Omni VR treadmill gets $3 million in seed funding

Following Virtuix's announcement earlier this month that its virtual reality treadmill will arrive in July for its early adopters, the company revealed this morning that it received seed funding. Virtuix received $3 million to "expand production and distribution of the Omni," the $500 platform that has players strapping in to a harness and wearing special shoes to run, walk and jump using their real-life legs in games. The seed investment round was led by Tekton Ventures and Maveron.

One of the other investors onboard with the Omni is Radical Investments, a venture capital firm founded by Mark Cuban. Virtuix took a trip to the entrepreneurial ABC reality television series Shark Tank, which Cuban stars on, in an episode that aired in December. In it, Cuban pointed out that Virtuix's Omni is "pretty much based around Oculus Rift" and that "as Oculus Rift goes, you guys go."

Virtuix valued its idea at $20 million, which Cuban and the rest of the cast didn't buy into. "I could see you creating 20 million in sales, 25 million in sales with this, but you're competing just like headsets are going to be competing," he said. "You haven't told me that there's a way to get to 50 million in sales." Given Facebook's recent acquisition of Oculus VR for $2 billion, which was cleared by the FTC this week, Cuban now appears to see more hope for the Omni. Aside from private investors, the other groups that funded Virtuix's efforts this week are Scentan Ventures, Scout Ventures and StartCaps Ventures.
[Image: Virtuix]
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Tekton Ventures and Maveron Lead Group of Investors; Funds Aimed at Expansion of Personnel and Mass Production and Distribution of the Omni

HOUSTON (April 24, 2014) – Virtuix, the developer of the popular and highly anticipated Omni virtual reality treadmill, today announced that it has completed a $3 million seed investment round designed to expand production and distribution of the Omni. Tekton Ventures and Maveron are among the chief investors, joining Scentan Ventures, Radical Investments, Scout Ventures, StartCaps Ventures and a group of private investors.

Virtuix's patent-pending, omni-directional treadmill enables the user to walk, run, and jump within a 360-degree virtual environment, creating an unprecedented sense of immersion and presence within virtual worlds that could span areas such as gaming, fitness, tourism, and social gatherings.

"Virtual reality technology has finally caught up to the vision consumers have had for decades," Virtuix CEO Jan Goetgeluk said. "The Omni transforms seated virtual reality into a fully immersive, active experience. These funds ensure that we can deliver a great virtual reality platform to our passionate existing community as well as to new audiences and markets that are emerging every day."

Tekton Ventures, a seed stage venture fund based in San Francisco, is one of the lead investors in this round. "We believe Virtuix's virtual reality technology will not only disrupt the immersive gaming landscape but will enable even more useful, personal and entertaining experiences in areas beyond gaming: training and simulation, fitness, medical, military," said Jai Choi, Founder and Managing Partner of Tekton Ventures. "The Omni is just scratching the surface to the possibilities and we're honored to be working with Jan and the Virtuix team."

"When I demoed the Omni at the Game Developers Conference this year, I glimpsed the future of virtual reality," said David Wu, Partner at Maveron. "The full body experience was so real that when I finished, my heart was pounding, my legs were tired, and I was completely transported into another world. This technology has the ability to deliver immersive experiences to consumers in a way never before possible."

Virtuix's latest round comes less than a year after the $1.1 million it raised via Kickstarter to launch the company and development of the Omni. In the spirit of the company's crowdfunding roots, Virtuix listed its current round on SeedInvest, a leading equity crowdfunding platform that connects accredited investors with rising companies seeking funding.

Virtuix has pre-sold more than 3,000 Omnis to date and will begin delivering units later this summer. The Omni is currently available for pre-order for $499 per unit at Orders placed today are estimated to be shipped in September of this year.

About Virtuix
Founded by CEO Jan Goetgeluk in April 2013 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Virtuix is at the forefront of virtual reality hardware and is the developer of the Omni – the only omni-directional treadmill that addresses mobility in virtual environments. Backed by the passion of its founders and community, Virtuix raised $1.1M via Kickstarter during the summer of 2013 and has pre-sold more than 3,000 Omni units to date. Virtuix's mission is to lead the virtual reality industry to its ultimate goal of "full virtual reality" as the Omni supports natural movement, engages the entire body, and delivers an unprecedented sense of immersion. Virtuix believes that full virtual reality has the power to revolutionize how we live, learn, work and play.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.