It seems like $10 million may now be the going rate for investment into small but talented VR experience companies. HTC is investing $10 million into “WEVR, Inc.”while social VR startup Altspace raised a new $10 million investment round.
Venice, Calif.-based WEVR (pronounced like “weaver”) is best known for TheBlu, an underwater tour of sea life shown as one of the core demos on the HTC Vive. It features a giant whale getting up close on the bow of a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean. The company also worked on mind-bending experience The Virtual Brainload in association with Adult Swim and was one of the first to get an early HTC Vive prototype. The news comes from an HTC investment release. However, WEVR is not yet commenting on the news (nor are they denying it) after attempts to contact them on the phone and Twitter. Publicly-traded companies like HTC traditionally go quiet in the weeks before earnings calls and HTC is holding one on August 6, so it is possible WEVR is caught up in that must-not-comment situation. According to the release, the investment gives HTC 15 percent ownership of WEVR.
Meanwhile, the $10 million investment in Redwood City, Calif.-based social VR platform Altspace is reported by Variety and includes new investor Comcast taking a stake in the company. The biggest events for Altspace have seen 60 people share a space together. The company’s quickly evolving platform doesn’t require a VR headset to use and includes a robust web browser inside the experience allowing people to watch YouTube, check Twitter or use it in an unexpected way, like playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons. The investments in the companies further solidify the emerging VR market, suggesting a wider range of investors are accepting the idea that Oculus, Valve and others are going to find success for their headsets in the consumer marketplace and that now it is time to spend dollars on companies looking to create things for people to do inside VR.
With Oculus and Valve pivoting from developer kits to the consumer market in the coming months, these investments are probably just the beginning. While both Altspace and WEVR have created solid experiences, there are lots of other companies working on quality VR as well that are likely seeking investment dollars.
In March, WEVR announced a $1 million grant program to team up with other developers on VR projects while Altspace is hiring for a number of positions.