We've heard a lot about virtual reality (VR) lately. It's not hard to hear about it, thanks to the Oculus Rift, the PlayStation VR and a host of other developments. It's impossible, however, to talk about VR without talking about the software, the only thing making VR more than a series of pricey paperweights. One of the most promising software developers, Envelop VR, recently concluded its Series A funding round, and brought in more than double what its Seed Round took in.
The Series A round, featuring substantial investment from both GV and Madrona Venture Group, brought in $5.5 million for Envelop VR, which was more than double its initial Seed Round total of $2 million. The total is now $7.5 million, and that clears the way for Envelop VR to start developing software for VR environments. Envelop VR's focus is on productivity software, giving both enterprise and consumer-level users the opportunity to “create, work and play in a virtual reality environment.
Envelop VR expects its initial offering, the Envelop Virtual Environment (EVE) ready to go when the bulk of VR headsets—like the Oculus Rift and HTC (News - Alert) Vive—go live later this year. With EVE, users will be able to have multiple windows open at once, and be able to organize those windows accordingly. Those creating VR content will get further benefit, as there will be no call to switch from VR headset to regular computer monitor as is commonly done now; with EVE, programming can be done in the headset, and the output of said programming can also be viewed therein.
Joe Kraus, GV general partner, noted “Immersive computing isn't just a consumer phenomenon; business and productivity applications will greatly benefit as well. The Envelop Virtual Environment is about making it easy for businesses to bring their applications into VR.”
While we often think of VR as just another big gaming option, we don't often consider how much else VR can do, a point which drew Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert) in sufficiently to buy Oculus for Facebook. While we might indulge in visions of VR vacations in exotic locales or having the best seat in the house for any live performance, its productivity applications aren't often considered. With such a system, any user can get the private office that dreams are made of, and it can even have a positive effect on noise in the call center. With a VR system, the user can be largely self-contained; background noise can be cut down with some simple design expedients even in an open-floor office by just encasing the agent's head.
VR has a lot of applications, and with companies like Envelop VR at work we'll likely see more such applications come into play. Productivity VR isn't something many thought of, and Envelop might be one of the first companies into a potentially profitable niche market.