Virtual reality is an exciting but largely undiscovered new frontier for digital content. While that opens up a huge world of possibilities, it can also leave content creators bewildered.
That’s where Fish Bowl VR wants to help. The San Francisco-based startup offers on-demand user testing to help developers figure out what resonates and what doesn’t in the virtual reality world.
Fish Bowl’s CTO and co-founder Josh DeSeno helped build game streaming platform Twitch before launching his own VR venture with co-founder Geoff Skow. The company launched this past May, making it the youngest company in Techstars Seattle’s current cohort.
We caught up with DeSeno for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire Feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We help content creators figure out what works and what doesn’t in virtual reality.”
Inspiration hit us when: “When we realized how steep and long a learning curve our developer friends were facing when jumping into virtual reality. They face entirely new challenges and opportunities when designing for how we’ll move in and interact with virtual environments, and we knew from experience that putting apps in the hands of real people is the only surefire way to know you’re on track.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We’re the youngest of the Techstars Seattle group but we’ve focused on sales from day one. We hope to raise funds from investors to expand.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our remote panel of 250-plus VR early adopters from across the world. They are really adept at providing the kind of unbiased, thorough feedback developers can’t get from friends, family, fans and co-workers, and we wouldn’t have a business without them.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Coming to Seattle to join Techstars.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Missing the PAX Prime gaming convention in Seattle. We got to hear all of the great things from local VR people second-hand.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuckerberg, because of quotes like this: ‘Every new generation of technology gives us new and more immersive ways of connecting. Now we have a chance to create the most immersive experience of all — the feeling of ‘presence’ — that you’re actually there. This is going to change the way we play, learn, communicate and collaborate.'”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Trying out new VR demos and experiences! I Expect You to Die and Time Machine are recent favorites.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “An entrepreneurial spirit.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Test your product early and often with real people.”
Editor’s note: GeekWire is featuring each of the 11 startups participating in the Techstars Seattle incubator in the lead up to the Demo Day pitch event on Oct. 27. Techstars applications for its next class are now open.