Penrose Studios today announced that it has raised the largest institutional seed funding round the augmented and virtual reality industries have ever seen, bringing in a total of $8.5 million for the AR/VR storytelling outfit.
Penrose founder and CEO Eugene Chung said the funding round signals that AR and VR investment has become mainstream, which in turn confirms the arrival of a new creative medium.
"Not too long ago, VR seemed to be a far-away technology that only early adopters knew and had experienced," Chung said. "Fast forward to today. Film festivals are recognizing VR as a new art form and major conferences such as CES, GDC and SxSW (to name a few) are bringing VR to the mainstream. There are also major media companies embracing the new medium for content, whether it's traditional media, such as The New York Times, or Fox Sports--which will stream March Madness this month with NextVR."
In addition to the funding, Penrose announced that NextVR executive chairman Brad Allen would join the company as a strategic advisor.
The seed funding was led by Accelerate-IT Ventures, with additional funds from TransLink Capital, Suffolk Equity, 8 Angel, and multiple angel investors. Chung said the money would be used to recruit engineers and artists, invest in new tech and VR creation tools, and finish up its second VR film, Allumette. Penrose's first VR film, The Rose and I, will be on display at Valve's booth during next week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.