Rothenberg Ventures Opens Digital Actuality Accelerator Providing 10 Startups $100K And A Clubhouse
“2015 would be the yr of digital actuality” says investor Mike Rothenberg. However fragmentation within the nascent business means VR hardware, software program, and content material startups have to staff up for demos. So Rothenberg Ventures as we speak launched a VR accelerator referred to as River to offer a shared workplace and $one hundred,000 investments to 10 startups.
The 2-yr-previous fund that’s ranked amongst the highest performing VCs has additionally assembled a powerful array of mentors from Dropbox, Zynga, Mozilla, and VR pioneers like Sixense and AltSpace for the River accelerator. “We noticed there’s an enormous want to convey a group area and mentorship to VR as a result of it hasn’t but hit mainstream however it’s about to” says Rothenberg. “By getting them in the identical room, we will transfer the business ahead.”
Rothenberg hasn’t finalized the phrases of the accelerator’s investments however tells me he’ll look to Y Combinator’s mannequin for steerage, implying the startups might have to surrender a large 7% of their fairness to hitch. Purposes are open now by way of January with rolling interviews, and the category shall be picked by the start of February.
“It’s taken 25 years for the VR items to return collectively” Rothenberg tells me. At 28, the Stanford and Harvard enterprise faculty grad began his personal $5 million early stage fund. By buddying as much as founders typically nearer to his age than different VCs, and promising palms-on assist, his fund has shortly constructed a budding portfolio that features 3D VR picture seize startup Matterport and VR browser AltSpace.
Rothenberg Ventures River VR accelerator’s shared workplace area
From these investments within the business, Rothenberg discovered “The hardware is lastly right here. Low latency head monitoring, excessive display decision, the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. It’s shopper prepared” he tells me. Now it’s time to construct some actual companies in digital actuality.
The issue is that numerous founders within the area are higher with the tech than the trials of operating an organization. The accelerator and its mentors might assist. The verticalized mannequin has labored for PCH’s Freeway 1 hardware accelerator, and Y Combinator has discovered lots of advantages from retaining startups in shut proximity.
Rothenberg Ventures staff
There’ll nonetheless be room to breathe, although, as Rothenberg has a strong eight,000 sq. workplace in SF’s SOMA district that the River accelerator’s portfolio will share. Rothenberg hopes the bodily area will “act as a magnet for our mentors”, to allow them to assist the startups with every part from enterprise improvement to design.
Aside, it’s robust to point out off their know-how. However portfolio corporations like a headset maker, a VR app retailer, and a recreation might collaborate to reveal what they’ve created
Rothenberg River’s mentors will add to the connective tissue, and embrace heavy hitters from throughout the tech and VR business. There’s Mailbox founder and Dropbox head of design Gentry Underwood, Zynga VP of Video games Maureen Fan, Leap Movement Founder and CTO David Holz, and Mafia Wars founder and serial entrepreneur Roger Dickey. On the VR aspect, mentors embrace Sixense VR distant controller founder and CEO Amir Rubin, Mozilla VR researcher Joshua Carpenter, SVVR meetup chief Karl Krantz, plus founders from Matterport and AltSpace.
In Might, River’s startups will get their very own Demo Day of types, presenting reside demos at Rothenberg Ventures’ “Founders Area Day” occasion on the AT&T Park baseball subject in San Francisco. If this system goes properly, there’ll be second River class assembled down the road.
Whereas Rothenberg says this subsequent yr is a large one for VR, he believes “the subsequent decade will probably be huge for VR too”. The tech may conjure fictional worlds earlier than our eyes, however it’s about to have a really factual influence on the world.