Thursday, June 3, 2021

2021 VR/AR Global Summit Notes - Raising funds for your VR/AR Initiative

This is a collection of take-aways, thoughts, and notes from attending the 2021 VR/AR Global Summit panel on fundraising for your VR/AR initiative. 

XR Job Series - Raising money for your project or company tips

  • Don't forget to look into government and corporate financing programs. This isn't a comprehensive list but I did some research and here are programs that I think local VR/AR businesses might be interested in.
    • For BC, Canada this would be looking into Creative BC Interactive Fund
    • Research and Development Tax credits. For example SR&ED.
    • Innovate has programs that can be beneficial
    • For this fall you might want to pay attention to The Canada Foundation for Innovation. They will be hosting a competition in fall 2021 for the 2023 Innovation Fund .
    • If your AR/VR project has a community focus or social benefit you should also consider corporate grants
      • For example Rogers Wireless provides grants to organizations who have a focus on helping youth.
    • Reach out to organizations who are aligned with your vision and could be strategic partners.
      • They might not have funding they can provide at the moment but there may be other benefits that you could leverage. Establishing these relationships before going to angel investors or VC would also be advantageous.
  • Have a 6-12 month plan for what you would do with funding. A panelist mentioned that he expects the businesses that he invest in to have a commercially viable product within 9 months. It's important to get gauge and get an initial reaction to the VR/AR product or service.
  • What makes your VR/AR initiative unique?
    • Your chances of receiving funding will be low if a quick google search of your idea brings up competitors who are similar and you don't have a differentiation factor.
  • Founder Dynamics. If you are not a solo-founder, you should be aware that they will try to evaluate your relationship and dynamics with your co-founders. This was stressed as an important aspect for several panelist.
  • A "No" might not always be a "No". One of the panelist who has raised a lot of money mentioned that for a lot of their deals the reason why they got it was because they didn't give up. Situations change and new developments for your VR/AR initiative may change investors mind and convince them to invest with you.  
  • How COVID has impacted the way they look at investing in VR/AR
    • There is now a lot less resistance to investing in teams who are distributed.
    • If you were operating prior to COVID they will be expecting to hear how you utilize the increased interest in VR/AR.

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