If we had a passport at Doghead Simulations it would almost be full. We’ve shown off rumii, our VR education and collaboration platform, in Spain, England, Australia, Netherlands, Brazil and that’s just in the last three months of 2018.
This past weekend we set up rumii at GE2, which brings the best in robotics, Esports, gaming, drone racing, virtual reality, augmented reality, maker-competitions and more. You may ask why we decided to demo at a gaming conference. rumii is a VR product for business and education professionals. It’s a tool to have productive meetings and interactive learning environments. Margo Shiroyama and Audrey Fan of Washington Interactive told us about GE2 and encouraged us to attend. We were quick to sign up because VR is in high demand whether for games or work (we think work can be fun too).
We saw a great turnout at GE2. We saw long lines of people from all age groups waiting to experience the different VR demos (including rumii). The turnout of young folks at our booth was overwhelming. We had groups of high school freshman who were really excited about learning in VR. Their parents asked us if we had any real-life examples of educational institutions using rumii (we do, more on that later).
Key Takeaways from the next generation:
- They expect VR to be in their future. They see what we’re building today as what they will be using to work, communicate, and build when they enter the workforce. It’s not a question of “if” or “when” to them.
- They expect VR to be a normal part of their lives. They are 100% bought-in and could not be more excited.
- Young people today want to do something with VR. We are constantly asked by them how to get started making VR experiences. Virtual Reality of today is what it was like to experiment building websites with HTML and CSS in 2004.
- Kids in high school are looking for a new avenue to be creative and take over. 15 years ago it was YouTube. People uploaded videos for fun but over time people discovered they could make a career out of it. Highschooler’s today will be our future “Youtubers” of VR tomorrow.
- Kids want to do more than go to school, sit in a classroom, and read about what to learn. They want to attend school in VR (think Ready Player One). They want to be a settler in the American Colonies or ride the Apollo 11 to the moon. They want to explore a chemical reaction on a molecular level and experience what it’s like to live as a kid in a different part of the world. All these things can be accomplished with virtual reality.
To the people who say VR is dead or not worth investing in, we encourage you to look at what your kids or young people around you are interested in and excited about. We bet virtual reality is high on their minds. When a young person tries VR, they immediately take the controls and go forth. They aren’t afraid of stepping or moving around the virtual environment. In fact, they want more of it.
What we’re developing today is for the business and educational professionals. We see a strong need for virtual reality collaboration. But we’re also developing for the next generation. We’re giving them something to explore, something to create with and make their own.
We are truly saddened to hear that AltSpaceVR is closing their doors on August 3rd. For many of us in the VR space, they paved the road to virtual reality being mainstream.
AltspaceVR had an impressive user base with an average 35,000 users a month. Their average user spent 35 minutes a day in VR. Those are impressive statistics! Altspace hosted concerts and interviews with people such as Bill Nye. Their events drew crowds of 1,000 people.
AltspaceVR closing their doors is also a lesson for the rest of us. As Robert Scoble, an authoritative blogger in the tech world, said, “our industry needs to look at itself deeply.” Scobleclaimed that out of 1,000 entrepreneurs he spoke to, only three had a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Schoble claims that everyone should move to Apple’s AR technology. However, what we’ve seen is that VR works very well for specific use cases, which we have identified. Just because VR had a slow start to 2017 and we’re seeing AltspaceVR close its doors does not mean this tech is dead in the water. In fact, it’s far from it.
VR investment had a record year in 2016 of $2.3 billion. The hype from 2016 cooled off investment in VR/AR in the beginning of 2017. However, we’re already starting to see a rise in VR/AR investment in Q2 of this year, “AR/VR Dealmakers invested over $800 million dollars in Q2 2017” which is especially impressive because those numbers are without Magic Leap in the picture. These are the stats and figures that we should be looking at when analyzing the VR industry.
It hurts our heart to see a VR company fail, but their failure allows us to learn from their experiences. We are going strong at Doghead Simulations with 300 global users participating in our Early Access Program. We continue to speak and demo at events around the world as we move to our launch date. Our product, rumii, is a solution to a problem all companies face: poor telecommunication experiences.
Interested to see what we are all about? Check out our monthly meetups or experience rumii first hand at OrlandoiX and Seattle Startup Week.
Even better, join our FREE Early Access Program to use rumii first hand.
We have exciting news! The Doghead Store is now live! The store sells super soft, super cool T-shirts with our Doghead logo displayed on them. Go out into the world with your new, favorite shirt. The shirts are available for $20 plus shipping.
The Story of How It Was Made
We originally made the shirts for our team members so they would stand out at conferences and meetups. They were such a hit that soon everyone was asking us if they could have a shirt too. That’s when we decided to make them available for everyone to share the Doghead pride.
Why the Shirt?
Wearing the Doghead Simulations shirt helps us in spreading awareness for our company and our product, rumii. We are fairly young tech startup making our way to the top. When our fans, like yourself, wear our shirts it gives us a sense of pride. It makes us feel like all the late nights, hard work, and endless pitches are paying off.
Plus, there is nothing cooler than walking down the street and seeing a fellow Doghead.
We wanted to make sure that our shirts not only look cool, but feel good too. We had them made with the softest material. The shirts are 52% cotton and 48% polyester.
The Perfect Scenarios To Wear the Shirt
There is no perfect place to wear a Doghead T-Shirt. Wear T-Shirts to our meetups where you will feel like part of the team. Wear a Doghead T-Shirt to a conference or at the office. Everyone will ask, “is that a dog with a virtual reality headset?” You can proudly tell them that yes, it is indeed.
The Doghead T-Shirt is also nice to relax in after a hard day at work or rainy afternoon. Know that wherever you are, we at Doghead Simulations, are wearing our shirts too. In that way, we are all connected as part of a dog pack (howling at the moon together is probably one step too far).
“We should close funding by November.” That’s what we thought when we started down our funding journey in July last year.
At that time virtual reality was expected to be an $80 billion dollar industry by 2020. It’s now expected to be a $120 billion - $162 billion industry by 2020. That’s double market size! The numbers prove it. Virtual reality had a record year of $2.3 billion investment in 2016.
While we saw lots of investment activity in the space, we did notice some VR/AR startups feel an investment slowdown in the beginning of 2017. The investment market has cooled some since investors have been burned by virtual reality startup companies who haven’t delivered yet. They got in a little too soon, two to three years ago when the technology wasn’t quite ready. Unfortunately, now that the technology is ready, the purse strings have tightened up.
To compensate for this, VR/AR startups are finding that they are having to stay bootstrapped longer than they thought. Some are able to go to friends and family for initial investment. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is a good reminder that closing funding rounds take time.
Our advice? Closing funding is a marathon, not a sprint.
1. Start building relationships with venture capitalists (VCs) and investors now, before getting to the point of asking for money. VCs are known to invest in the people and and team first, before the product. If they like you as a person they are more likely to invest in you when it comes time to ask for funding.
2. Find a financial advisor or mentor to help manage your expectations and guide you through the funding process. There are many steps to closing funding, it’s not as cut and dry as writing a check. After agreeing to terms, there are transaction documents to be be reviewed, and lawyers on both side who want to make sure everything is in order.
3. Don’t jump on the first offer you get. Remember, being invested is a two way street. Make sure you like the investor and can work with them as much as they want to put money into you. Seek out the “smart” money.
4. Don’t quit your day job. Even if you start having serious talks with an investor it can take 7 - 14 months to close a funding round. It can take even longer if you haven’t started talking with investors yet. See point 1 above.
5. Be patient, keep pitching, and network at events. Having your company’s face out in front of people will keep you first of mind when they’re thinking of who to invest in. Word spreads quickly. Even if you don’t talk to an interested VC, they might mention your company to someone who is.