GREE launches $12m fund targeted at virtual reality content startups

GREE, which operates a social network that users interact with through mobile games, has launched a $12 million fund to support early-stage virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) companies in both gaming and non-gaming sectors.

LPs participating in the fund, named GVR Fund, include Colopl VR Fund and Japanese social networking service mixi. Colopl VR Fund has itself a $50 million fund to invest in VR businesses.

The fund is managed by San Francisco-based GREE VR Capital LLC, and has already invested in two VR-related companies –  VRChat Inc, a platform that allows users to create, publish, and explore VR worlds with users around the world, and interior architecture firm SPACES, Inc.

This news comes hot at the heels of Mark Zuckerberg emphasising that VR will be a key component on the world’s largest social network over the next 10 years.

In a press release, GREE noted that the virtual reality market is expected to hit $80 billion by 2025, indicating that the industry today is in a ripe position for investment and growth.

“The GVR Fund highlights GREE’s commitment to the potential of virtual reality as an emerging platform. We not only see ourselves as a content developer but as an investor as well. We want to create the same values we successfully did in the past through investments in companies when the mobile platform took off,” senior vice-president at GREE Inc, Naoki Aoyagi said.

GREE VR Capital managing director Teppei Tsutsui commented that GREE VR’s experience in working with major industry players such as Oculus, Samsung, HTC and Google prove that the firm has the expertise and relationships to make a significant impact in the market.

“In addition, our LPs are a selective group of strategic investors who can bring significant value to companies. We can’t wait to see what unique experiences early-stage companies are creating, and to identify how the GVR Fund can help bring their ideas into the hands of consumers worldwide,” he said.

GREE had previously set up a $10 million fund to invest in mobile games, when the smartphone gaming was gaining traction in North America. It was primarily to jumpstart games on the GREE platform, which needed a lot of content

GREE has studios in Tokyo, San Francisco, Berlin and Melbourne and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

It has showcased its first VR title – Sarah and the Viper’s Crown – at the Tokyo Game Show in 2015 and launched GREE VR Studio, its internal VR production studio shortly after that in November 2015.

The first game from the GREE VR Studio, Tomb of the Golems, will launch this month, and will ship soon at the Gear VR Oculus Store.

Also read:

Virtual reality co Wevr raises $25m from HTC, Samsung Ventures

FOVE raises $11m Series A led by Japan’s Colopl VR Fund

India: Hinduja Group leads $100m funding in Swiss virtual reality firm MindMaze

Google creates virtual reality arm, names key exec to head it

Indonesian gaming studio Toucten secures additional funding from GREE Inc, 500 Startups

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.