Japan’s InstaVR gets $2M to support 360-degree content creation for virtual open house tours



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based InstaVR, providing a VR (virtual reality) authoring tool capable of creation / distribution / analysis of 360-degree view content under the same name, this week announced that it has secured about 200 million yen (about $2 million) in the latest round.

This round was led by Gree Ventures with participating from Colopl VR Fund, the investment arm of Japanese mobile gaming developer Colopl (TSE:3668) but details of the allotment ratio of shares or payment date have been undisclosed. The firm had been born from the first batch of Tokyo VR Startups, an acceleration program led by Japanese gaming developer Gumi (TSE:3903) and focused on nourishing VR / AR (augmented reality) startups.

InstaVR is a web-based creation tool for 360-degree content. For example, it is available for virtual preliminary inspection of apartment rooms to be constructed, by combining image videos or 360-degree image materials. It enables setting of various call-to-action buttons to play YouTube videos when clicked or to link them to next scenes / places as if ‘warping’ and thereby allows more interactive materials to be created.

The completed contents are outputted as apps playable on a unique player and are available for iOS, Android or GearVR. Also the contents can be embedded into webpages as in the following image (it can shift right and left by clicking).

As one of the InstaVR’s characteristic functions, it supports heat map analysis enabling optimization of click-link buttons arrangement or investigation for the next content through analysis of points ‘where users looked,’ which may be determined only with VR experience.

Until now, InstaVR has been used by 1,800 companies in 100 countries around the world since its launch in January of 2016, and been implemented in a wide range of business fields such as tourism industry including Smithsonian Museum, construction industry, content creation companies for marketing and advertising agencies.

The firm was established by CEO Hiroyuki Haga in 2015 December. The InstaVR tool is originated in a ‘free tool’ developed by him in 2014; he had formerly played important roles as an engineer at 3D authoring tool developer Autodesk and Gree (TSE:3632).

Haga commented:

As the free tool is downloaded, sometime I have been asked from users to help with creation of VR content due to its difficulty. The tool was for creating VR content just by using Excel, and I incorporated all of these know-how into InstaVR.

Authoring tool is one of the major fields in the VR / AR industry landscape.

There are various creation platforms, like high-end type providing high-performance camera / stitching (joining 360-degree contents together) / distribution as vertical integration service such as Jaunt or NextVR, or a type available for lots of 3D objects similar to Marxent, but there are no tools that equal InstaVR in enabling creation / distribution of lighter content on the web.

The monthly charge for the premium version of InstaVR is $199. The firm will continue with development using the secured funds and aims at implementation in 10,000 companies within this year.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy