Last year, we committed $1M to the River Program; over the next year, we will increase our commitment to $10M.
Our philosophy is to invest in startups pushing the limits of current technology and venturing into the unknown. CB insights recently recognized our focus, listing us along with Google Ventures at the top of its “active VC” in Frontier Tech list. The River Program further commits to this investment strategy by emphasizing Frontier Tech startups, expanding from its original exclusive focus in virtual reality.
The River Fall 2015 Program includes startups specializing in virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, and robotics. Future River programs will additionally focus on space, drones, electronic currency, quantum computing, remotely operated vehicles, and nanotechnology.
Read below for background on the companies selected for the River Fall 2015:
Adawarp is a robotics company that uses virtual reality to control robots remotely. Adawarp’s robots mirror user actions to provide a humanizing solution to long distance communications.
Based in Japan, Adawarp is run by Tatsuki Adaniya, a VR UI/UX expert, and Fantom, a highly skilled embedded systems engineer.
Fringefy uses computer vision to address the large gap between how we think and how we search. Using proprietary landmark and urban recognition technology, Fringefy visually indexes public data points to build the world's largest Geo-Visual repository.
Based in Tel Aviv, the founding team, Amir Adamov, Assif Ziv, and Stav Yagav, have extensive backgrounds in computer vision, machine learning, and mobile development. Assif Ziv’s worked as a full stack developer for corporations such as HP. Amir Adamov was a flight instructor that used augmented and virtual reality visual systems for ten years. Stav Yagav has been programming since he was 14 years old and later studied computer vision at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
GeoCV is a mobile solution for capturing 3D objects and spaces with any phone or tablet. GeoCV’s product will automatically transform 3D scans of spaces or objects into 3D models. 3D sensors in smartphones and tablets are coming in 2016; GeoCV is building a hardware agnostic solution that will capitalize on the 3D sensor industry. View product demo here.
GeoCV has a seven member team based out of Moscow. Its founders, Anton Yakubenko (CEO) and Gleb Krivovyaz (CTO), have been working together for over nine years in the 3D computer vision industry. The team aims to become the default solution for individuals and business to transfer the entire physical world to virtual reality.
GetVu builds hardware agnostic AR software for smart glasses. GetVu aims to build a robust AR platform for deskless workers. GetVu’s first application, a warehouse supply chain solution, automates manual pick and pack processes.
Passionate about futuristic technologies, founders, Santhosh Chandrasekar, Sundar Viswanathan, and Rakesh Ramaswamy, began working on AR three years ago in Bangalore, India. GetVu was one of the world’s first companies to bring hand gesture control (Leap Motion Sensor) into an AR application.
inVR’s platform enables creators to easily convert 3D designs into virtual reality experiences across all platforms. InVR aims to be the platform for 3D VR, a more immersive experience than 360 video. InVR is one of the most popular VR social networks for creators and consumers; the app is available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.
The founders, Eyal Erez and Alexander Krasij, met two years ago at Disney Mobile while working on the mobile game, Temple Run: Oz. Eyal has worked for many years in the VFX/Animation industry and understands the challenges of bridging the gap between offline 3D Animation and real-time VR. Alex has been involved with independent game development for the past 10 years, recently creating a game device called TRIPAD.
OBE Immersive is the first fully immersive input solution that enables users to completely interact with a virtual environment. OBE’s SDK can easily be programmed into any application and will provide full body vibrations, biometrics, audio, temperature and haptic game controls. Joysticks and controllers are not the solution to fully immersive experiences; the OBE Immersive input solution is.
The co-founders of OBE, Linda Lobato (CEO) and Antonio Perdigón (Creative Director), have worked together for seven years as founders at Machina. Linda Lobato was named one of Forbes Mexico’s 30 under 30 and featured as one of Intel’s MakeHers. Machina products consistently sell out in flagship locations across the world - the most famous, The MIDI Controller Jacket, was named "The Most Beautiful Wearable Tech" by Wired UK magazine 2014.
Retinad built the first analytics platform for virtual reality developers and is building the first VR advertising network. Retinad’s platforms provide unique metrics on app install ads, interactive advertising, visual surveys, and heat maps from immersive experiences. Sign up for Retinad’s network here.
Anthony Guay (CTO) spent three years as a software director at Binaloop Software. Samuel Poireri (CEO) previously built Yagi Card in partnership with Mt. Gox to create the first BTC debit card. The founders have been working together for more than two years.
Rival Theory is an artificial intelligence company in the entertainment industry. Rival Theory creates narrative experiences in virtual reality that focus on interactions between human participants and AI-driven characters. Rival Theory fills VR worlds with authentic, emotionally relevant, personal and meaningful experiences with empathetic, compelling characters. The founders, Bill Klein and Amanda Solosky, have been working together for the past five years and have built the premier artificial intelligence and character engine on the Unity 3D game engine. Used by over 50,000 developers and studios, their technology has been used in notable games such as Square Enix, cinematic experiences in Hollywood, interactive advertising, and media outlets such as NBC Universal and Showtime Network.
Vicarious Surgical integrates virtual reality with surgical robotics. As the next frontier for minimally invasive surgery, Vicarious Surgical is creating a technology that is far more capable than existing solutions at significantly lower cost.
Founders, Adam Sachs (CEO) and Sammy Khalifa (CTO), were roommates at MIT and previously worked together at Apple on iPhone design and manufacturing. Both have backgrounds in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.
VRChat is the social platform for user-generated immersive worlds in virtual reality. Through custom avatars, engaging input, and a diverse community, anyone with VR hardware can access a wide range of social environments and experiences. VRChat's Unity customization workflow enables users to rapidly create social VR environments.
Founders, Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey, are experienced game developers and VR thought-leaders. Jesse has been in the gaming industry for fifteen years, previously running his own gaming company for the past ten; Graham previously worked on mobile games at GREE and Zynga.
VrTV is a innovative new platform where VR enthusiasts from amateur to pro can collaboratively build and instantly publish real-time streaming interactive VR. With VrTV's proprietary real-time 3D streaming system all published content is delivered completely on demand to play natively on every device with no installs and no waiting.
Co-founders Benjamin Cooley and Carlo Morgantini are gaming industry veterans and graphics experts formerly from Ubisoft, Zynga, Lucas Arts, and Tell Tale Games.
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