Oculus acquisition fuel interest in virtual reality startups

By Nicel Jane Avellana | Mar 27, 2014 08:47 AM EDT
Image shows a screenshot capture of the website of Virtuix Omni. (Photo : Virtuix Omni)

Facebook Inc's intention to purchase Oculus VR Inc has fueled interest other virtual reality startups like Virtuix Omni, Bloomberg News reported.

The $2 billion price tag for Oculus, whose virtual reality spectacles have not yet been introduced to the market, highlighted the importance now placed on the rapidly emerging virtual reality space. Even Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said that after mobile, virtual reality will become the next big thing as far as computer platforms are concerned, the report said.

Virtuix Omni Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jan Goetgeluk told Bloomberg News, "My inbox has been flooded by investors who want to touch base." His startup makes a device that looks like a treadmill that allows users to move in computer games by also using their feet. He is now discussing with private and institutional investors for a $2 million venture funding round. Two other virtual reality startups, Avegant Corp and Vuzix Corp also revealed that bigger firms have also gotten in touch with them and the interest continues to grow, the report said.

Goetgeluk added, "A big player like Facebook entering the space is a great validation on how virtual reality will be a mass-market medium, reaching mass-market audience."

Based in Houston, Virtuix Omni was able to get its initial funds of $1.1 million from crowdfunding site Kickstarter Inc. The next step, according to Goetgeluk, is for them to deliver their product. So far, they have already received 3,000 preorders at $499 each for their product, the report said.

According to Recon Analytics LLC Analyst Roger Entner, companies like Sony Corp, Microsoft Corp and even Google Inc could potentially become interested in taking over Virtuix Omni. However, Goetgeluk said they have not obtained such offers to date. He told Bloomberg News, "If we received an offer, we would assess it then."

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