Wevr raises $25 Million to launch Virtual Reality Network, Transport
Introducing Transport, Wevr’s Virtual Reality Network
Virtual reality is very real. We believe the medium is poised to profoundly impact the world starting in 2016. VR has been in the zeitgeist for decades but the wave is just beginning to hit. As individuals we have sensed this.
Over the last few years as a company we at Wevr have immersed ourselves in the world of VR, mastering the technology, creating groundbreaking experiences, funding other creators and collaborating with storytellers from different disciplines enabling them to apply their unique visions to this new form. We started hacking on our acclaimed immersive underwater experience theBlu before the Oculus Rift Kickstarter project. We were inspired to transition theBlu to VR where it has since become a landmark experience showcasing at the Samsung GearVR announcement in Berlin in May 2014 and the HTC Vive announcement in Barcelona in March 2015. And this year we are thrilled to have four of our VR experiences selected for the prestigious 2016 Sundance Festival. We’ve been deep into learning the medium, making brave quality VR and collaborating with others to do the same.
But there is something else we have been working on. It is called Wevr Transport TM.
What is Transport?
Wevr Transport is, in one word, a network. We love the burgeoning VR community. We are a part of it. So we decided to build an independent platform for artists and storytellers working in VR to help promote and share their works. To inspire one another. Transport is a curated content network. It is device agnostic, so users can experience it on any headset. Influenced by the open web and the power of today’s social networks, Transport enables frictionless publishing for creatives and easy discovery for fans, and most importantly a high quality experience for both.
Wevr wants to make it easier for artists and storytellers to create brave VR and reach a larger audience. To do this we keep our sleeves rolled up and continue to make VR and in turn collaborate with fascinating creatives in order to showcase what is possible. We have already done so with the highly talented Reggie Watts, Deepak Chopra, Roger Avary, Andy Jones, Jake Rowell and others. In addition, we will bear hug creatives, by providing financial or technical support, or just celebrating the work because they’re part of our tribe.
We are working hard to make Transport a welcoming home for native VR makers whether the source is a game engine, a video camera or web code, and whether the experiences are targeting mobile or living room headsets. Transport will allow creators to build an audience, and, as their popularity increases, they will be able to monetize their content.
The Transport technology comprises a) consumer apps accessible on various HMDs, b) user and maker cloud services, and c) a purpose-built VR engine that delivers high performance playback and rendering. Transport is based on an an open and extensible VR media format which we are excited to share with the community.
In summary, Transport is a virtual reality content network:
1) for makers to proudly present their VR work to fans,
2) for everyone to easily experience VR and enjoy sharing feedback,
3) where brave, inspiring VR is created, consumed and celebrated.
Who we are:
The three of us – Scott Yara, Anthony Batt, and myself – are longtime friends and collaborators. There’s an interesting backstory here, but more about that at a later date. What has always drawn us together is a shared passion for story telling and rich immersive digital media and the idea that a nascent internet could become an opportunity for creative and artistic expression. As Scott used to ask, “Can we make the web beautiful?” The web has become this amazing platform for communication, commerce and distribution of existing content. But not quite as its own organic medium of art and storytelling. We think that VR is that and more. Not the web as we know it, not games, not movies… something completely new.
We don’t shy away from innovative endeavors. Scott guided several start ups into major companies and helped create the groundbreaking content delivery network (CDN). He built and sold Greenplum to EMC, now Pivotal, where he still serves on the executive team. Anthony has merged art with cutting edge tech, cofounding music and culture network Buzz Media and working with Ashton Kutcher as President of his Katalyst Network. I’ve operated at the forefront of entertainment technology – digital effects, animation and real time graphics – playing pivotal roles at Digital Domain, Square and Electronic Arts in works including Apollo 13, Terminator 2/3D, Final Fantasy and Medal of Honor.
Wevr has built a world class team with a unique mix of talent comprised of Academy Award winning artists, veteran game software engineers, interactive designers, product makers, and audience builders. All required skills in what Mark Zuckerberg describes as “the next major computing platform”.
During the last several months Wevr has raised over $25M from strategic investors including HTC, Samsung Ventures, Evolution Media Partners, Madison Wells Media (Gigi Pritzker/Clint Kisker), Orange Digital Ventures, Digital Garage (Joi Ito), AME Cloud Ventures (Jerry Yang), Boldstart Ventures, Scott McNealy and Ross Levinsohn. We’ve been diligent about who we have around the table and are immensely thankful for the support.
Make VR with us:
Clearly this is just the beginning. 2015 was year zero and 2016 is year one for VR. But what is also clear is that it’s the beginning of something big. We are all in. We believe in VR as it exists now, and as it will become. At its essence it is a transformative medium with the capacity to transport us all somewhere new. We are dedicated students of the medium. We are learning everyday. It feels like we are surfing a giant wave that is just beginning to build. We would like nothing more than to delight, inspire and transport people across the world through globally shared immersive experiences. And with Wevr Transport, we are extending an invitation for you to join us.
“Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming”
– David Bowie
-Neville Spiteri, CEO and Co-founder, Wevr
This post is also published on Medium