Live streaming VR company NextVR officially announced its Series B round of funding, raising $80 million that should help the Laguna Beach, California-based startup secure the rights to broadcast various live events in VR.
NextVR raised a $30.5 million Series A round in November last year. In July, Chinese investment group CITIC gave NextVR $20 million apparently toward this $80 million Series B round. New investors in the round include CITIC, NetEase, CMC Holdings, SoftBank Corp., VMS Investments Group, Founder H Fund, China Assets (Holdings) Limited, and Spectrum 28. Previous investors also participated in the round, including Formation Group, Time Warner Investments, Comcast Ventures, Stephen Ross’s RSE Ventures and others.
The $116 million NextVR raised total to date (Series A and B rounds plus an additional $5.5 million to start the company) puts it among the most well-funded VR startups. Jaunt, in comparison, raised $65 in September last year. Previous live broadcasts by NextVR include the U.S. Open and the Masters Tournament, the Kentucky Derby, the DAYTONA 500, the International Champions Cup (ICC). An agreement with Live Nation also promises to deliver “hundreds” of performances in VR.
“With this new funding, we will continue to build NextVR’s virtual reality platform to meet the needs of the world’s largest fan bases around live sports and music content,” said Brad Allen, NextVR Executive Chairman, in a prepared statement. “Having the support of Asia’s biggest players provides us with significant resources for creating and distributing both local and international content in China, Korea, and Japan.”
NextVR’s roots go back to 2009 and its streaming technology produces some of the best panoramic VR footage we’ve ever seen. According to the company, it has more than 36 granted patents for its streaming pipeline. NextVR has already broadcast a number of major events in VR. It will be interesting to see what the startup chooses to buy the rights for going forward with this newest funding.