Mikey Tom May 02, 2017
“[Virtual reality] is the frothiest space in the Valley right now. Nobody understands it but everyone wants in. Any idiot could walk into a f***ing room, utter the letters ‘V’ and ‘R’, and VCs would hurl bricks of cash at them."- Erlich Bachman
One of the PitchBook Plaftorm's features is Signals, which tracks a company’s Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and referring links. Through this tracking, users are able to see a calculation of a company's growth rate: the average weekly growth of a company's signals over the trailing eight weeks. PitchBook subscribers can use this analysis to get a breakdown of the fastest-growing companies in any sector.
Below is a handful of the leaders in VR and AR, based upon their PitchBook growth rates. In order to provide a more apples-to-apples comparison, we segmented the companies by the amount of VC funding they've raised:
In an event that brought the then-nascent VR/AR space to the forefront of tech conversations, social media giant Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014 in a deal worth up to $2.3 billion. Prior to the acquisition, Oculus had launched its headset on Kickstarter, where it raised $2.4 million in funding, about 10x its original goal. Since the acquisition, Facebook and Oculus have released the Oculus Rift, a VR headset, along with various support devices like hand-held controllers. Oculus has also collaborated with Samsung to develop the company’s Gear VR headset. Before its absorption by Facebook, Oculus had raised about $93 million in funding from firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital and Matrix Partners. A $75 million Series B just seven months before the acquisition valued the VR leader at $287 million.
Prior to being acquired by Apple in January 2016, FlyBy Media was a developer of technology that enabled mobile devices to process and map real-world environments. Although the company had primarily offered its tech to an outward-facing consumer audience, it is widely expected that Apple will now apply FlyBy's tech to its own growing VR/AR efforts. Before entering Apple's ownership, FlyBy Media had raised about $22 million in funding from firms including Chart Venture Partners and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.
Intel's corporate venture arm, Intel Capital, was already an investor in VOKE before the tech giant acquired the company in November. Founded in 2012, VOKE aims to bring the live sports experiences to VR via specially designed cameras that capture and stream live video. Fans can use the company's platform to switch between multiple time-synced vantage points at live events, effectively allowing them to view events from some of the best seats in the house without actually being there. Prior to its takeover, VOKE had raised funding from firms such as F50 and Nautilus Venture Partners; a $12.6 million round in March 2016 valued the company at $21 million. VOKE is now part of a division within Intel that's working on new ways to transmit sports content via VR and multi-camera replays.
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In a piece of related reading from our archives, check out our VR Analyst Report.
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