Oculus VR, the company behind the headset that inspired the famous Oculus Rift Internet Show, have become $75m richer in the push to polish off the consumer version of the Rift.
The injection dwarfs the total amount crowdfunded via the Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign that ran through September last year. The buzz around the Rift saw Oculus garner nearly 10 times their initial $250,000 goal thanks to $2,437,429 from 9,522 backers.
This latest round of funding comes not from players, but Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists and private equity investment firms with names like Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital, Matrix Partners and Formation 8.
Amid the noise of cash changing hands, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen will join the Oculus VR board of directors.
“Over the past 16 months, we’ve grown from a start-up to a company whose virtual reality headset is poised to change the way we play, work and communicate,” said Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe in a statement.
“40,000 developers and enthusiasts, as well as a number of great partners, have joined our cause and helped us bring the seemingly impossible to life. This additional infusion of capital, as well as the leadership and experience of Marc Andreessen, will help us take the final steps toward our ultimate goal: making virtual reality something consumers everywhere can enjoy.”
Oculus mustered $16m in June during a Series A round – the name given to a Silicon Valley-style startup’s first significant go at venture funding. Today’s many-times-greater cash boost represents Series B.
It would be easy to feel that the Kickstarter funds players stumped up just last year were a drop in a pool of melted-down gold – a PR push more than a plea for essential financial help. But at the time, Rift inventor Palmer Luckey told backers that the campaign would offer the company momentum, and allow Oculus to dramatically improve the Rift’s functionality through early developer feedback.
“The reason we’re using Kickstarter is so that we can get these dev kits in the hands of developers as fast as possible,” he said. “That way they can try it for themselves and start integrating support for games and engines. We really need developer feedback, so we can make the consumer version of this even more incredible.”
Evidently, that momentum has carried Oculus further and faster than even Luckey could have hoped. The consumer Rift is expected sometime next year as a device for PC and Android. Will you be forking out for one?