Bob Berry is confident about two things: The virtual reality industry is about to take off, and Seattle will be an epicenter for companies apart of this new movement.
Berry is CEO of Envelop VR, a new Bellevue-based startup that is creating productivity and enterprise virtual reality (VR) software.
Envelop VR is less than a year old and is now looking to reel in some cash. A new SEC filing reveals that the company wants to raise $3 million.
In an email interview with GeekWire, Berry wouldn’t comment on the funding, but did discuss a bit about what his new company is all about.
“During this nascent period of the industry, our target customers are VR early adopters, such as developers creating VR content, and select enterprises that see virtual reality as a new means to solve existing challenges,” Berry said.
Berry is a VR veteran, having studied the subject in Japan nearly two decades ago. He noted that VR is a “technology that has had a number of false starts,” mainly due to hardware that “would make people sick.”
“Having to end a day of research early because you made yourself nauseous was a common occurrence,” Berry said of his studies in Japan.
But thanks to hardware advances that have helped people consume VR content more easily, Berry noted that companies can finally begin meaningful work to build VR software. He’s bullish on what’s in store for the next several years.
“VR offers an entirely new way to interact with computers, much like the mobile industry, and because of this, we believe this new industry will experience the same explosive growth,” he said. “At Envelop VR, we see real opportunity to enable in software the advances in virtual reality hardware.”
Berry also touched on the Seattle region, and how it can become a hotbed for virtual reality companies. His company actually hosted a VR summit this past October, where more than 300 people and a dozen Seattle-based VR companies attended.
Meanwhile, Oculus VR opened an R&D office in the Seattle area last year, while other local companies like Valve and Atomic VR are also working on virtual reality technologies.
“It’s the perfect market because we have so many video game companies here, which means a wealth of real-time 3D graphics talent,” Berry said of Seattle. “Although VR will ultimately reach far beyond the gaming industry, the best VR developers in the world will initially come from gaming. Seattle is positioned to be a major player and Envelop VR will lead the way in software development and content.”
Berry is also CEO of Uber Entertainment, a seven-year-old video game development studio in Bellevue. Envelop VR is a separate business from Uber. Berry noted that while he is still CEO of Uber, he hasn’t been involved in day-to-day operations for more than a year.
“Uber is and will continue to be an independent game studio making great games, while Envelop explores the VR space beyond gaming,” he said. “I am excited to be part of both.”
Other Envelop VR executives include CTO Jonathan Mavor, who co-founded Uber Entertainment with Berry, and COO Steven Santamaria. Envelop VR said it will have more to announce in the coming weeks about its progress.