Sure, there is still plenty of debate and cautious optimism surrounding the future of virtual reality. But if you’re looking for a sign that the medium is poised for a takeoff, just follow the money.
In the last three months alone, tens of millions of dollars have been invested into virtual reality companies worldwide. The latest to receive an injection is NextVR — which secured $80 million in Series B financing to expand its global footprint, with a particular focus on Asian markets.
NextVR specializes in capturing live entertainment and creating VR experiences out of events like concerts, sports and other live shows, such as the U.S. Open and Masters Tournament, the Kentucky Derby, the Daytona 500 and International Champions Cup. The company also recently partnered with Live Nation to be the official VR media partner of upcoming musical performances.
The new investment round is intended to help NextVR develop its own virtual reality platform while expanding international operations, according to a company media statement.
New investors include CITIC Goan Information Industry Co. Ltd., NetEase, Chinese Media Capital (CMC) Holdings, SoftBank, VMS Investments Group, Founder H Fund, China Assets (Holdings) Limited and Spectrum 28. The round also included all of the investors from NextVR’s Series A round, which pulled in $30.5 million in November of 2015: Formation Group, Time Warner Investments, Comcast Ventures, Stephen Ross’s RSE Ventures, Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber, The Madison Square Garden Co., and Dick Clark Productions.
“Having the support of Asia’s biggest players provides us with significant resources for creating and distributing both local and international content in China, Korea, and Japan,” said Brad Allen, NextVR’s executive chairman, in a statement.
NextVR is just one of many companies to land some serious financial backers lately.
In May, Spaces, a VR startup owned by former Dreamworks VR innovators Shiraz Akmal and Brad Herman secured $3 million in initial funding from Comcast Ventures, followed by a $30 million investment from performing arts company Songcheng Performance Development Co. Ltd. and live-streaming video site 6Rooms to bring its VR technology to Songcheng’s theme parks in China.
Montreal firm Felix & Paul received $6.8 million (also from Comcast) in June, and Within (the company formerly known as Vrse), received an injection of $12.56 million thanks to a funding round led by VC firm Andreessen Horowitz just days later.
Then there’s VR juggernaut Jaunt, which received an undisclosed amount of funding from Shanghai Media Group and CMC to establish a joint VR venture in China. CMC had previously invested $65 million into Jaunt in 2015.