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VR Startup Within Hires Former Disney, Zynga Execs

Within — the VR content and tech startup formerly known as Vrse — has hired former Disney exec Kevin Garrett Monroe as VP of legal and business affairs and Michael Cibula, formerly with game developer Zynga, to lead business development and finance.

The hires by the L.A.-based company, co-founded by VR filmmaker Chris Milk, come after it announced $12.56 million in Series A funding from 21st Century Fox, Andreessen Horowitz, Raine Ventures, WME, Live Nation, Vice Media, Tribeca Enterprises, Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Elisabeth Murdoch’s Freelands Ventures. It also changed its name to “Within” to reflect a broader focus.

“Kevin is extremely well-versed in entertainment law, guiding company growth and all aspects of the film business,” Within COO Drew Larner, the ex-CEO of Rdio who joined the company last fall, said in announcing their hires. “Michael brings tenacity and business development expertise to the world of VR and immersive technology. Their talents complement our mission to deliver extraordinary stories to people everywhere.”

Over the past 15 years, Monroe has served as a senior business affairs and legal executive for several media companies, including Walt Disney Motion Pictures, Universal’s Focus Features, Oddlot Entertainment, FilmDistrict and Overture Films. He previously worked at law firm Greenberg Glusker, where he represented media, entertainment and celebrity-owned businesses. Monroe began his legal career at Latham & Watkins in corporate finance and M&A work.

Cibula was formerly senior director of business development at Zynga focused on distribution and content licensing. He also had biz dev roles at Electronic Arts’ digital business unit, Disney’s Pixar, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Cibula started his career in media and entertainment as an equity research analyst at investment firm Robertson Stephens.

Within has launched VR apps for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR headsets, as well as for iOS and Android. The company also publishes videos on its own website as well as via partner apps and sites.

A separate company, Here Be Dragons (formerly Vrse.works), founded by Chris Milk and Patrick Milling Smith, has produced content in conjunction with the New York Times, Vice Media, the United Nations and Spike Jonze.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Within (formerly Vrse) had produced VR content in conjunction with the New York Times, Vice Media, the United Nations and Spike Jonze; in fact, those productions came from VR studio Here Be Dragons (formerly Vrse.works).

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