Fove, a Japanese virtual reality (VR) company with eye-tracking technology announced today it has raised a US$11 million Series A round led by Colopl VR Fund — a fund from the Tokyo gaming company COLOPL.
Other participants in the round were the Hon Hai Venture Capital Fund (A VC fund set up by Foxconn), Silicon Valley early-stage VC firm 2020 and Samsung Venture Investment.
The goal of the funding is to bring the VR device into the mass market by Fall 2016.
Furthermore, some of the money will go towards mid to long-term R&D faculties.
One strategy in the release plan is to put the device in 7,500 Internet cafes in Korea and Japan in an effort to allow more people to experience the technology.
“Taking the VR experience one step further, we are thrilled to have the support of COLOPL, Hon Hai and Samsung. This will help us achieve our goal of creating a more pleasing VR experience that will have a lasting impact on the growing number of users interested in eye-tracking technology,” said Fove CEO and Co-founder Yuka Kojima in an official statement.
Fove is the world’s first VR headset with eye-tracking technology. It also has head and position tracking capabilities.
Essentially, it works by blurring and sharpening the environment according to where the user’s eye is focussing. Furthermore, if successful, it will allow users to make eye contact with characters within the world which would seriously enhance the gameplay experience.
But, most importantly, the company claims the technology will reduce ‘car sickness’ because it decreases the need for unnecessary head movements (a problem that has been a bugaboo for the industry as a whole).
Check out the video below to see how the company explains its product:
Fove has an interesting backstory as it began as a Kickstarter project that managed to raise US$480,650 (almost double the pledged goal of US$250,000) after launching in July 2015.
Recently, a few Kickstarter-funded companies have struggled to pay back supporters as the product was never successfully brought to market. Now we have Fove, which is quite the opposite and can check the ‘positive’ box.
The Copopl VR Fund is worth US$50 million and was started by mobile gaming, VR and data analytics company COPOPL.
Photos and video courtesy of Fove.