I woke up to some news on Facebook that a pretty momentous-sounding meeting went down last night at CNDY Factory between members of the VR Venture Capital Alliance and local VR leaders including Williard Williams, Trond Nilsen, Thomas Le, and Eva Hoerth. Here’s an excerpt of CNDY Factory head honcho Tim Reha’s FB post:
We had a fortuitous meeting with Mr. Alvin Wang Graylin, China Regional President of VR at HTC / Chairman APVRA / President VRVCA last night CNDY Factory …For next steps we discussed creating a NW to China / Asia VR delegation for startups and executives. We need to organize our angel networks and create an immersion program where we educate our angel investors to better understand VR/AR/MR so they reduce their knowledge gap and gain confidence in funding new companies. We have a two year window to put the NW on the global map and create a new industry so we need to move fast. The new group will be called the “Venture All Stars Cascadia Alliance”. We will support the best startups and prepare them from the ground up for Alvin’s $10 Billion dollar VR VC Alliance. Fuel the Jet, we are going to China.
I have a feeling that this is one of those meetings that will be given a paragraph or two in somebody’s future history of the VR industry. I’ve been talking to Tim off and on about how a VR content production industry might take root in the Pacific Northwest. The bones of such an industry exist. Seattle has the companies that make the software to create VR experiences. Vancouver is one of the world’s major film production cities, with the facilities and talent that could easily convert from 2D film to VR. Portland has become a trend-setting creative capital and is full of artists and free thinkers. If we were to ally ourselves as Cascadia VR and capitalize on our position on the Pacific Rim, we could become a true VR Content powerhouse. One crucial piece of this puzzle is venture capital. It’s tremendously exciting that these conversations are starting to happen at CNDY Factory.
Speaking of CNDY, Tim also just announced the founding members of his advisory board, which is stacked with an impressive roster of Northwest VR leaders. Here they are:
- Bob Bonniol, Modes Studios
- Forest Key, CEO, Pixvana
- Mike Franz, CEO, Panogs
- Mike Moskowitz, CEO, Jetstream Software
- Alexander Haque, Developer Relations, Retinad
- Chris Bobotis, CEO/Founder Mettle
- Alex Telstine, CTO, Streambox
- Trond Nilsen PhD., Researcher, Game Designer, RatLab, LLC.
- David Feuillatre, Director/VX Supervisor
- Willard Williams, VR AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) Group
- Greg Howes, AEC VR Group, Seattle VR Hackathon
- Todd Tibbets, Co-Founder, Mountain Zone
- Topher Welsh, Founder, Seattle After Effects Meetup User Group
CNDY Factory also lists Music and Audio Technology advisors Steve Turnidge, Chris Hegstrom, and Michael Shrieve as well as studio partners Ron Jones’s Sky Muse Studios and Robert Lang Recording Studios.
I’m sure Tim and those mentioned above would agree that there needs to be women on this list, and perhaps reaching out to the AR/VR Collective would be a good place to start. I can think of a dozen women working in VR in Seattle off the top of my head who’d provide tremendous value to these conversations.
CNDY Factory is providing Seattle with a node at which VR thinkers and leaders can learn, exchange ideas, develop strategies, and chart the future of virtual reality. Lots of great news coming from that creative space. Fuel the jet!