Virtual reality is one of the hottest sectors in the tech economy, and today’s $4 million in funding for software maker Envelop VR announced reinforces this.
The Bellevue, Washington-based Envelop VR is making enterprise software that enables other businesses and consumers to embrace VR, an immersive technology where you wear goggles and transport yourself into a virtual world. The category is so hot that Facebook bought Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion. Tech adviser Digi-Capital forecasts that VR will be a $30 billion industry by 2020.
The Seattle-based venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group led the funding round. Envelop VR says it is creating enterprise and productivity software that enables businesses and consumers to create, work, and play in a virtual reality environment. The company is preparing to release its product into the hands of select VR developers this winter, before VR headsets hit the mainstream market next year.
Envelop said it will use the funding to build the engineering and business teams behind Envelop’s software. Envelop VR made the announcement at the second annual SEA-VR 2015, a conference and expo for virtual reality companies and projects in the Pacific Northwest. Envelop VR’s chief executive Bob Berry organized the conference last year, and the company helped the event double its size this year. The companies announced the investment as Madrona
Madrona wants to invest in early-stage startups in this industry. In June, the firm announced a new $300 million fund that would be targeted at information technology startups and called out virtual reality as a growing area of interest for the firm. Envelop VR marks the first virtual reality software company that the firm has invested in.
“The team at Envelop has an incredible understanding of how virtual reality will dramatically increase productivity and improve efficiencies within a number of critical industries,” said Matt McIlwain, the managing director at Madrona, in a statement. “The software they are developing will reinvent the way in which we will use computers and smart headsets in the future, and for the better.”
Berry said it was an honor to get the investment from Madrona.
“Matt and the Madrona team share our same incredible passion about this transformative technology and its vast potential. These immersive technologies offers an entirely new way to interact with computers, data and humans,” Berry said in a statement. “We expect to see the same explosive growth as we did with the mobile phone industry.”