4:30am PT by Carolyn Giardina
The Virtual Reality Company Raises $23 Million; Steven Spielberg's VR Production in the Works
The Virtual Reality Company — the VR production company that created Fox’s The Martian VR Experience — revealed that it has raised nearly $23 million in a new round of investment made by Hengxin Mobile Business Co., a Beijing-based mobile services and technology provider, securing for VRC a platform for the distribution of its content in China.
The new funding will be used for current and upcoming projects, including an "original family-oriented VR program" that's being created with VRC adviser and shareholder Steven Spielberg.
On the distribution portion of the deal, VRC CEO Guy Primus told The Hollywood Reporter, "They are building a online portal for VR content. With this agreement, they will be our key VR distributor in China. ... China is growing more rapidly on the content side than in the U.S."
VRC is managed by founders Primus and two-time Academy Award-winning production designer and Maleficent director Robert Stromberg, who serves as chief creative officer. Co-founder Chris Edwards is additionally founder of VRC’s sister company, previz studio The Third Floor.
Stromberg — who directed The Martian VR project and is working on additional VR productions including a feature-length experience — sees growing momentum in VR. “Leaders across a number of industries, who months ago dismissed VR as a passing fad, are racing to participate in this rapidly evolving landscape,” he said.
With the new funding, VRC has now raised a total of $25 million. Investors include Metallica lead singer James Hetfield, Rothenberg Ventures, and Elementum Ventures.
VRC recently teamed up with D-Box, the maker of high-fidelity motion systems, on several projects including a feature-length action-adventure virtual reality experience, which is currently scheduled for release in 2017.