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Insights EDU

105+ Funding Sources For Virtual & Augmented Reality Projects

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AIXR Team

28 Feb 2020 | 5 min read

Over the last 5 years VR and AR technologies have had a rollercoaster of a journey. Interest surrounding the technology peaked in 2014, when Facebook announced it would acquire Oculus. This spurred on an army of startups, many whom quickly descended into bankruptcy or administration. Entrepreneurs were entering a market that was not ready for them, vastly underestimating how long it would take for consumers to embrace the technology.

While VR / AR technologies have been stuck as “the next big thing” for a couple of years now, the outlook is stronger than ever in 2020.  IDC made the call that total spending would grow 78% this year, reaching $18.8 billion. If true, these numbers qualify 2020 as pivotal year for VR/AR.

The long history has created a certain skepticism towards XR among investors, something AIXR has worked to tackle since its foundation. That is where our comprehensive list of XR funding sources comes in. We want to get your incredible ideas in front of investors, and bring investment back to XR. Before applying to any of these opportunities, please check out our XR investment guide for tips on reaching people with an effective pitch.

In this article, we highlight some of the best and most relevant funding sources specific to immersive technology, with a more exhaustive list available with over 105 grants, funding opportunities, and VC capital firms with a proven track record in XR.

 

Free download: 105+ XR Funding sources

Get free access to over 105+ free XR funding sources containing detailed information on open grants, funds, VC’s and more.

Government Funding Sources

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (UK):

In 2020, the “Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund” UKRI scheme continues to be a promising option for XR companies at various levels of funding to grow and scale in the UK. The “Audience of the Future” scheme now has several areas being funded: 

  • Demonstrator programme – £16 million demonstrator programme is funding industry-led consortia in the creative industries to create new immersive experiences
  • Production innovation for immersive content – 21 projects have already received a share of £12 million to create faster, more efficient immersive content
  • Immersive technology investment accelerator – £1.6 million to early stage projects bridging the gap between angel, early-seed investment and immersive businesses
  • Design foundations – £1 million has been awarded to 32 projects using human-centered design
  • National centre for immersive storytelling – £10 million national centre supporting the development of cutting edge creative training and research programmes

If you want to hear about future Audience of the Future options, register your interest here.

The Horizon 2020 EU Programme:

The Horizon 2020 EU programme is the biggest EU Research and Innovation program with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years. Horizon 2020 has a focus on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The programme will continue until the end of 2020, so there are still plenty of opportunities to find grants.

International Grants

Unreal MegaGrants:

Epic Games have now changed their previous $5 million development fund into a much larger $100 million in “MegaGrants”. Committed to supporting game developers, enterprise professionals, students, educators, and tool developers, the remit for application is incredibly wide. The grants range from $5000 to $500,000 and you can apply here.

HTC VIVE’s VR Accelerator – VIVE X:

VIVE X is a VR Accelerator that aims to help cultivate, foster and grow the global VR ecosystem, supporting startups and providing education, investment and mentorship. At the moment, accelerator programs are located across the globe in the following locations: Beijing, San Francisco, Taipei, ShenZhen and Tel Aviv.

Unicef Venture Fund:

The fund provides $50,000 – $100,000 in equity free seed-funding to startups registered in one of Unicef’s programme countries, with a strong team and a clear path to impact on children’s lives. 

For this, Unicef is seeking open-source projects showing some positive traction already, but funding would take it to a level where it can attract additional investment.

Venture Capital Investment Sources

Venture Reality Fund

The Venture Reality Fund is working to fund the future of computing including immersive and spatial technology. Together with world-class limited partners, the Venture Reality Fund invests in innovative solutions and promising entrepreneurs across a variety of sectors, from infrastructure and development tools to content and applications. The Venture Reality Fund have previously funded Owlchemy Labs, Beat Games and Facemoji among others.

Super Ventures

Super Ventures specialise in getting Augmented Reality projects funded. Previous successful startups that have benefited from Super Ventures investor network include Gravity Sketch, Cognitive3D and Fringefy. Super Ventures work with start ups and guide them through the funding process including pre-seed and seed capital.

Outpost Capital

Outpost Capital is one of the first Silicon Valley based VC funds that focus on VR/AR and frontier technologies, while maintaining a strong presence in China. Outpost have a strong portfolio of projects including the likes of MOAC, Fable Studios, and UploadVR.

Free download: 105+ XR Funding sources

Get free access to over 105+ free XR funding sources containing detailed information on open grants, funds, VC’s and more.

About the author:

AIXR is an independent, community first, not for profit organisation that exists to support individuals and companies of all sizes as the International trade body for immersive technology industries. AIXR or, The Academy of International Extended Reality, hosts the VR Awards annually. AIXR’s mission is to support individuals and companies in the immersive industry by endorsing, inspiring, and enabling innovators through removing barriers to entry and connecting a diverse collection of trades together.

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