Music and visual art creation VR startup TheWaveVR just wrapped a $6 million Series A round, and when all was said and done, it seemed appropriate for the team to actually sign the term sheet with their lead investor inside virtual reality.
The round, led by RRE Ventures, brings the startup’s total funding to $10 million. Upfront Ventures, KPCB, GC VR Gaming Tracker Fund and The VR Fund also participated in the raise.
The whole gist of the startup is that it’s one big futuristic music festival that never sleeps inside virtual reality. DJs can craft a set onstage and users can teleport around a giant “outdoor” venue while watching light shows that blow up the sky night-after-night.
The Austin-based company had a huge opportunity recently at SXSW, where it hosted one of the largest promo events for Stephen Spielberg’s Ready Player One film, a massive virtual reality concert straight out of the movie, filled with Warner Brothers IP and featuring a live DJ set led by the film’s star, Tye Sheridan.
At a time when many VR startups are still trying to live up to the sky-high expectations that films like Ready Player One have set, TheWaveVR remains one of the few that takes on those expectations and still manages to dazzle, delivering an experience that feels distinctly futuristic while drenching users in souped-up visuals that intertwine the emotion and connectedness of social VR with music that’s actively being created within the app.
The challenge for the startup will likely be growing their product in a way that stays true to the core mission while chasing a larger presence inside an already tight, niche community. The company’s “Wave Builder” feature allows users to bring in 3D models, animations and made-in-VR content to create visual experiences that can accompany the musical performances inside the app.
“We spent last year nailing down the format for these fully interactive concerts and proved people love our experience; this year we’re focused on how that content gets created and shared,” CEO Adam Arrigo said in a release.
The team is maintaining a lean existence as it aims to keep enough cash on hand to weather another few years in the growth phase of VR. While the startup’s seed round came at a time where a host of virtual reality companies were seeming to get funded every other day, slower-than-expected headset sales have made investor cash a bit harder to come by in 2018.
Arrigo seems optimistic that the timelines are finally starting to grow more solid, and that already announced standalone products from companies like Oculus and HTC will begin to broaden appeal and shape VR into something more friendly and accessible.
In the meantime, it’s business as usual, which for TheWaveVR means hanging out with flying cats and raving to EDM light shows.