Hong Kong start-up Sandbox VR received additional $11 million in funding from prominent figures in Silicon Valley and Hollywood. The new investment will bring the total reported to $83 million in 2019.
Many investors include Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Will Smith, headed by U.S. venture capitalist David Sacks of Craft Ventures and the Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund.
“We’re incredibly honoured to be able to work with some of the most talented and influential artists, athletes and actors in the world,” said Steve Zhao, founder and CEO of Sandbox VR. “Their support is a vote of confidence that our platform will one day become the new medium for the future of sports, music and storytelling.”
Since its inception, the organisation has drawn attention from influencers. With the downturn of innovation in consumer VR apps, there are now those turning their focus to location-based virtual reality.
“We believe that VR is finally ready to take off as a mass market phenomenon in malls, where it can be optimised for a social experience,” said David Sacks, co-founder and general partner at Craft Ventures. “We chose the Sandbox team because of their background in game design; their VR experiences have a level of interactivity – with both the VR world and other players – that we couldn’t find elsewhere. We believe that Sandbox VR is poised to become the first VR experience for millions of consumers around the world.”
The business is in the midst of an ambitious expansion across the U.S., with a newly opened store in Los Angeles and coming soon to New York, Houston, San Diego and Chicago, with a total of 16 sites planned for the end of 2020. Sandbox VR is one of the leading full-body motion capture software immersive LBVR environments and announced earlier this year a $68 m Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz.
“The excitement for Sandbox VR from entertainment and sports icons I grew up idolising reminds me of what I felt when I first experienced what Steve and his team built in Hong Kong two years ago,” said Siqi Chen, president and chief product officer at Sandbox. “We can’t wait to bring this new transformative medium to neighbourhoods around the world”