Media giants invest in NextVR

Live-action virtual reality broadcast technology company NextVR has sealed a $30.5m (€28.3m) Series A funding round with participation from leading names in sports and entertainment.

NextVR said the new strategic relationships will help it introduce a range of live virtual reality programs, including professional sports and other events.

Investors in the Series A round include Time Warner Investments, the strategic investing arm of US media group Time Warner Inc and Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of US mass media firm Comcast.

Other investors include Peter Guber, chairman and chief executive of Mandalay Entertainment, co-owner of NBA basketball champion the Golden State Warriors, MLB baseball franchise Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Soccer expansion team Los Angeles FC.

RSE Ventures, a sports and entertainment venture firm co-founded by Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins operating and investing in new technologies and companies such as club football competition the International Champions Cup and NFL American football team Miami Dolphins, has also invested along with the Madison Square Garden Company and live event programming producer Dick Clark Productions.

The funding round was led by Formation 8, a firm with a track record of successful investments in virtual reality. Brian Koo, a founding member of Formation 8 and an early investor, technical advisor and board observer in Oculus prior to its sale to Facebook, will join NextVR’s board of directors.

“This first-class group of investors is a major validation of our virtual reality technology platform,” Brad Allen, executive chairman of NextVR, said. “We are focused on delivering a great virtual reality experience and the key is great content. These investments reflect the relationships we are building to provide marquee content.”

NextVR has utilised its live broadcast platform through initiatives with the likes of the NBA, ice hockey league the NHL and stock car-racing series Nascar. On October 27, NextVR partnered with the NBA and Turner Sports to present live, in virtual reality, the opening night match-up between the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans.

Founded in 2009, NextVR previously raised $5.5m through a funding round in 2014.