VR fever is in full swing this spring: Jaunt, which says it’s building the first cinematic virtual-reality experience, announced $6.8 million in venture funding from investors including British Sky Broadcasting, Redpoint Ventures, SV Angel, Dolby Laboratories chairman Peter Gotcher and Sling Media co-founder Blake Krikorian.
News comes after Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR last week, all serve as proof points that VR is real and is happening sooner than anyone imagined. Among other developments, Sony last month announced Project Morpheus, a VR headset for PlayStation consoles.
Jaunt’s cinematic VR system provides a “completely immersive, 360-degree 3D video and audio experience” for movies or TV shows, according to the startup. Viewers can look around in any direction with the system, controlling the entertainment experience. Jaunt’s system captures video using algorithms and computational photography, and it lets directors and videographers create cinematic VR experiences using the same editing and production software they already use, according to the company.
“VR as it exists today is mainly about videogames. We want to broaden the VR experience to mainstream entertainment,” Jaunt CEO Jens Christensen said in announcing the funding. Previously, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures and founder and CEO of Ellerdale, an artificial-intelligence startup developing real-time semantic analysis.
A Jaunt rep said the company is in discussion with studios and other creative partners but “we don’t have any we can discuss publicly at this time.” The Palo Alto, Calif., based company, founded in 2013, has eight employees.
“Our customers tell us they love having the richest and most immersive TV experience possible, which is why we are so excited about the supporting Jaunt and its ground-breaking video capture technology,” Stuart Murphy, director of entertainment channels at Sky, said in a statement.
As a part of the funding round, Gotcher, Murphy and Redpoint Ventures partner Tim Haley will join Jaunt’s board.
In addition, Jaunt announced that its advisers include Babak Parviz, creator of Google Glass; IMAX chairman Brad Wechsler; director Mark Romanek (“Never Let Me Go”); and Bernd Girod, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University.