VFX Vets' Virtual Reality Startup Pixvana Raises $6 Million

Company leaders include three-time VFX Oscar nominee Scott Squires and Microsoft alum Forest Key.
Courtesy of RexUSA

Pixvana, a Seattle-based virtual-reality technology startup, has announced a $6 million investment led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital and angel investors. It’s developing a cloud-based technology platform aimed at improving VR and augmented-reality applications.

The company is led by CEO Forest Key, a Lucasfilm alum whose product management background includes Microsoft's Silverlight and Adobe's Flash; CTO and creative director Scott Squires, a three-time VFX Oscar nominee (Dragonheart, The Mask, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace) and Sci-Tech Academy Award winner; chief product officer Bill Hensler, an alum of Apple, Adobe and Avid; and vp product management Sean Safreed, co-founder of film and video software company Red Giant.

Angel investors include former Microsoft Developer Tools division executive S. Somasegar and aQuantive co-founder Mike Galgon, both of whom will join the company’s board of directors.

“It is clear that just as in the early days of web video, which was hard for consumers to configure on their devices and often stuttery and unsatisfying to watch, VR video is facing similar challenges,” Key said, adding that he looks forward to addressing the issue.

“There is incredible momentum in the VR space, and it is clear that outstanding VR video will be a central pillar to the success of the medium, ” said Madrona Venture Group managing director Tim Porter. “It’s exciting to back the Pixvana team that has been at the forefront of the massive shifts we have already seen in the industry — from film to digital and from TV to web and mobile video."