If virtual reality fails, it won’t be for lack of funding.
HTC announced a $100 million fund and accelerator program to back VR startups. Dubbed Vive X, the program is launching in Beijing, Taipei and San Francisco, but plans to expand to hubs around the world in the near future.
“We are very excited about gathering the brightest and the most creative minds to join Vive X,” HTC CEO Cher Wang said in a statement. “Virtual reality is changing the world, yet to do that effectively it needs a healthy ecosystem to expand into the mass market.”
HTC, which has its U.S. headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., will pilot the program in Beijing next month, inviting startups from around Asia to apply to the program. Chosen companies will get access to VR experts, hands-on coaching and office space in various cities, in addition to $50,000–$200,000 in funding, all in return for a “small amount” of equity.
The program is open to companies working in any industry looking to create content or tools using virtual reality. Even accessory companies are encouraged to apply. Companies can be new to the market or have experience in the nascent VR industry.
While the Vive X fund is “led by HTC,” it’s unclear if other groups will participate in backing these companies. VR has seen a lot of funding from a variety of investors in recent months as both the HTC Vive and Facebook-owned Oculus Rift shipped to consumers.