While VR has shown consumers a great deal of what’s possible when it comes to immersive experiences, the world of potential that VR opens to advertisers has not been explored so heavily,
Immersv, a mobile 360 VR ad network, wants to use the strengths of VR to improve mobile advertising, not only on headset but smartphones as well. For now, the startup is focusing on pre-roll and interstitial video ads but is looking at ways to interject immersive experiences into the regular web pages users scroll through.
“Mobile video has become very much a commodity,” Immersv CEO Mihir Shah told TechCrunch. “We strongly believe that the current platforms are under-innovating and under-performing.”
Today, the startup announced that it has closed a $10.5 million Series A led by Rogers Venture Partners with investment also coming from Foundation Capital, The Venture Reality Fund, Initial Capital, East Ventures, HTC Vive, MCJ Co. Ltd., GREE, i-mobile, Metaps, and Gigi Levy.
Shah, who formerly led mobile AR startup Flyby Media, which Apple acquired last year, believes that spatial, immersive advertising has a bright future even as VR headset sales turn more sluggish than analysts hoped. “We were far more bullish on VR growth than what actually happened,” he tells me.
So far, the company is pleased with what the numbers are showing for its first several 360 campaigns. Across its network, Immersv ad click-throughs are at 5% while view-throughs are at a whopping 85 percent, Shah tells me. For Shah, the company’s early success speaks volumes for the future of ads on VR, AR and the mobile platforms users are already on.
Shah wants this funding to take the startup to new markets like Asia over the next year, while also doubling the team of 15 to take on more challenges as it scales its product offerings. In Q4, the company will be releasing a mobile AR optimized product that should take advantage of new platforms like Apple’s ARKit.
“We have a very real opportunity to replace the existing ad network,” Shah tells me. “We’re super pumped.”