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Launching IMMERSIVE.LY - the global landing page for business and consumer guidance in the VR/AR landscape

VR and AR are growing explosively as powerful consumer and enterprise technologies. Everybody will be affected within the next years, but most of the reporting today makes it seem complex and inaccessible for most people. Immersive.ly is the news and information portal that guides individuals and businesses in a simple and user-focused way. We're building a new kind of indie media house to accelerate user adoption of immersive tech, while boosting revenues for passionate content creators.

Investor proposal

Having already built the biggest VR/AR news website in Scandinavia, we have now allied with international media partners giving us a 10X increase in reach. Our team is knowledgeable, passionate and laser-focused on executing our innovative business model. We have recruited a senior advisory board whose members routinely create industry-disruptive products and companies, and our domain is one of the hottest tech segments for the coming 5-10 years. Summary: Great team, timing and collective knowledge in our extended network. Exit plan: Acquisition by big media conglomerate at 50-70 MSEK valuation within 3-5 years, or IPO.
B shares only. 1/10 voting rights compared to A shares.

Product

The problem this product solves

VR and AR technology will change the world in unexpected ways, for both individuals and businesses. There is no VR/AR information platform to answer non-technical questions: how will your business or your life be affected - or disrupted? As immersive technology reaches wider adoption, the questions will grow and mature. What are the coolest gadgets to get? Where in the world does the most exciting development happen? How can VR/AR be made of use in business vertical X? People and business are looking for guidance on these questions, but most information today is presented in a technical, "nerdy" way.

How the product solves it

At Immersive.ly, the world's most knowledgeable and passionate indie experts and influencers share their editorial content related to VR and AR. All collected in one place, the visitor can find articles, videos, podcasts etc from different handpicked contributors. Contributors each have a special area of focus within immersive technology, covering specifically one geographical market ("Sweden"), one usage field ("science/academia"), one platform ("Google Daydream") or a topic ("VR game reviews", "enterprise AR applications", "VR in education, etc"). Together, we cover all angles of this complex landscape. All of this is presented in a beautiful, easy to navigate web magazine layout.

Product features

Immersive.ly is not only an information central for consumers and businesses. It also functions as a talent management network for the content contributors. Members in the Immersive.ly expert network all receive a boost to their own individual online platforms as a result of being displayed on Immersive.ly. Benefits include SEO effects (through crosslinking, guest posting, joint promotions etc between Immersive.ly members), increased ad revenues (through better total reach and increased traffic coming from Immersive.ly), a stream of B2B/biz dev opportunities (speaking engagements, consulting, etc) and an AI-enabled, semi-automated workflow for rewrites and data reports from text analysis of VR/AR news.

Product use cases

The all-inclusive content on Immersive.ly serves many purposes for different intentions from its readers and visitors: Consumers will find out about the best games and gadgets from passionate game reviewers. Professionals will find guides, case descriptions and special reports about the implementation of immersive tech in the workplace. Researchers will find the best curated library of studies and meta-studies about AR/VR.

Team

Niclas Johansson avatar
Niclas Johansson CEO
Ran special projects / biz dev at wearable tech startup Narrative. Founded Bar-deli: premium bar snack brand. Learned media sales "back when print media died" with Bonnier. Serial entrepreneur in marketing, sales, business development for 10+ years.
Johan Hägerström avatar
Johan Hägerström Editor in Chief
VR enthusiast who started vrsverige.se in 2013, growing it to Scandinavia's biggest VR news site before being acquired in the formation of VRS Media Production AB. Experienced public speaker, formerly a high school teacher and IT technician. Owned a VR headset 15 years ago.
Joel Ring avatar
Joel Ring Business Development Manager / co-founder
Joel holds a bachelor of science in embedded systems. After four years as a software developer, he tried his wings as a lifestyle entrepreneur, sailor, commercial airline pilot, private math tutor and and boat instructor. 10 years ago, he bought the domain www.virtualreality.se with the goal to create a VR ... See more
Joel holds a bachelor of science in embedded systems. After four years as a software developer, he tried his wings as a lifestyle entrepreneur, sailor, commercial airline pilot, private math tutor and and boat instructor. 10 years ago, he bought the domain www.virtualreality.se with the goal to create a VR community and a business. Today, he is making his vision for Virtual Reality come true together with the rest of the VRS Media Production team. See less
The immersive.ly content partners avatar
The immersive.ly content partners The starting lineup of partner sites
Haptic.al (the biggest VR publisher on Medium.com), VRnerds.de (the biggest German VR site), Daydreamdistrict.com (the biggest Youtube channel and site dedicated to Google Daydream VR), vrsverige.se (Scandinavia's biggest VR site)
Daniel Daboczy avatar
Daniel Daboczy Senior advisor, board member
CEO/Founder, Fundedbyme. Deep network and knowledge about crowdfunding, B2C and B2B product companies.
Extended VRSverige team avatar
Extended VRSverige team Freelance writers, event staff, project admin
Surrounding our core founder team we have 10+ local part-time team members, with a wide diversity of ages, gender and backgrounds. (Pictured: Eva Kindlundh, writer and VR Open House coordinator.)
Daniel Swenson avatar
Daniel Swenson Senior advisor
Ex-Co-Founder Bloglovin. Deep technical expertise in building scalable media tech ventures.
Michael Werner avatar
Michael Werner Senior advisor
Media entrepreneur with decades of experience. Started TV3 in Sweden. Founder of Boxer, Co-Founder of Magine, etc
Stefan Lampinen avatar
Stefan Lampinen Senior advisor
Launched Sega Megadrive in Nordics, MD for EA Nordics, exec positions at Nokia, Warner Bros, Microsoft. Game industry expert and VR ambassador.
Oskar Kalmaru avatar
Oskar Kalmaru Senior advisor
Co-founder/CMO of wearable camera startup Narrative, deep expertise in PR.
Janne Lundqvist avatar
Janne Lundqvist Senior advisor
Innovation adviser, chipster, frequent jury member, ex-Virgin, #musictech, Wacken Metal Battle

Market

Target Market

IDC (International Data Corporation) is expecting the AR/VR spending to accelerate in growth, totaling $143.3 billion in 2020 (growing from $6.1 billion spent in 2016). Consumer growth will be fastest in the beginning, but will be overtaken by growth in enterprise/industry applications - discrete manufacturing will be the biggest segment by 2020 in the US, which will be the biggest market (Source: https://haptic.al/virtual-and-augmented-reality-revenue-to-hit-13-9-billion-in-2017-87ea03cba5e5#.2n42gookm). We will expand our content partner network accordingly - first consisting of creators of broad information for basic guidance, then evolving to deeper expertise with more hands-on instructional and qualitative information and savvy consumer guidance.

Competitive landscape

No big traditional media house has launched a serious news/guide website or sub-section of a bigger website dedicated to monitoring immersive technologies. The biggest independent websites/blogs are UploadVR and RoadToVR. Those and a multitude of smaller websites / indie media platforms are mostly very focused on a startup/engineering/enthusiast audience - they are all very passionate about the shift from mobile/tablet and laptop computer interface to Head-Mounted Displays for VR/AR, and they love using nerdy/technical language in their reporting. There are now new websites, podcasts, youtube channels etc coming up by the hundreds - some of them showing promise.

Unique differentiator from competitors

Immersive.ly, as evidenced by the two first members in the network - vrsverige.se and haptic.al, are looking beyond the shift to these technologies. We believe we need to cater to the "post-VR" scenario - when immersive tech is natural to everyone, just like our smartphones today. So our content is aimed at the non-nerds: regular professionals and consumers who might just be curious about VR and AR right now. We want to capture our audience bottom-up by focusing on the everyday impact of VR and AR - the nerds are already doing enough for the top-down perspective.

Company revenue streams

- Online ads (from programmatic advertising)
- Affiliate ads (viable because of the super-targeted long-tail niches of the Immersive.ly content network)
- Job placement ads
- VR production commission/kickback
- Educational services (live classes, speaking engagements, online courses)
- Information products (industry reports, etc)
- Event revenues (tickets to big events, sponsor/exhibitor fees, corporate gig revenues)

Product/service distribution

The information from our media platform flows with the help of the members of our network - all content contributors will do a co-branding integration of the Immersive.ly membership on their respective platforms (widgets on the site, pre-roll videos, etc). Content will be optimized for easy social sharing

Execution

Previous milestones/traction

May 2016: Acquiring vrsverige.se through a co-founding partnership
June 2016: Partnering with Embassy co-working space and together building Scandinavia's biggest VR company cluster in central Stockholm
June 2016: Have 350 guests participate in the first VR Open House event
September 2016: Reach 1000 people introduced to VR by us
January 2017: Struck VR Open House main sponsorship deal with Symbio
February 2017: Launch virtualreality.se as sales channel for local B2B services
February 2017: Partner with IDG Webbdagarna Academy as sales channel for VRSverige live course
March 2017: Allied with 3 international content partners for Immersive.ly, multiplying potential audience by +10x


Next key objectives

June 2017: Reach break-even for vrsverige.se / local B2B business with 4-5 staff
August 2017: Launch immersive.ly MVP
December 2017: Reach 20 expert members in immersive.ly
January 2018: Launch "Newsroom as a service" (an AI automation tool for editorial workflow for immersive.ly members)
February 2018: Launch the world's first/biggest consumer-focused VR/AR fair/tradeshow in Sweden

Previous Financing

- 100 000 SEK for 10% at start of company in June 2016
- 440 000 SEK for 8,8% in January 2017

Partnerships

VR producer network of 10 preferred partners: Enables us to capture and get revenue from company leads seeking VR/AR production
Content partnerships with VR sites and ambassadors in other markets (immersive.ly network) : Multiplying our reach, generating B2B and B2C revenue streams
Partnerships with IDG, Box Experience, Svenska Möten: Lead generation for our local B2B services (currently our main revenue source)
VR community partnership with Sthlm VR Meetup: Entrenches us in the local VR developer community through visibility in local events

Use of funds

30% Marketing: Paid traffic, PR and social media / community management operations.
20% Sales operations: one person to drive local B2B revenue (ads, events, services).
30% frontend development / design including brand integration work for content partners and embedding of our content stream on big media websites.
20% technical product building (mashup of open API services for a worklow automation MVP).

Industry Certifications/Awards

None - but we will establish and distribute these kinds of awards ourselves (to "best local VR/AR company/product/corporate project", etc)

Return on Investment

Exit plans include possible acquisition by big media conglomerate or tech company on a 3-5 year horizon, at a valuation of 50-70MSEK, alternately possible IPO. Plan to raise series A financing round within 12 months of equity crowdfunding round.

Risk Analysis

One or more of the big media conglomerates (or a site such as Buzzfeed etc) launching a VR/AR news portal could be a threat to us, but our domain expertise is deep, our execution is nimble and our business model out-innovates anything in traditional media. Rather than compete, we can ally with them and offer to embed our content widget on their sites.

UploadVR might possibly have an "VR expert contributor network" in their plans as well. We would counter this, again, by focusing on our different position - aiming for the mainstream audience rather than the technical enthusiasts.