Crowdfunding has expanded into the video game industry in recent years as companies like Fig and Gambitious take advantage of the JOBS Act that opened the door for average people putting money in startups. Now virtual reality startup Virtuix, maker of the Omni motion gamepad, is using crowdfunding site SeedInvest to raise money.
Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix, says this “mini-IPO” will start on March 23 under the new rules of Regulation A+, which allows the public to invest in private companies. Using SeedInvest, Virtuix is hoping to raise $10 million to a maximum of $15 million authorized by federal crowdfunding rules. Earlier this year, the company used SeedInvest to test the investment waters, and received interest from more than 3,200 potential investors who said they were ready to plow in more than $29 million.
“Given the excess demand, we will launch a reservation process on SeedInvest that allows potential investors to reserve their spot and get access to our round during our soft launch targeted on March 21, two days before the round opens publicly,” Goetgeluk says.
He says institutional investors that have already indicated interest in participating in this Series A round include Scentan Ventures, Western Technology Investment, Tekton Ventures, and Scout Ventures. The round would imply a valuation of $35 million for the company (excluding the investment cash), or $2.33 per share.
“The minimum investment on SeedInvest will be $1,000,” Goetgeluk says. “However, the deal structure and terms are the same for SeedInvest investors and institutional or accredited investors.”
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Proceeds will be used to continue product development, expand sales and marketing efforts, and continue the development of Virtuix’s multiplayer first-person shooter game Omni Arena, he said.
That game, which debuted at CES 2016 in Las Vegas in January, will be on display at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco March 14-18. Virtuix will once again be featuring a virtual reality eSports exhibition with Omni Arena.
Virtuix is currently catching up on its backlog of 5,000 orders it’s received for the $699 motion gamepad, although through Feb. 1 pre-orders only cost $499. The Omni allows the user to walk or run in any direction while exploring any game, both with our without virtual reality. Virtuix is compatible with Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and Sony’s PlayStation VR platforms.
“Our sales have nearly tripled since we started shipping the Omni a few months ago,” Goetgeluk says. “The long-awaited launch of consumer head-mounted displays is an exciting milestone for us as well, and we are compatible with all major head-mounted displays coming to market.”
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The focus for the company now is online sales, but Goetgeluk says the company will sell its products through retailers in the future after VR gets mass market adoption.
In its basic form, the Omni emulates a keyboard or standard gamepad that works with legacy games and virtual reality content. The device doesn’t rely on developer support for content. And it simply plugs into a PC or console and works.
“We’re working with most major VR game developers to integrate our Omni SDK (software development kit) for optimal Omni support,” Goetgeluk says. “Developers of first-person shooters and exploration games for VR are excited about the Omni, as our device provides a crucial locomotion solution that enables these active VR experiences safely and comfortably without motion sickness.”