Japan’s Dazzle lands $1.8 million to develop growth hack tool for VR game developers

Image credit: Dazzle

See the original story in Japanese.

Updated on March 6: Dazzle CEO’s first name was corrected.

Tokyo-based Dazzle, which develops mobile game apps as well as solution for virtual reality (VR) content developers, announced on Wednesday that they raised a total of 200 million yen (about $1.75 million US) in funds from the major construction/manufacturing engineer dispatch company Yumeshin Holdings (TSE: 2362, hereafter referred to as Yumeshin HD) and their subsidiary Yume Education which conducts training programs for IT engineers. This is in addition to the 150 million (about $1.3 million US) raised from Yumeshin HD in June of last year, bringing the total amount raised to 350 million yen (over $3 million US).

Following this funding, the President of Yume Education Norikiyo Sato, and major game developer Acrodea’s (TSE: 3823) Director of Solutions Division and Executive Officer Ariro “Alex” Nagayama will serve as Corporate Auditors of Dazzle. Additionally, former Skymark CEO who currently serves as Representative Director of AirAsia Japan Takashi Ide was appointed as a management advisor.

The team members of Dazzle. The second person from the right standing is Dazzle CEO Yasuteru Yamada.
Image credit: Dazzle

Yasuteru Yamada founded Dazzle in 2011 while still working as a freelance programmer (now, he is the CEO). In addition to Valiant Nights, a mobile game for Android and iOS, they have released four VR game titles for Gear VR and HTC Vive. In recent years, R&D consultation on VR from companies has been increasing, and as a service for supporting the PDCA cycle of VR game products, they began to develop growth hack tools / middleware AccessiVR since last year.

In the closed beta version of AccessiVR only Microsoft DayDream devices are compatible, but Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive will be added in the official version. Also, Unity is the only supported language in closed beta, but they plan to add Unreal Engine for the official version, and they are aiming for it to correspond to Amazon Lumberyard in the future. To sequentially add functions required by developers, the company plans to implement budget management and operation plan management functions for setting target budgets and establishing KPI to compare budget forecasts.

AccessiVR’s dashboard
Image credit: Dazzle

In the same business sphere, there are conflicts with Unity Analytics and Cognitive VR as overseas forces, but Unity Analytics can only deal with Unity, and because AccessiVR’s component is light, when it is incorporated into a VR game or content the fact that there is less loss to the FPS (frame per second) is said to be its technological merit. Following the participation of as many as 10 developers in closed beta tests, they aim for the official version to be out from June to July, and in partnering with VR Arcades, acquiring vital data through cooperation with IoT startups, they hope to differentiate themselves in terms of actual operation. I was reminded of visiting VR Space in Shibuya awhile back, where Executive Producer Akihito Ninomiya suggested that the VR Arcade could be used as a VR developer’s acquisition of growth hack data and as a marketing base.

Currently Dazzle has not received funding from any VCs. Yamada explained that if they were to receive funds from VC as a VR company, Dazzle would seek to specialize in VR only, and if they pursue funding as a specifically VR company, there is the possibility that their valuation could lower. He elaborated that after evaluating the game business that they were already able to monetize they sought to invest in a new business, and the company that understood that vision was Yumishin HD, leading to the acceptance of the investment.

There are around 40 employees at Dazzle including engineers, and in light of the fact that 2018-2019 the global VR industry is set to become vibrant, the in-house developers of smartphone games will gradually shift to the VR business. Using funds raised this time around, the company is focusing on strengthening the development engineers and support staff of AccessiVR.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka