Announcement marks the largest seed round in the augmented and virtual reality industry; Studio expands strategic advisory panel
San Francisco—March 10, 2016 – Penrose Studios, the technology startup known for its advancements in VR storytelling, today announced it raised an $8.5 million seed round. This represents the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) industry’s largest institutional seed round. This funding will enable Penrose to craft new AR and VR experiences as well as expand its team of engineers and artists. The studio will continue to explore the possibilities AR and VR hold, and develop its proprietary content and technology, such as its native creation tools.
The Penrose Studios seed financing was led by Sway Ventures (formerly AITV), with participation from TransLink Capital, Suffolk Equity and 8 Angel. A number of angel investors also contributed to this round.
A leader in VR, Penrose Studios is currently known for its unmatched approach to storytelling through hand-crafted, vibrant visuals. The studio’s work has been recognized and celebrated by some of the film industry’s most discerning critics. Its first piece, The Rose and I, was featured at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals. The studio’s second piece, Allumette, will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016. Additionally, the studio released an app for the Samsung Gear VR called ROSE, currently available in the Oculus Store. Content from Penrose Studios will be available for the consumer versions of the Sony Playstation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
“This is a pivotal moment for us,” said Eugene Chung, founder and CEO of Penrose Studios. “We’ve come a long way from the early stages of this new medium. Today’s announcement marks a milestone for the industry as well as our studio. We are honored to be supported by world class investors who recognize the possibilities of AR and VR, as well as the unique role Penrose has in building that future.”
“We’ve had our eye on the virtual reality industry for some time, and Penrose is creating something special in AR and VR,” said Bill Malloy III, co-founder and general partner at Sway Ventures. “We want to see their work be taken to its fullest potential, and we look forward to watching what they do and supporting them along the way as VR continues to gain momentum in the technology and entertainment industries. Brad Allen, executive chairman of NextVR, will join Penrose as a strategic advisor. In this role, Allen joins American film director, screenwriter and producer Roman Coppola, who has been advising Penrose in a creative capacity.
About Penrose Studios
Penrose Studios is the world’s foremost independent augmented and virtual reality pioneer. The company is currently creating fully-immersive computer-generated (CG) worlds that are experienced through captivating stories and full freedom of movement. The San Francisco-based startup is known for its unprecedented innovation in virtual reality that liberates the imagination and allows viewers to transcend the confines of reality. The first feature VR movie from Penrose Studios, The Rose and I, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015 and was featured in the New Frontier exhibit at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. Penrose Studios was founded in 2015 by Eugene Chung, previously Head of Film & Media at Oculus VR, which was later acquired by Facebook for $2.3 billion. The company’s leadership and staff include pioneers and veterans from many of the motion picture industry’s largest studios. www.penrosestudios.com