Virtuix raises $2.5 million with its mini IPO, which will go toward its Omni active VR system

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.

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.

Apex Legends adds its first new gun, the Havoc energy rifle

Respawn added the first piece of new content to Apex Legends, the Havoc energy rifle. It's available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC players. The fully automatic rifle can be modded to shoot single-shot energy beams.

Samsung beefs up just about everything in its Galaxy S10 smartphone range

Samsung has unveiled its 2019 flagship smartphone lineup, and there aren't just two phones as usual -- there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.

YouTube changes its strikes system, offers softer first-offense penalty

YouTube announced changes to its strikes system for its content creators. The changes include a softer first-offense penalty for creators who violate YouTube's guidelines and more consistent penalties for further violations.

These are the coolest virtual and augmented reality gadgets from CES 2019

CES 2019 had plenty of VR and AR gadgets on display, including headsets that completely change how you experience virtual reality, and some that don't even require a PC or a phone to run.

These shoes let me stroll through ‘Skyrim,’ and I desperately want to go back

After being funded in just two hours on Kickstarter back in October 2018, Cybershoes has earned itself a place among the coolest VR walking and running tech. At CES 2019, we got to try them out and they live up to the hype.

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

Samsung files a VR patent featuring a curved OLED display

Doubling down on its emphasis on curved displays, Samsung recently filed a design patent for a new virtual reality headset that could feature a curved OLED display, which would be an interesting development in VR.

Bringing realism to VR is complex, but these developers found a way in holograms

Making virtual reality feel real is the hardest job of all VR developers. For Awake: Episode One, StartVR used volumetric recording, rather than motion capture, to bring its characters to life like never before.