Virtual reality startup Jaunt has sealed $65 million USD in funding from Walt Disney along with China Media Capital (CMC) and Evolution Media Partners.
The investment marks the largest ever single investment in a virtual reality startup, signaling Hollywood’s increasing interest in VR. The participation of China funds points to the mainland’s growing influence in international entertainment and film.
They’ll join former funding partners Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Highland Capital, Sky, and SV Angel. This brings the company’s total funding to over $100 million USD.
Recently Jaunt and ABC, which is owned by Disney, worked together to produce a feature on Syria, where viewers were able to see 360-degree scenes in war-torn Damascus, Syria.
The VR company will use the latest round of funding to extend their brand internationally. This strongly indicates why the company chose to include China partners in the round.
“[China is a] tremendously huge market” for VR, says Jaunt CEO Jens Christensen.
China is already working to build its own VR market. Last year Baofeng, a Chinese video service launched a $16 USD VR headset called ‘Magic Glasses’ [our translation] which the company claims have comparable quality to IMAX.
Just three month later in December 2014, Chinese VR headset Maker ANTVR launched a range of products, hoping to challenge Occulus VR. The products include smartphone-compatible VR goggles and a camera. ANTVR launched off the back of a $260,000 USD Kickstarter campaign.