SideQuest is now backed by Google through its independent investment arm.
The sideloading platform SideQuest raised $12 million in investment from Google Ventures (GV) as part of its Series A funding round. The amount brings the total raised to date by SideQuest to $15.65 million.
“GV is an independent company and non-strategic venture arm of Alphabet, and invests independently of Google,” a representative for Google Ventures wrote over email.
Initially backed by Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey and BoostVC in 2020, with $3 million added last year, the latest funding boosts SideQuest at the same time it may change the ongoing competitive dynamic. For those unaware, Google is behind the Android operating system that forms the basis of the system software running Meta’s Quest headsets. As part of the investment Google Ventures general partner M.G. Siegler will join SideQuest’s board.
“We feel the time is right, and the SideQuest team has potential to be a leader in this sector that finally feels primed for prime time. The company’s ultimate goal is to become a main hub and software layer for the broader XR ecosystem,” Siegler wrote in a post.
Over the last few years SideQuest emerged as an unofficial store and go-to place for developers to publish experimental content that might not be welcome on Quest’s official channels. That’s changed a bit as Facebook-turned-Meta embraced early content through its App Lab listings, but SideQuest also helps make those listings more discoverable and it is also the go-to place to find cloud PC VR streaming software like Plutosphere or VR mods of classic PC games like Return To Castle Wolfenstein.
Earlier this year, SideQuest launched a version of its app that even brings some of the sideloading experience inside Quest headsets.
We’ll be curious to see how SideQuest uses this latest cash infusion as Meta faces pressure from regulators and renewed competition from companies like Pico moving back into some of the same consumer markets served by Meta. Pico, too, uses Android as the basis of its system software and that’s a potential route for SideQuest in the future.
“Our tools have always worked with any android based device that supports sideloading. It has been used on a Pico 4 and does indeed work on Pico 3 and below too for sideloading games, but currently there is only one game on SideQuest that supports a Pico Device — which is Quake 3,” SideQuest co-founder Shane Harris told UploadVR. “We hope that the next wave of devices will embrace open standards like OpenXR and continue to allow users to experiment with cutting edge content like that on SideQuest. We are excited to see what Pico has to offer and we hope they will treat our community with the love and support that they deserve.”
Article updated Oct. 10 with a statement from a Google Ventures representative clarifying its relationship to Google and parent company Alphabet. Shortly after publication this article was updated with a quote from M.G. Siegler.