The creators of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset have raised an additional $75 million in funding from investors to finalize the creation of their VR platform and ecosystem. The funding for the Series B funding comes from angel investor Andreessen Horowitz, with significant additional investment from Series A investors Spark Capital, Matrix Partners and Formation|8.
The journey for the Oculus Rift so far, over the last year or so, has been an incredibly successful one. In June this year, Oculus VR announced it had raised $16 million in funding and prior to that, the Irvine, California based company raised more than $2.4 million through a Kickstarter campaign. This funding had allowed the company to give a wide release of the developers kit, which saw many developers push their innovation to the limits.
"Over the past 16 months, we've grown from a start-up to a company whose virtual reality headset is poised to change the way we play, work and communicate," said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus VR, in a statement. "40,000 developers and enthusiasts, as well as a number of great partners, have joined our cause and helped us bring the seemingly impossible to life. This additional infusion of capital, as well as the leadership and experience of Marc Andreessen, will help us take the final steps toward our ultimate goal: making virtual reality something consumers everywhere can enjoy."
Mark Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, said, Oculus "will not only alter the gaming landscape but will redefine fundamental human experiences in areas like film, education, architecture and design." Andreessen will join Oculus VR's board of directors as part of the funding.
"The games industry is well past the point where more pixels, texels, flops, and frames displayed on the same fixed screens are really changing the experiences that players get," said John Carmack, CTO of Oculus VR. "I could say the same about other digital experiences as well. What will revolutionize gaming, and interactive content in general, is putting people inside the digital world. That is our goal at Oculus, and this Series B will help us get there."
In an interview with The Verge, Iribe said the $75 million investment is crucial in bringing Oculus VR's headset to consumers at large.
"We always knew we needed a B round to get to the consumer market at volume. We didn't know the scale we needed for V1 until recently," Iribe says.
Developers have had access to Oculus Rift kits for the better part of a year and Oculus has been testing 1080p and 4K versions of the headset. A consumer version said to be "months, not years" away, is currently in development, but making the hardware at volume has been an ongoing challenge for the company.
Despite the many challenges however, the VR headset has been inspiring for both the entertainment and marketing industry as we have seen with various developments that have popped up over the last 12 months, such as the Virtuix treadmill and Toyota’s Corollacade. Already, this technology is changing how we are conceptualising interactive entertainment and how it can be applied in the everyday.
Watch this space for more updates on the consumer version of the Oculus Rift.
News via the DNA Association