ahead, The Wave is next scheduled to appear at this week’s VRLA Summer Expo where it will be throwing the world’s first silent VR rave in association with Subpac. I had the chance to connect with Arrigo, The Wave‘s CEO, to discuss the fundraising process and what this cash means for the future of the platform.
UploadVR: How did you go about raising this initial round? What do you think it is about The Wave that convinced your investors to contribute?
Arrigo: Our goal for funding was to get buy-in for our vision of this “musical metaverse” and to build a demo that not only demonstrated that vision, but blew people away. We wanted to make something that caused people to take off the headset and say, “I’ve never experienced anything like that.” We worked really hard to build something with a high level of experiential polish that supported our vision for the business model.
We were surprised to find several of our investors, including Anjney from KPCB, were musicians themselves, and were extremely passionate about the vision.
Generating a ton of excitement in the music community also helped. Skrillex’s blog, DJ Tech Tools, and others reached out to us after our first public performance, as well as several artists themselves. So it was a major point of validation that musicians and fans alike reached out saying “I want this.”
We were lucky to have several early supporters in the VR community that helped drive momentum in the round: Tipatat Chennavasin and Marco DeMiroz from The VR Fund were extremely supportive, as well as Boost VC, Presence Capital, Rothenberg, Ryan Wang from Outpost, and more. Really cool how tight the VR community is – even as it quickly expands.
UploadVR: Where will this first round of funding be spent/what does the immediate future hold for The Wave?
Arrigo: We raised $2.5M to expand the team and build the world’s first interactive music concert platform. After we began showing the first demo of the experience, we generated interest from not only members in the tech and VR community, but also musicians and the music industry at large. Artists are always looking for new ways to reach their fans, and in electronic music especially, technology can be this empowering force from both a revenue and creative standpoint. So our goal as a company is to use these resources to best serve both artists and their fans.
UploadVR: What does the long term future hold for The Wave?
Arigo: We want to build the musical metaverse – a place where artists and music lovers can go to experience music in a totally new dimension.
We think VR is going to be an immensely transformative milestone for music – on par with the phonograph, the Internet, etc.
The ability to bring people into the same space to perform and socialize around music, regardless of their physical location, is going to fundamentally change how we conceptualize what live music is. TheWaveVR lets me put on a headset and in seconds have access to multiple live music experiences that let me interact with music – and with my friends – in new ways. It both democratizes access to this content and affords the creation of totally new interactive experiences that can only occur in VR.
UploadVR: Will you be raising any further rounds after this or relying on software sales for revenue from here on out?
Arrigo: Right now we’re staying laser focused on creating the best experience for our users. We really value engagement over everything else, so our number one priority is creating something our users love. The extent to which additional funding or monetization supports that will come into focus on the coming months as we go to market.
UploadVR: Does this news change the release date / feature set/ or overall product vision for The Wave?
Arrigo: The vision hasn’t changed, but the depth and execution will certainly benefit from funding. We built this initial version totally bootstrapped, mostly part-time employees. We’re incredibly excited and grateful to now have the resources to do this for real.
For a full breakdown on the story behind the wave check out our previous feature about the company.