This week VR Observer is shining its spotlight on Austin, TX. The Live Music Capital of the World. Their motto is, “Keep Austin Weird”. If you haven’t been, put it on your list. Known for SXSW, the Longhorns, gourmet food trucks, Formula One, tacos and BBQ it is also home to a thriving VR scene. The cities massive growth and eclectic blend of musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs have helped make it one the country’s biggest startup scenes.
Without further adieu, here are the most interesting VR companies in Austin, TX:
In 2013, Virtuix raised $1.1M through Kickstarter to produce the Omni, the first of its kind active Virtual Reality Platform. VR is all about immersion and the Omni enhances the experience by allowing you to walk and run in first person games. Great exercise and fun to watch. Next time we are in Austin maybe we could take it for a spin?
2. Owlchemy Labs
Owlchemy believes that getting your hands into VR is the most important facet of a VR experience. They are the studio behind Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives. Job Simulator was just named one of the Top 10 games of 2016 by Gamasutra. They raised $5M in Series A funding from investors such as Qualcomm Ventures, The Venture Reality Fund, HTC, Colopl Next, and Capital Factory. They are at the center of the local gaming scene as an organizer for VR Austin. More to follow on that, keep reading.
We put Thrillbox on the list for what they represent; the services that will be needed as VR becomes more mainstream. Content creators will need to know how their content is performing. Ensuring the content is being consumed, and knowing by whom. Thrillbox is a distribution channel and a media analytics platform. Their distribution channel and tools are for content generators, advertising agencies, vendors, and networks. Their methods are platform and device agnostic which allows them to acquire, aggregate, and analyze audience behavior within immersive media like Virtual Reality.
4. The WaveVR
Bummed that your favorite band is touring in Europe and you can’t make it? The WaveVR team was and they decided to do something about it. The WaveVR is a platform for people who love music, enabling them to view, host, and socialize in shows worldwide – anytime, anywhere. Aaron Lemke, one of the co-founders had this to say, ““We want to build the connection between the artist and the fans.” They raised $2.5 million in a seed round of funding. Investors include Presence Capital and Rothenberg Ventures, both in San Francisco; RRE Ventures in New York; The VR Fund; and Seedcamp.
5. Unelllo Design
Unello Design is the brainchild of Aaron Lemke, also of The WaveVR, (#4 on our list). Unello Design is using Virtual Reality to enhance mindfulness and transcendence. Unello Design’s latest project Zen Zone is out now on Gear VR. The relaxation and guided meditation niche is gaining a lot of traction in VR, it will be interesting to see where it goes.
6. Bonus! VR Austin
So not a company, but it would be foolish to discuss VR in Austin and not mention VR Austin. They are a collective of VR developers in the central Texas area. VR Austin was co-organized by Alex Schwartz of Owlchemy Labs, Cy Wise of Owlchemy Labs, Robert Brackenridge of Game Factor-e, Autumn Rose Taylor of Phaser Lock Interactive and Patrick Curry of Curry Games. They meet twice a month and discuss everything VR and AR. Their next meeting is on January 24th, 2017 at the North Door, Austin TX.