VRChat Raises $80 Million in Venture Capital Funding

This morning, VRChat announced that they had successfully raised eighty million U.S. dollars in investment, a sure sign of the growing prominence of social VR.

The official blogpost/press release states:

This new investment will allow us to expand the VRChat team, iterate on the platform and grow our community. This includes the ability for creators to earn and enable more people around the world to access VRChat.

This investment will expedite our efforts in building systems to give our community the ability to organize and earn. Our upcoming Groups system will help people self-organize based on their interests or hobbies, and the Creator Economy will enable anyone to earn from their own creations. These systems alongside other improvements will help foster community growth into the future.

My ears pricked up at the mention of groups and the creator economy, features which many VRChat users have been eagerly awaiting. A commenter on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, Rainwolf, said:

Apparently that’s like the second-highest investing round on VR in general, as the first highest was the hundred million for Rec Room, and a lot more money than the VRChat investment of 4 million in 2017.

The future looks bright!

VRChat Raises Another US$10 Million in Venture Capital

Social VR platform VRChat, which has raised US$5.2 million in two previous rounds of venture capital funding, announced today that they have received an additional US$10 million in a Series C investment round:

According to a blogpost on their official blog:

The VRChat team is excited to announce that we have closed a $10m Series C investment round. This latest financing includes new investor Makers Fund, alongside existing investors HTCBrightstone VC and GFR Fund. We welcome Makers Fund and are proud to have them on board!

As to where that new investment money is going, VRChat also shared a diagram of what they plan to work on next (the text on this is a bit small, so you might want to look at this picture over on their blogpost instead, where you can zoom in on it and read it clearly):

The VRChat Development Roadmap (from their blog)

There are a lot of references to something called “Udon” on this roadmap. According to their blogpost:

VRChat “Udon” is an in-development programming language designed specifically for VRChat. It utilizes a “node graph” graphical interface to permit both new and experienced users to create complex, interactive content for their VRChat worlds.

Udon will unlock a whole new class of creativity in VRChat by allowing content creators to build far more interactive worlds, games, and experiences. We expect Udon to be a big deal! We believe it will have a massive impact on the types of content the community can enjoy in VRChat once released. Udon is currently in internal testing, and planned for release in Q4 2019.

But what I find the most interesting thing about this roadmap is what is not on it: a virtual economy, currency, and an in-world marketplace for user-created content. As we already know, they are actively looking to hire someone to get that ball rolling. I guess that part of VRChat is still too far off in the future to add to the plan…

Which Social VR Platform Has Been the Most Successful at Raising Money?

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

There’s been a very interesting discussion taking place today on the RyanSchultz Discord server. One of the regular contributors to the many conversations that take place there, Michael Zhang, pulled together the following information from Crunchbase:

Today I Learned: Building social VR, MMOs, and virtual worlds are a lot more expensive than I imagined!

From Crunchbase:

-High Fidelity raised $72.9 million over five rounds and is struggling with their recent pivot to enterprise.
-Rec Room raised $29 million over two rounds, $24 million only recently, so they lived off of $5 million for several years.
-Altspace raised $15.7 million over three rounds, went bankrupt and shut down, then revived when bought by Microsoft.
-Bigscreen raised $14 million over two rounds.
-TheWaveVR raised $12.5 million over three rounds.
-vTime raised $7.6 million over one round.
-VRChat raised $5.2 million over two rounds.
-JanusVR raised $1.6 million over two rounds.
-Somnium Space raised $1 million over two rounds.

In comparison:

-Epic Games raised $1.6 billion over two rounds, $1.25 billion coming after Fortnite.
-Mojang’s Minecraft launched in 2003, started making profits in 2007, earned $237.7 million in revenue by 2012, and sold to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. (Wikipedia)
-Roblox raised $187.5 million over seven rounds.
-Linden Lab’s Second Life raised $19 million over two rounds.

Then, another contributor named Jin put together this graph to illustrate how successful the various social VR platforms have been in raising venture capital (please click on this picture to see it in full size on Flickr, or just click here). As you can see, High Fidelity is far and away the leader in raising money!

Social VR Platforms Raising Money

(In comparison, Decentraland raised 24 million dollars in their initial coin offering. Jin also made a second chart including Decentraland, but I have not included it here because, unlike the other platforms, it does not currently support VR, and it is unlikely to do so anytime in the near future.)

Thank you to Michael Zhang and to Jin for their work!