VRstudios raises $1.3M, quietly looks to build virtual reality powerhouse in Seattle


By JACOB DEMMITT on September 4, 2015 at 10:41 am

A group of virtual reality heavy-hitters have quietly formed a new startup in Seattle — raising money, landing customers and launching what it hopes will one day be a leader in the emerging VR industry.

VRstudios tells GeekWire that it’s not quite ready to come out of stealth mode right now, but it will be making a public debut soon. In the meantime, it continues to raise money and has lined up a few big-name clients — including arcade giant Dave & Buster’s.

We’ve heard about part of the company before, called VRcade. But there’s more to the story. VRstudios is a larger organization that has three product lines: VRcade, which focuses on video games, VRdesign, which is for architects, and VRsolutions, which offers custom services for VR deployments.

VRcade was founded first four years ago, but VRstudios recently grew out of that startup with a much broader mission. The organizational structure of the company is still being refined.

Filings with the SEC show the company scored its latest $700,000 investment this week, bringing total funding to $1.3 million since it got started in March. The company —led by CEO Charles Herrick, a former IBM manager, CFO Chris Smith, a former Hewlett-Packard VP of finance and chief revenue officer, and Brian Vowinkel, a former vice president at US Bank — is working on a larger round of financing.

Jamie Kelly and Dave Ruddell, who co-founded VRcade, are listed as VRstudios president and CTO, respectively.

The company tells GeekWire its services are already being used in the gaming, construction and aerospace industries.

What sets the technology apart is what has become known as room-scale VR, or virtual reality experiences that let users walk around in the real world and have that translate to movement within the digital space.

Newer versions of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets have shown us what this functionality can do. Suffice to say, it’s a game changer for VR.

For VRdesign, it means architects can wear a headset and walk around a 3D model of a building to make tweaks before construction crews get to work.