See the original story in Japanese.
The VR (Virtual Reality) startup incubator Tokyo XR Startups, managed by Japan’s game developer Gumi (TSE:3903) and others, this month held Demo Day for its incubation program 4th batch. A total of seven teams gave pitches at the event: five teams from the 4th batch, one team from Nordic XR Startups (jointly managed by Gumi and Nordic Film) and one team supported by Tokyo-based Future Tech Hub.
Tokyo XR Startups, Seoul XR Startups and Nordic XR Startups have incubated 43 teams in total. For Tokyo XR Startups alone, the total raised amount by 16 teams which received its supports until the previous 3rd batch reached 2 billion yen (about $18 million) and their total valuation amount exceeds 12 billion yen (about $105 billion). Five in seven teams of from Seoul XR Startups 1st and 2nd batch had succeeded in fundraising, and Atticfab turned out from the 1st batch won the top prize at the Korean tradeshow event IMPACT-ECH (hosted by The Korea Economic Daily and Korea Association of Information & Telecommunication) in 2018.
At Oculus Connect 5 held last week at San Jose, California the launch of the all-in-one VR headset named Oculus Quest was announced and will go on sale for $399. At the beginning of Tokyo VR Startups Demo Day, Hironao Kunimitsu (CEO of Gumi) commented,
I was shocked to hear that Oculus Quest is priced at less than $400 while everybody is concerned about whether every VR headset costs $500 or less. It will significantly lower the hurdle to the spread of VR in a rush.
The possibility that VR headsets will be popularized from the launch of Oculus Quest in the next spring has been raised without waiting for falling prices.
This article introduces the startups turned out from Tokyo XR Startups 4th batch. Two of the five teams is in stealth mode and is not covered below.
Otohane Rara by Unisonlive
Unisonlive proposed a VTuber (Virtual YouTuber) business focusing on live performance by high-end 3D music VTuber. Since music and animation character have high affinity, customer collection is much easier through music distribution, live event or character goods by creating VTuber with high singing ability. On the other hand, the entry barrier is high for potential competitors because it requires highly skilled staffers specialized in music production, recording, mastering and motion capturing.
Unisonlive had produced 40 songs monthly during the 4th batch period, in addition to establishing a video creation system to create a 3DCG optimized for one song in an hour. The team includes music producer, novel writer and character designer, and is currently developing an animation character named Otohane Rara. Its first Twitter video was played 13,000 times and has been played 4,300 times in a day. In the future, the team plans to form a VTuber band, and the concept design of characters has already been completed.
Owl by Edoga
Edoga proposed an employee training service using VR. As the working population is decreasing in Japan, a significant productivity improvement is necessary but labor-intensive industries are busily working on competition for human resources and can save neither time nor opportunity for human resource development due to various reasons such as ‘not having much time’ or ‘too costly.’
Edoga develops the VR-based virtual employee training center and provides an environment where users can practice in a simulated work environment efficiently at a low cost wherever they are. The team aims at the NetFlix position in the employee training business. As Walmart introduced STRVR and Volkswagen introduced Innoactive, several successive cases can be seen overseas. Edoga recently contracted a financial / business cooperation with the independent IT employee training major Trainocateg, looking ahead to its business expansion.
ToPolog by Geocreates
Geocreates develops SaaS (Software as a Service) for architectural designing VR named ToPolog. When building up a structure, an architectural office plans and offers an architectural design based on its experience, and a customer judges whether the presented plan is adopted or not based on his experience. As a result, there is a distant resemblance among buildings in town. ToPolog’s approach is to lead architectural designing to a quantitative data-based method, without depending on experience and intuition.
Customer users put on head-mount display and can experience architectural designs as VR with realistic feeling. Analyzing eye direction tracking data and brain wave, this service provides information in which part of the design the customers are satisfied or not and leads to optimized design plan by carrying out PDCA. It targets interior industry, real estate companies, construction companies or retail industry. The team has been raising funds targeting the end of November with its goal of 150 million yen (about $1.3 million).
Simultaneously, with this Demo Day for the 4th batch, Tokyo XR Startups begins accepting applications from startups for the 5th batch participation. The application deadline is November 30th and there are two points of change in its incubation program.
The one is that blockchain startups are allowed to apply in addition to XR (VR, AR, MR) field and no concern with XR is needed for them. The other is that the incubation program is separated into pre-program (for teams that passed pre-selection) and main program (for teams that passed final selection). In the pre-program, participation teams are given grace time to build up team or to create development plan for two months at the longest. In the main program, qualified teams are given 5 to 15 million yen ($44,000 to $132) and carry out product development or service prototyping over four months at the longest.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, as the hardware elements for the spread of VR have been gradually prepared, Tokyo XR Startups also focuses on killer contents and cooperates with the virtual talent support platform Upd8 (pronounced “update”) to create virtual talents. The application conditions are: having virtual talent plans and being able to launch virtual talents within three months. The participants teams can receive production / activity funds, use right of studio for free, advises on devices and techniques from Upd8. In addition, back office supports including legal and personnel issues are available from Tokyo XR Startups.
Seven teams, five teams and three teams will be chosen for the pre-program, the main program and the virtual talent support program at most, respectively.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy