Virtual Reality Startup, SmartVizX bags $500K from IAN & Stanford Angels
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SmartVizX, a virtual reality (VR) solutions startup has raised over half a million US dollars from the Indian Angel Network (IAN), Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs India (SA&E India). Startup is the first virtual reality startup that IAN and SA&E India have invested in and has generated a lot of excitement - the investment deal was over-subscribed in less than twenty minutes after opening.
Startup is a virtualization firm that creates interactive virtual environment based on ‘immersive technology’ for business applications and facilitating novel consumer buying behavior. The prime focus of SmartVizX is to help brands and companies do smarter business by implementing virtualization solutions.
The funding was led by Saurabh Srivastava, considered as one of the architects of the IT Industry and entrepreneurial eco-system in India and co-founder of IAN, Mohit Goyal, Founding Member, IAN, and Ajay Lavakare, Member, IAN and Co-President of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs India. This is in fact the second investment by SA&E in India. Lavakare will also join the board of SmartVizX.
Commenting on the investment, Saurabh Srivasatava, Co-founder, IAN said, “The concept of virtual reality application for business is itself is a disruptive idea. The unique mix of architects and game developers at SmartVizX with the strategic expertise which the founders bring to the table makes us confident that they will be able to transform their vision into reality.”
SmartvizX was founded in February 2015 by Gautam Tewari and Tithi Tewari, who are veterans in the space of architecture and design, each with over 15 years of experience. They realized the potential of gamification in everyday decision making using Virtual Reality which allows users to engage and interact better with content and its numerous applications across diverse sectors.
Driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, they quit their secure international jobs and started SmartVizX. Gautam holds a Masters degree in Construction Management from UNSW Australia and is a LEED accredited professional. Tithi holds a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) from CEPT Ahmedabad, and has successfully completed programs in LEAP (Leadership Excellence through Achievement and Practice) from INSEAD and MPSFI (Managing Professional Service Firms in India) from Harvard Business School.
“We are thrilled by the kind of response we have received and the investors who we have on board. Not only have they helped us in assessing the opportunities in front of us but most importantly they bring an extensive amount of experience which will help us in realizing the true potential of our capabilities. Our vision is to enable VR supported processes and decision making in business. We are further motivated by the fast adoption of this immersive technology by established brands which helps them engage better with their target audiences and consumers,” said Gautam Tewari, Founding Director, SmartVizX.
The startup plans to utilized this funding to expand R&D and to launch a new Bangalore center within the first few months. The funds will also be used to grow the team, including hiring a new R&D head and a Chief Technology Officer, that will innovate on products and applications across sectors.
Growth and Expansion Plans
VR hardware segment has seen a lot of action lately with release of Samsung Gear VR and preorders having opened up for the consumer versions of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive; VR content creation is a market that is ready to explode. Some activity has been witnessed on VR game content side of things already; but SmartVizX’ plans of creating VR content for businesses is being seen as an area of massive disruption.
Having worked with prominent brands like Rockworth, Quikr, PNB Metlife, and Developer Group, SmartVizX is upbeat about helping brands utilize potential of VR applications and creating products to maximize business outcomes.
The key focus areas for the company over the next 6 months will remain the real estate and AEC industries but it will also explore new avenues such as listing portals, e-commerce, and the furniture industry to enable better visualization of products & services and enable informed decision-making. SmartVizX also plans to build further virtualization tools in addition to testing new methods of engagement through this immersive technology.
The Virtual Reality market is expected to rise to a $150 billion market by 2020 with multiple levels of functionality across sectors – some yet to be discovered. With virtual reality hardware such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive releasing their consumer version kits, the demand for VR driven content will grow exponentially.