Oculus VR Raises $75M in Series B to Make Virtual Reality a Commercial Reality
Venture Capital Firm Andreessen Horowitz Leads the Round
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA (Dec 13, 2013) – Oculus VR, Inc., creators of the highly anticipated Oculus Rift, announced today that it has raised $75 million in Series B funding to finalize development of its virtual reality platform and ecosystem. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, which also included significant additional investment from the Series A investors Spark Capital, Matrix Partners and Formation 8.
Founded in 2009 by angel investors Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz is world renowned for supporting the growth of emerging technology companies that change the world, including Facebook, Airbnb, Jawbone, Twitter and Skype. As part of the round, Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon will join Oculus VR’s board of directors.
Oculus VR (simply known as Oculus) is an American technology company founded by Palmer Luckey in June 2012 in Irvine, California, now based in Menlo Park. It specializes in virtual reality hardware and software products.
In April 2012, Palmer Luckey announced the Rift, a virtual reality headset designed for video gaming, and launched a Kickstarter campaign in August to make virtual reality headsets available to developers. The campaign proved successful and raised $2.4 Million, ten times the original goal of $250,000. Two pre-production models were released to developers: the Oculus DK1 (Development Kit 1) and Oculus DK2 (Development Kit 2). The consumer product was released on March 28, 2016 with an all-new design incorporating specialized VR displays, positional audio, and infrared tracking system.
In March 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to acquire Oculus for US$ 2,300,000,000 in cash and stock. In 2015, Oculus acquired Surreal Vision, a British startup focused on 3D reconstruction and mixed reality, stating that it could be possible for Oculus to develop products with the concept of telepresence.
Oculus initiated a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 to fund the Rift's development, after being founded as an independent company two months prior. The project proved successful, raising US$2.5 million. In March 2014, Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion.
The Rift has gone through various pre-production models since the Kickstarter campaign, around five of which were demonstrated to the public. Two of these models were shipped to backers, labelled as 'development kits'; the DK1 in mid 2013 and DK2 in mid 2014, to give developers a chance to develop content on time for the Rift's release. However, both were also purchased by a large number of enthusiasts who wished to get an early preview of the technology.
The Rift has a stereoscopic OLED display, 1080×1200 resolution per eye, a 90 Hz refresh rate, and 110° field of view. It has integrated headphones which provide a 3D audio effect, rotational and positional tracking. The positional tracking system, called "Constellation", is performed by a USB stationary infrared sensor that is picking up light that is emitted by IR LEDs that are integrated into the head-mounted display. The sensor normally sits on the user's desk. This creates 3D space, allowing for the user to use the Rift while sitting, standing, or walking around the same room.