Virtual reality allows you to experience anything a developer can come up with. Sights and sounds are brought directly into your headset, and you can just sit on the couch and take it all in. Controller support and other peripherals allow you to interact with your virtual world, but you can still remain mostly stationary. For those who want to immerse themselves further in the fantasy, there’s active VR. Virtuix’s Omni, a system that combines a treadmill, harness, and special shoes to give you a broad range of movement, allows you to run, backpedal, and even jump. Originally launched on Kickstarter in 2013, the company has now released a mini-IPO publicly, raising $2.5 million in the first 24 hours.
According to a press release, over 500 private investors, along with five institutional investors, have purchased shares, including 2020 Ventures, Scentan Ventures, Western Technology Investment, Tekton Ventures, and Scout Ventures.
“Virtuix is transforming the inherently limiting seated or room-scale VR setup to a fun, engaging, and social Active VR experience,” says Noriaki Okubo of Scentan Ventures. “We invested in Virtuix because they are the Active VR category leader with a passionate and driven team that is determined to revolutionize VR gaming, fitness, training and simulation, and many other applications.”
Historically, investors in private companies were vetted by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and approval was based on income and net worth. Only two percent of Americans were eligible for this type of investment. Thanks to new regulation under Title IV of the JOBS Act, which passed through congress in June 2015, the general public can now invest in private tech startups right alongside the heavy hitters. Virtuix is offering Series A preferred stock to the public at $2.33 per share as of this writing.
“We are thrilled to see the overwhelming response to our stock offering,” says Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix. “We are excited that our community can now participate in our financial future and be part of the next chapter of our story.”
We tried the Omni at CES, which was available with three FPS-style games. Armed with a virtual rifle, we made our way through one of these games and were impressed with the layer of immersion.
Texas-based Virtuix has raised over $9 million in private funding over the past two years. The VR firm has pre-sold more than 4,000 Omnis and started shipping units to customers in December 2015. With the new capital injection, the company seeks to grow (the team currently consists of 31 people) while further refining and developing its products and technology. Home and commercial applications can include entertainment, training and simulation, and virtual tourism. The Omni is compatible with leading headsets and is available for pre-order at $700. Virtuix is accepting investments through the online SeedInvest platform.