BusinessVR

VR/AR Animation Startup Penrose Studios Raises $10 Million In Funding

Virtual reality animation startup Penrose Studios has closed a $10 million round of Series A funding.

Led by Translink Capital, the funding includes the participation of musician Will.i.am, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Korea Telecom, and Co-Made. Returning investors from the Seed round of funding include Sway Ventures, 8VC, and Suffolk Equity. In that earlier round, the studio raised $8.5 million.

Penrose, founded in 2015, is one of the key studios that has been exploring narrative-driven animated projects in virtual reality, and has gained critical attention for its projects like Arden’s Wake and Allumette. The trailer for its most recent, Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall, can be viewed below:

The San Francisco-based studio is also developing new technologies for creating augmented and virtual reality content. Its native ar/vr creation tool Maestro won the Interactive Innovation Award at SXSW earlier this year. Here’s more about the tool:

The company’s immediate priorities following this new cash infusion are to hire more engineers and artists, continue investment in in-house native ar/vr tools, and focus “on ways to elevate AR & VR as storytelling platforms, through continued partnerships and events.”

“Ar and vr are inherently immersive, and our experiences have increasingly become more social and interactive over time,” says Penrose founder Eugene Chung, who was formerly head of film and media at Oculus VR. “Increasingly, our team is hiring from the video game world. The unique challenge is blending the best that the worlds of film and video games have to offer.”

Adds Chung: “Interdependent architecture also means finding the best ways to reach the end consumer, whoever and wherever they may be. To this extent, we are excited to be operating in an industry that is fertile ground for innovating on business models and finding the most consumer-friendly ways to monetize and grow the health of the industry at large. We don’t like to spoil good surprises, but expect a lot more from us on this front in the months and years to come.”

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