By Evan DeSimone
Tel Aviv-based WakingApp, which provides tools for streamlining the creation of virtual reality and augmented reality content, announced today that it has raised $4.3 million in series C funding in a round led by Chinese game developer Youzu Interactive.
Youzu joins previous investors Inimiti VC and Globis Capital in supporting the round. Youzu has considerable holdings in both entertainment and online gaming sectors, where virtual and augmented reality content are likely to play a significant role. Youzu’s investment director Daniel Chen Fan is extremely bullish on the VR and AR space, saying in a statement, “For some time now, we have been seeking to invest in AR/VR technology, as it is on the verge of influencing every aspect of our lives. It is an industry that is projecting 13,000% growth in three years and revenues of $150 billion in five years.”
The anticipated mainstreaming of virtual reality, which most experts anticipate is somewhere between six months and five years away, has triggered an influx of capital into the virtual content space. Virtual reality hardware has moved rapidly toward mainstream availability over the last few years both in terms of usability and affordability, but content, and the platforms to support it, haven’t entirely kept pace.
Youzu is one of a number of media entities investing heavily in the virtual content space. The NBA recently partnered with NextVR to experiment with delivering professional basketball games to fans in immersive formats. Virtual startup 8i was able to capture $18.5 million in seed funding for technology that would bring more human faces to the VR space. Meanwhile, both Google and CAA have invested in a virtual content shop JauntVR in hopes of crafting both the technology and content that will propel virtual into the mainstream. Depsite substantial investment, the rules of creating virtual reality entertainment are still largely undefined.