Nomadic VR, a Marin County startup developing entertainment experiences that blend virtual and tactile reality, on Monday said it landed $6 million in seed funding to hire staff and launch the platform at venues starting next year.
The San Rafael-based company emerged from stealth mode March 28–30, displaying its prototype at the CinemaCon trade show in Las Vegas. This round of funding is led by Horizons Ventures, with participation Maveron, Presence Capital, Vulcan Capital and Verus International. This financing will support Nomadic's continued team growth, further development of its technology platform, and preparation for global expansion, the company said.
"There's currently a huge opportunity for out-of-home location-based VR," said Doug Griffin, CEO of Nomadic, in the announcement. "With the expertise and global reach of our funding partners, we have the support and resources to forge a new entertainment category, and a new medium for interactive storytelling."
Partnering with top gaming and film studios to create custom out-of-home VR focused content, Nomadic adventures deliver exceptional, high quality experiences that enable the virtual to feel real. Nomadic draws from the founding team's history in the film, gaming, set design and motion capture sectors to marry physical components to narrative, storytelling content.
Nomadic has created a modular set of components that includes all the equipment, infrastructure, technology and content for tactile VR attractions at venues such as cinemas, malls, resorts, airports, casinos and theme parks.
The system includes design of a physical set with props and "gamifying" them with narrative VR content. The installations are said to be designed to be easily reconfigured and updated with fresh content.
"We're coming to market as retailers are searching for a new, experiential way to entice consumers back into brick-and-mortar locations," said Kalon Gutierrez, head of growth. "With the support of our funding partners, we're providing existing venues with a turnkey solution to offer exciting, ever-changing tactile VR adventures that keep customers returning for more."
Phil Chen of Horizons Ventures called the reception of Nomadic's proof of concept "phenomenal."
"Their 'kit of parts' model gives commercial spaces a mechanism to add value and foot traffic to their locations, while offering consumers a top-of-the-line VR experience," he said. "We're excited to support the efforts of this team, who has the background and expertise to drive the location-based VR sector."
Nomadic's founders come from the film, gaming, brand and retail industries. Griffin has a background in technology, gaming and visual effects and claims contributions to movie franchises such as "Star Wars," "The Mummy" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." He managed two startups in media and entertainment.
Rick Schulze is creative director. According to IMDB.com, he was associate visual effects director on "The Matrix: Revolutions" and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." The latter of which was nominated for an Academy Award for best physical effects.
Leading the physical set and prop design of the experiences is Head of Physical Production John Duncan. He is said to have worked on "Star Wars," "Star Trek" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
Head of Growth Kalon Gutierrez is said to have led marketing, business development and retail expansion for brands and retailers including Ralph Lauren, Bixbee, ZoomSystems, JC Penney, Sephora, Fox and Sony Picture Studios.
Nomadic plans to launch its first in-market experience by the first quarter of 2018.
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