Penrose Studios nabs $10M because the startup continues to create a few of VR’s most stunning tales – TechCrunch


It’s been an fascinating previous few years for the digital actuality trade and whereas there may be nonetheless loads for insiders to pin their hopes on in 2018, it’s no secret that issues have been progressing a bit slower than extra bullish events would have hoped for. But for all of what potential nonetheless stays unfulfilled, it appears truthful to say that storytellers are nonetheless simply as entranced (and sometimes bewildered) by the ability of the totally immersive medium.

Penrose Studios has been one of many extra shining stars within the narrative-based VR content material house. Their work has drawn simple comparisons to Pixar’s and their efforts have appeared to affect different studios within the house as nicely.

The VR studio introduced in the present day that they’ve closed a $10 million spherical of Sequence A funding led by TransLink Capital. Additionally collaborating within the spherical had been Marc Benioff, Will.i.am, Korea Telecom and Co-Made with returning funding from Sway Ventures, 8VC and Suffolk Fairness.

Whereas some competing venture-backed digital actuality content material studios could also be focusing their efforts on creating streamlined processes to construct quick and low cost tales, Penrose seems to be extra squarely targeted on reaching its artistic visions in the beginning.

The corporate’s newest main undertaking, Arden’s Wake, is without doubt one of the extra charming VR brief movies I’ve seen thus far. The formidable half-hour animated function pairs a tightly scoped storyline with a extremely polished design that’s whimsical and pleasant in a manner few different studios have managed to determine. The startup started growth of Arden’s Wake 18 months in the past, sharing the completed product, which options voice performing from Alicia Vikander, at the latest Tribeca Movie Competition.

The movie actually looks like an costly endeavor, and whereas CEO Eugene Chung didn’t speak numbers, he additionally didn’t affirm whether or not the startup can be charging customers to obtain the movie and consider on dwelling VR gadgets. The corporate’s earlier releases, “Allumette” and “The Rose and I,” are presently supplied as free downloads on main VR platforms.

Total headset numbers are nonetheless pretty low nevertheless, and for venture-backed startups on this house I might think about that there’s a robust need to attend till there’s a extra sizable viewers dimension earlier than each chopping entry off to the potential new followers who wouldn’t pay to obtain anyway. Whereas the unit economics of getting cash from particular person downloads of narrative-based titles continues to be a little bit of a Wild West within the VR world, it’s a vital challenge that may most likely solely be punted for thus lengthy.

Chung, who beforehand labored on narrative storytelling at Oculus, appears optimistic about digital actuality {hardware}’s near-term prospects and the rise of so-called standalone headsets which combine the compute energy, show and battery right into a singular system that’s untethered and extra highly effective than previous phone-based choices.

The subsequent of 4 new initiatives that Penrose is presently creating is being constructed with these standalone gadgets as their central focus although Chung tells me the startup can also be beginning to look extra significantly about what there may be to be executed with phone-based augmented actuality techniques primarily based on the ARKit and ARCore platforms and what does and doesn’t make sense to carry to them sooner or later.



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