Amid All The Noise In VR Hardware Space, This Startup Focusing On VR Content Quietly Raises $3 Million

The virtual reality (VR) space has been consistently in news from the time Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. In the last two years since that acquisition, we have seen several companies, especially smartphone and PC makers, coming up with their own virtual reality devices. While the battle for taking a lead in the VR hardware space has been heating up all this time, the interest shown by companies in the content side of the business has been relatively less. Barring for the video gaming and adult industry, there hasn’t been much talk about VR content elsewhere. However, this might change soon with the entry of startups like Spaces that are focusing on creating content solely for VR devices.

Founded in January 2016 by Shiraz Akmal and Brad Herman, both of whom worked on DreamWorks Animation’s early VR experiences till 2015, Spaces recently raised $3 million in an initial funding round led by Comcast Ventures. Other investors that participated in the funding round included  Boost VC, Canyon Creek Capital, Colopl VR Fund,  Gree Inc.,  Kai Huang,  The Venture Reality Fund, the Sinovation Fund, Youku Global Media Fund, and CRCM VC.

“Spaces has a compelling and clear vision to be the catalyst for companies looking to create VR and MxR experiences. Spaces is combining remarkable capabilities, tools and creativity to push the boundaries of the VR frontier,” Michael Yang, managing director of Comcast Ventures, said in a statement.

Gaining Traction

Although it has been only four months since it has been founded, Spaces is already working with companies like Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Big Blue Bubble and The Hettema Group to produce and create content for all types of VR and ‘mixed reality’ platforms. The platforms that the company  is targeting currently include Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens, Samsung Gear VR, PlayStation VR and Google Cardboard.

“Virtual reality spaces offer creative challenges we’ve never seen before: to build fully dimensional spaces in which viewers can completely interact,” Mr. Akmal, who serves as the CEO of Spaces, said in a statement released by the company. Spaces’ Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Herman, added, “In every respect, VR is creating new horizons, and we’re eager to help companies explore them.”

The Team

Apart from Mr. Akmal and M. Herman, Spaces currently has seven employees with experiences in various industries such as video games and filmmaking. Prior to founding Spaces, Mr. Herman was the head of DreamLab at DreamWorks Animation, where Mr. Akmal served as the head of business and product development. The executive creative director of Spaces, Dean Orion, has previously written for television and created interactive, location-based attractions for DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney Imagineering.

The company has also formed an advisory board, which consists of Dan Offner, attorney, angel investor and former general counsel for Oculus; Keith Boesky, former president of Eidos Interactive and the principal of Boesky & Company; and Indian film actor and entrepreneur Rana Daggubati.

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