Virtual reality tech startup Jaunt has hired a new Chief Financial Officer — Fabrice Cantou, who has been tapped for his background in accelerating growth for technology start-ups. He will report into Jaunt’s recently-appointed president and CEO, George Kliavkoff, according to a release.
“As we look to 2017, and the tremendous growth opportunity for Jaunt in the global VR market, having Fabrice on board will be invaluable. I look forward to working hand-in-hand as we embark on this pivotal year,” Kliavkoff said on the hire.
With over two decades spent inside international tech and media companies, Cantou formerly served as CFO for video platform Dailymotion, and saw it through not one, but two, major acquisitions — the first with French telco Orange and the latter with international media company, Vivendi.
In the event that Jaunt decides to ramp up its scale in order to be well positioned for acquisition, Cantou’s background fits nicely.
His experience with international businesses will also be an added bonus for Jaunt given the market adoption to VR in international markets, particularly those in Asia. As part of Jaunt’s global management team, Cantou “offers in-depth experience and world-class leadership skills, a perfect complement to our innovative management team,” added Kliavkoff.
In 2016, over 1.4 million virtual reality headsets were shipped worldwide, and with software projected to reach over $24.5 billion in market size within the next 4 years, according to Statista.
However, many of the early startups that raised significant early stage or Series A have struggled to reach benchmarks that clear an easy Series B. One such company, Vrideo, folded operations in the Fall, roughly 18 months after its initial raise.
While the device numbers above indicate a strong growth trajectory for the overall industry, the blind spot in the story is whether the premium programmers will find enough revenue or traction to sustain for the long haul in a somewhat nascient industry.
Jaunt is one of the early market entrants to produce high quality virtual reality entertainment. It has numerous deals with the various divisions within Disney and announced “Invisible”, a premium series for Samsung VR in conjunction with Conde Nast and directed by Doug Liman that premiered in early Winter 2016. It has also been a leader in driving innovation with Google and Playstation so that premium Jaunt content can be more readily accessible to consumers.
With over $100 million raised in venture capital to date, Jaunt is in a position to try to beat the odds that other premium VR producers haven’t.