Venice, California-based virtual reality (VR) startup Wevr has raised a $25 million round of funding from a number of investors including HTC, Samsung Ventures, Orange and others. The company aims to use the money to launch Transport, a new platform that aims to deliver cinematic VR experiences to a number of headsets as well as the web.
Transport is currently being tested with a limited number of users, offering free content from Wevr itself and select partners. Eventually, Wevr aims to also sell content through Transport, as well as explore other monetization models, including sponsored content.
For Wevr, announcing the fundraise and Tansport is a bit of a coming-out. The company is best known for producing its own VR experiences, including “TheBlu: Encounter,” which puts the viewer on the deck of a sunken ship and face-to-face with a giant whale, as well as “Gone,” a new serialized drama it worked on with Samsung and Skybound Entertainment.
But while Wevr has been cranking out content, it has also always had engineers working on the underlying technology, with the aim of eventually launching Platform, explained Wevr co-founder and CEO Neville Spiteri during an interview this week. “We are not just creators of content,” he said.
Transport will initially be very selecting about featuring content, with a focus on high-quality VR experiences, and possibly some exclusives, said Wevr co-founder and EVP Anthony Batt: “Exclusivity matters.”
But the platform also wants to distinguish itself from competitors by offering advanced technical capabilities. For “Gone,” Wevr has been experimenting with trigger points, which allow users to unlock additional content within the story. Transport will have similar capabilities, but Spiteri stressed that the goal is not to just host interactive stories. “It depends on the creators of the story,” he said. “It’s not like we have an agenda.”
Wevr currently has 50 employees, half of them working on Platform. Some of its other funders include Evolution Media Partners, Madison Wells Media, Digital Garage, AME Cloud Ventures, Boldstart Ventures, Scott McNealy and Ross Levinsohn.