Two new funds to accelerate Virtual Reality

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Early-stage virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality startups have access to more venture capital thanks to two new funds.

Marco DeMiroz, former chief executive of PlayFirst, and Tipatat Chennavasin, former head of mobile game maker Big Head Mode, have announced the establishment of their aptly named Venture Reality Fund. The $50 million VR Fund will be in support of innovative companies active in VR, AR, and MR.

The VR Fund is looking to support innovative companies across a wide variety of sectors – from infrastructure and development tools to content and applications. “We are eager to help entrepreneurs bring industry-defining technology to market faster, and to positively impact their growth path by providing the capital, insights and strategic relationships needed at this critical time,” the fund organizers state on their website.

According to the website, DeMiroz and Chennavasin are joined by Hironao Kunimitsu, Founder and CEO of gumi Inc. as a general and special limited partner The VR Fund which is based in Palo Alto, California, will focus on the on AR/VR/MR startups in the United States.

DeMiroz was previously managing director of Evolution Media Partners, which invested in JauntVR, where he currently serves as a board observer. He is also a board member at the leading mobile marketing company, Swrve, and actively advises various media and technology companies in VR/AR sectors.

Chennavasin has experience creating both interactive VR/AR and 360 degree videos. Previously he was co-founder and CEO of mobile game startup Big Head Mode, which he sold to PlayFirst to focus on VR. He was also the VR expert at Rothenberg Ventures and co-founder of the River New Frontier Accelerator Program.

Kunimitsu, who was born in Japan, studied at Fudan University in China and Santa Monica College in the US. He produced movies and television dramas at Atmovie and in 2007 founded gumi Inc. which was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December 2014.

Across the Pacific in Taiwan, investment firm Cherubic Ventures has launched a $120 million fund to benefit market segments like software-as-a-service (SaaS), virtual reality, robotics, machine learning, and e-commerce. The fund organizers have already received commitments for $70 million.

The new fund will be managed by Matt Cheng, founder and managing partner at Cherubic Ventures. Cheng is an experienced entrepreneur and venture investment professional in Greater China and Silicon Valley. He was selected as "Top 20 under 40" early stage investor in China by Cyzone in 2013 and 2014. Cherubic Ventures was founded by Cheng in 2010.

Cherubic Ventures has invested in more than 80 companies in Silicon Valley, Greater China and South East Asia, including Double, a Hong Kong-based virtual assistant. Cherubic Ventures has offices located in the US and Asia.

The two new funds are the latest addition to a short list of recent funds established in the VR/AR ecosystem. The others are the $10 million Presence Capital Fund and the $50 million Colopl Global Fund both established in December 2015. Andreessen Horowitz, founded in 2009, which has a diverse investment portfolio, has also started to fund VR startups. Rothenberg Ventures, a global frontier technology venture capital firm has made substantial investments in a number of VR companies including VRChat, Emergent V, 8i, AltspaceVR, The Virtual Reality Company and others.