Pixar-esque Penrose Studios Raises $eight.5M, VR’s largest seed spherical
When a brand new medium arises, so too do new manufacturers hoping to stake a declare on the frontier. Penrose Studios needs to be the Pixar of VR, telling heartfelt tales in immersive worlds. And now it has the cash to rent the perfect expertise and develop its personal in-VR creation instruments.
In the present day Penrose Studios introduced it’s raised an $eight.5 million seed spherical led by Speed up-IT Ventures, and joined by TransLink Capital, eight Angel, Suffolk Fairness, and a number of other angels.
Penrose was based by Eugene Chung, previously of Pixar itself and the primary head of Oculus Studios, the VR big’s cinematic content material manufacturing arm. Alongside together with his staff beforehand at Oculus, Disney Google, and DreamWorks, Chung plans to construct new applied sciences to make VR tales interactive. He tells me whereas there are many concepts for VR content material, it was his ace workforce that attracted the large seed spherical from AITV, a primary-time enterprise fund.
Penrose’s works are already out there on the Samsung Gear VR, and can come to Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR upon launch. Penrose launched its first VR movie “The Rose And I” final yr, that includes a “Little Prince”-impressed take a look at a boy dwelling on his personal tiny planet the place he befriends a sentient flower. Viewers might wander all over the world and even peek down right into a gap in its floor the place the boy hides. With out phrases, the trepidation, vulnerability, and curiosity of the story come via vividly.
At Sundance, Penrose launched a preview of “Allumette”, which can premier at Tribeca Movie Pageant. Audiences comply with the story of a lonely little woman who sells magical matchsticks in a city floating within the clouds. By making the characters and settings tiny, the viewer seems like an invincible big, with no fear about leaning in near the motion.
“The characters are conduits to those worlds we need to create” Chung tells me. He believes it’s their identities and designs that may make individuals fall in love with digital actuality, not simply the novelty of the attitude.
Whereas gaming has acquired a lot of the fanfare round VR, cinematic experiences like these Penrose makes might attraction to a a lot wider demographic, just like the Pixar movies loved by youngsters and fogeys alike. Penrose might use its newfound money to safe the most effective story tellers and construct a reputation for itself earlier than extra studios emerge.
If VR really is the subsequent massive computing platform, that first-to-market place might pay dividends for years. Pixar did it with pc-rendered 3D animation on the silver display. Now Penrose might do it on the preliminary wave of VR headsets.