AmazeVR, a virtual reality concert platform that allows consumers to experience their favorite musicians’ VR concerts via content creation tools, revealed today that it had raised $15 million in a funding round that was oversubscribed within three weeks of its first offering.
In addition to Smilegate Investment and Murex Partners, the new round of funding included participation from Quantum Ventures Korea, ABC Partners, Everrich Group, GS Group’s corporate venture capital firm GS Futures, We Ventures, Base Investment, and Dunamu&Partners, as well as previous backers Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, Partners Investment and Timewise Investment. GS Futures is a subsidiary of the GS Group.
AmazeVR has collected a total of $30.8 million in funding since its founding in 2015, and the firm expects to seek a Series B round in early 2022 to continue its fast expansion, according to the company. Ernest Lee, co-CEO of AmazeVR, told TechCrunch that the company intends to utilize the extra funds to hire more employees shortly. AmazeVR started operations in 2021 with 12 people, but the business has already increased its workforce in Hollywood and Seoul to 41 employees, according to Lee.
Among Lee’s areas include music, entertainment, technology, and gaming. “We’ve been able to recruit top talent from these businesses,” Lee said. “This puts us in a fantastic position to take full advantage of virtual reality and the expanding popularity of the metaverse, as we bring beautiful virtual reality concerts from prominent musicians, first to theaters and subsequently to homes across the globe.
Fans now have unparalleled access to their favorite musicians due to social media, yet they are still separated from them by a screen. According to Lee, virtual reality concerts by AmazeVR transport fans across the screen to meet face-to-face with their favorite musicians, allowing them to have a personal connection with them. According to the developers, users would log in as avatars, hang out with other users, and participate in virtual reality concerts together.
Lee stated in an interview with TechCrunch that “our goal is for the technology to be so good that it becomes invisible so that the fan’s memory is not of a great VR experience, but that they came face to face with their favorite artists in fantastical immersive environments, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.”
AmazeVR, which has its headquarters in Los Angeles and an office in Seoul, was formed by JB Lee, Steve Lee, Jeremy Nam, and Steven Koo, who was formerly employed by the South Korean messaging app Kakao. Because of the stock market debut of Kakao, the four co-founders decided to uproot their lives in Seoul and relocate to Silicon Valley to continue their efforts to establish a business with a global effect.
Lee said that AmazeVR has been developing virtual reality technology since 2015 and that the company ultimately transitioned into virtual reality concerts in late 2019.
Even before the pandemic, the company recognized the need for a more immersive music experience through virtual reality concerts; however, the music industry remained distant and skeptical, primarily due to concerns about the potential for cannibalization of live shows, which are the industry’s most lucrative revenue stream, according to Lee.
More recently, the coronavirus epidemic has hastened market acceptance, enabling AmazeVR to discover product-market fit in a short period. Lee said that as the music business got more open-minded about new technology, people started to recognize that virtual reality concerts are not the same as live concerts, but rather a new kind of entertainment.
Many firms have been striving to invent the next big thing in the music industry since the sector is poised for a paradigm change. This change has been propelled even further by the epidemic, as seen by a variety of activities ranging from live streaming to virtual concerts to Fortnite events,” Lee told TechCrunch. According to the authors, “all of these alternative solutions just add incremental value to what already exists. No other option properly captures the cover value for fans, which is a personal connection.”
AmazeVR is bringing its first commercial VR concert to select AMC Theatres throughout the United States this Spring, featuring Megan Thee Stallion, a three-time Grammy Award winner. As previously reported by TechCrunch, the firm has already acquired its second artist, a worldwide A-list artist, and is completing its third artist. Years of research and development have resulted in unique 9K cameras and software that can automate complicated unreal engine-based VR concert visual effects (VFX) modules and operate more than 100 headsets simultaneously. Its first VR concert tour will take place in 2019. The business intends to grow its content development, with new virtual reality concerts being released weekly by 2024 for both in-theater and at-home audiences.
“We strongly encourage you to attend one of our virtual reality performances to appreciate how powerful they are. Virtual reality has the potential to transform the 2D experience completely. With our technology, we can elicit an authentic sensation of presence that cannot be achieved via a screen, giving the impression that your favorite musician is right in front of you, face to face,” Lee said. “This opens up a whole new dimension for music, and it’s one of the first new avenues for artists and fans to communicate since the invention of the recording medium.” We’re delighted that investors are seeing this and are willing to help us as we develop and expand our operations.”