amazeVR, a virtual reality concert platform that allows users to experience the virtual reality shows of their favorite artists through content generation tools, today announced that it has secured $15 million, which was surpassed in three weeks.
Partner investment and Murex partners co-led the new financing, with participation from Smilegate Investment, Quantum Ventures Korea, ABC partners, Everrich Group, GS Group’s corporate venture capital firm GS Futures, We Ventures, Base Investment and Dunamu&Partners; and previous backers Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, Partners Investment and Timewise Investment.
AmazeVR has raised a total of $30.8 million since its inception in 2015 and plans to raise a Series B in early 2022 to fuel its rapid growth, the company said. AmazeVR co-CEO Ernest Lee told Ploonge that the startup would use the new capital to hire additional staff. AmazeVR started 2021 with 12 employees, but now the company has tripled its staff in Hollywood and Seoul with 41 employees, Lee noted.
“We were able to attract the best talent in the [music, entertainment, tech and gaming] industries we touch,” Lee said. “This puts us in an ideal position to take full advantage of VR and the growing popularity of the metaverse as we deliver breathtaking VR shows from top artists, first to theaters and then to homes in Worldwide.”
In the wake of social media, fans have unprecedented access to their favorite artists but are still separated by a screen. AmazeVR’s VR shows take the fan across the screen to come face to face with their favorite artists to create a human connection, said Lee. Users would team up as avatars, hang out with other users, and experience VR shows together.
“Our goal is for the technology to be so good that it becomes invisible so that the fan’s memory is not that of a great VR experience, but that they actually come face to face with their favorite artists in fantastic immersive environments, blurring the lines. reality,” Lee said in an interview with Ploonge.
Based in Los Angeles with an office in Seoul, AmazeVR was founded by JB Lee, Steve Lee, Jeremy Nam and Steven Koo, all former executives of the South Korean messaging app. Kakao. After Kakao’s stock market debut, the four co-founders, who wanted to try again to build a company with global impact, uprooted their lives in Seoul and moved to Silicon Valley to develop the future in VR.
Lee said AmazeVR has been developing VR technologies since 2015 and fully turned to VR shows in late 2019.
The company believed in the need for a more immersive music experience through VR shows even before the pandemic; however, the music industry felt somewhat aloof and skeptical, largely due to concern over the cannibalization of live shows, its most lucrative revenue stream, Lee said.
More recently, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated market adoption, allowing AmazeVR to quickly find the product’s market fit. As the music industry has also become more open to new technologies, people have started to realize that VR shows are not live shows but a new category of entertainment, Lee continued.
“The music industry must undergo a paradigm shift, and many companies have been trying to innovate the next big thing. The pandemic has only accelerated this change as we’ve seen a lot of efforts, from live streams to virtual concerts and Fortnite shows,” Lee told Ploonge. “All these other solutions only provide incremental value from what already exists, and no other solution really captures the value of coverage for fans – a human connection.”
AmazeVR is launching its first commercial virtual reality show with 3X Grammy winner Megan Thee Stallion to tour select AMC theaters in the US this spring. Lee told Ploonge that the company has already secured its second artist, a top-tier global artist, and finalizing the third artist. Their first VR concert tour comes from years of research and development, resulting in proprietary 9K cameras and software that can automate complex concert visual effects (VFX) modules based on unreal engines and run over 100 headphones at once. time. The startup plans to scale its content creation, releasing new VR shows weekly through 2024 for moviegoers and at home.
“You really need to experience our VR shows to get a full sense of how impactful they are. VR can finally explode the entire 2D experience. Thanks to our technology, we can evoke a real sense of presence that you can’t get on a canvas, the feeling that your favorite artist is right here, face to face with you,” Lee said. “It opens up a whole new dimension for music. , one of the first new ways for artists and fans to connect since recordings appeared. We are excited that investors are understanding this and supporting us as we innovate and grow.”