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Within Raises $40M To Push The Boundaries Of Immersive Experiences

  • 5 August 2017
  • Disruptor Daily

In Series B funding for Within, which is a Los Angeles-based VR studio, Singaporean investment company Temasek and Emerson Collective led funding. There was also participation by existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz, 21st Century Fox, and Raine Ventures. New investors include WPP, the world’s largest advertising agency, and Macro Ventures.

This new round of funding brings total funding for Within to $56.6 million.

“In terms of VR/AR content creation, they are our bet and we are extremely excited about teaming with them,” Lars Dalgaard, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in an interview. “These two guys are the pied pipers that people are following. They have built a real brand.”

What is Within

Within, formerly known as Vrse, collaborates with major companies including Apple, The New York Times, NBC, Vice Media, and the United Nations. They have also works with artists, including U2, to create and distribute immersive stories on many major platforms. These include Google Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Sony PlayStation VR.

The studio was co-founded by Aaron Koblin, formerly of Google, and music video director, Chris Milk.

“With the new wave of growth surrounding emerging formats like AR, there’s a tremendous amount of momentum in the industry right now,” Milk said in a statement. “However, the biggest challenge that the industry is facing is the lack of access to compelling experiences for consumers. With incredible investment partners, we now have the opportunity to tackle this issue and accelerate getting technically complex, but emotionally powerful, immersive experiences to the public at large.”

Projects

Within’s recent work includes Life of Us, which is a virtual reality experience that debuted at Imax VR Experience Centers through partnership with Imax. This piece is a multi-user exploration about the evolution of the Earth.

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It was created by Milk and Koblin, with partnership with Megan Ellison through Annapurna Pictures. It was scored by Pharell Williams.

“Our goal is to connect the world through immersive stories,” Milk, Within’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. “That includes both developing the new storytelling language in both of those mediums, as well as the technology to support them on a lot of different current hardware, headsets and devices.”

Another project for children is an artificial reality storybook based on Goldilocks. The book can read aloud and children can see the characters on an iPad or phone screen. This new technology was featured at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference recently.

AR Technology

Alternate reality experiences are emerging as a burgeoning form of digital entertainment. Funding like this shows confidence from investors, which leads to the opinion that VR and AR have many potential commercial applications. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. believes the market may reach over $180 billion by 2025.

This is proven further by tech and entertainment companies developing their own uses for AR and VR. Apple is preparing to use AR in mobile devices later this year. Studios in Hollywood are also looking for ways to incorporate the technology for moviegoers.

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