Recently, another Ukrainian startup, a participant of Kyiv Tech Hub’19 – VR Inn – successfully completed the second seed round, raising $100 thousand from European business angels. Why is it so hard to develop a startup from scratch in Ukraine and how did VR Inn manage to do it? Georgy Gulabyan (CEO) and Alina Karnauh (CMO) personally answered these and other questions. The article details the activities of the startup, their achievements, difficulties they struggled with, dreams, and plans. Have a topic for the next article? Contact us and send your materials.
VR Inn is the first marketplace for full-body free-roam location-based VR entertainment.
Make VR Believable.
New technologies have created the possibility to immerse people into the VR world with one’s entire body and allow multiple players to interact with the VR world the same way they would do in the real world, without any controllers or tethers.
The problem is that full-body free-roam immersion strictly depends on the location geometry, and hardware used. Meanwhile, there is no option for content creators to create their games once and upload them to the market, with no need to care about the compatibility with every arcade. At that, the entrepreneurs who may establish and maintain arcade business often lack new content – and the resources to produce such content by themselves. It’s like building an IMAX movie theater and producing films for it by yourself. One or two a year. Thus, our mission is to make full-body free-roam location-based VR entertainment as popular and accessible as common VR and escape rooms.
Our marketplace can be used by all companies with access to VR locations and the necessary equipment. VR Inn aims to distribute full-body VR content to any location, and it can be accessed by any content developer, and owners of full-body VR clubs will not have to buy the game completely or create it on their own.
And to do that we are developing separate approaches to address the 3 major players on the market:
- Content creators
- Location owners
- Marketplace – us :)
This segmentation will allow us to significantly accelerate the expansion and popularity of that type of entertainment worldwide, and at the same time give us a competitive advantage in comparison with plenty of other games based on our platform\marketplace.
- Our CEO, Giorgi Gulabyan, has 10 years in IT, and 3 years being a CTO of smart home devices company.
- Our CTO, Dmitry Muliarchuk is a tech and gaming junkie with 8 years of experience in game development and team management background.
- Our CMO, Alina Karnaukh, has over 5 years of experience in IT, solid team management experience, and a lifelong passion for gaming.
VR Inn – is a team of highly motivated people with an advisor on board, built at the intersection of tech experience and passion for gaming in general, and VR in particular. By fully employing our geekiness, we don’t just want to see the company generate profits, our ultimate goal is to see the industry advance, and the concept of full-body location-based VR becomes as popular as regular VR or escape rooms. Except – with that Ready Player One look and feel as deep as the widespread technology only allows it.
A year ago, we gathered a team of game specialists and VR enthusiasts and launched VR Inn.
The first seed round for product development was acquired in March 2018 in the amount of $70K – raised by an angel investor and Giorgi himself. The second round came in April 2019 by angel investors, calculating another $100K.
We believe that to give more momentum to the development of the LBE VR market worldwide, we need to support small businesses who want to be part of the location-based VR network. Thus, we built a franchise package that allows SMB to launch full-body VR locations from scratch on very short notice.
Our first franchise package was sold in August 2019. We’ve launched our first location in Kyiv, which we now use as a display and learning case. We even managed to sell 50 tickets to the location prior to the opening date. We are now polishing the marketplace itself, and we have one game fully developed, and another in progress.
The VR Inn team considers the worst enemy of the development and improvement of technology to be the lack of time and its fleeting swiftness. All designers, developers, and investors are sure to agree with the above.
According to Alina Karnaukh, the Ukrainian ecosystem of innovations might embrace far more startups if large, well-established, and successful companies would try and share their business experience in the early stages and be willing to cooperate with promising though small businesses. For example, the VR Inn is constantly in search of expert opinion, reliable strong connections, and networking opportunities in the professional environment.
Last year we saw a Facebook advert and since then we have participated in most of the events, which remain super thank you!
Guys also added that they view Poland as one of the first European markets that her company intends to appear in earnest in the nearest future. So far the company has been collaborating with Austrian investors but has not yet worked with Polish venture funds, but it is only the beginning! The team is aiming at further development and improvement of technology, therefore Polish investors have a wonderful possibility to participate in new rounds of VR Inn 's activity.
Make money, the rest will come :)