Virtual-Reality Startup Jaunt Raises $65 Million From Disney, Others

Jaunt, a startup developing what it dubs “cinematic” virtual-reality tech, has raised $65 million in Series C funding led by the Walt Disney Co., Evolution Media Partners and China Media Capital (CMC).

Variety last week reported that Jaunt’s latest round was north of $50 million. The funding, which brings Jaunt to approximately $100 million raised to date, marks the biggest single funding event for a VR company.

Jaunt said the new funding will let it scale up VR production and advance its professional-grade camera hardware and software production tools. In addition, Jaunt plans to use the funding to significantly grow its teams in both its Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters and its new L.A. studio.

The funding strengthens Jaunt’s Hollywood ties, and will give a boost to the fledgling VR industry. In addition to Disney, with its diverse film and TV holdings, Jaunt’s investors now include Evolution Media Partners, a partnership of CAA-backed Evolution Media Capital, TPG Growth and Participant Media.

Additional new investors in the Series C round include European media companies ProSiebenSat.1 SE and Axel Springer SE and the Madison Square Garden Co. They join existing participating investors that include Google Ventures, Highland Capital, Redpoint Ventures, U.K. satellite broadcaster Sky and SV Angel.

Disney has already worked with Jaunt: The Mouse House’s ABC News is using the startup’s production system to produce news dispatches in virtual reality, including a “Nightline” report on preserving antiquities in Damascus, Syria.

“This round further illustrates our commitment and dedication to advancing the scope of cinematic VR – for filmmakers, storytellers and audiences alike,” Jaunt CEO and co-founder Jens Christensen said. “With the support of these world-class companies, we will explore new avenues, building on our leadership position to deliver amazing VR experiences using best-in-class tools, technology and creative teams.”

Rick Hess, founder and co-managing partner of Evolution Media Partners, added, “Brands, artists and creatives are looking to reach and interact with their audiences in new innovative ways, and Jaunt’s expertise provides a groundbreaking medium for exploring these new avenues.”

Jaunt, founded in 2013, raised $27.8 million in second-round funding last summer. On the latest financing, Fenwick & West and the Raine Group served as advisers to Jaunt.

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