Within, the Los Angeles-based VR startup headed by director Chris Milk, has hired former Discovery Digital GM Colin Decker as its new COO. In his new role, Decker wants to help Within launch new revenue-generating projects in 2018.
Most recently, Decker served as COO for the anime streaming service Crunchyroll, where he helped to grow the service’s audience from 750,000 to over one million paying subscribers. Before that, Decker worked as SVP and GM of Discovery Digital Networks.
Decker told Variety during an interview this week that he felt an instant affinity with the Within team after meeting them last year. “It was a no-brainer,” he said.
Decker said that he had been following VR for some time beginning with the launch of what eventually became Discovery VR at Discovery Digital. “I’m a fan, I watched it really closely,” he said, adding: “There is no question that VR will have a transformative effect on society.”
Within was co-founded by renowned music video director Chris Milk and former Googler Aaron Koblin and has raised some $56.6 million from investors including Temasek, Emerson Collective, WPP, Macro Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, 21st Century Fox and Raine Ventures.
Turning VR content production into a viable business has been challenging for some startups, given that the adoption of headsets has been significantly below projections from analysts. Just this week, fellow cinematic VR studio Future Lighthouse announced that it was closing its doors.
But Decker said that if he had learned anything from his time at Crunchyroll, which slowly and methodically grew its business over many years, then it would be that it is important to stay the course. “It takes a while, and you have to be committed,” he said. “History will reward the disciplined and the faithful.”