Palmer Luckey of Oculus VR said on Monday that the company has raised $16 million USD in a Series A funding round co-led by Spark Capital and Matrix Partners, along with Founders Fund and Formation 8. The funding will be used to accelerate the development of virtual reality hardware, software and services with a goal to create "a full virtual reality platform" that's not only immersive, but affordable for customers. Representatives from Spark and Matrix have also joined the Oculus VR board of directors.
"We were fortunate enough to be able to pick investors who we thought would be a great fit," he said. "They really believe in our vision for the future of VR. These are people who have taken companies from startup to mass market many times, entrepreneurs who have a ton of meaningful experience building hardware and software consumer technology."
Oculus VR originally generated $2.4 million in funding through its Kickstarter campaign, nearly ten times the project's goal. Development kits were shipped earlier this year, but so far the company has only hinted to a 2014 release window. However Oculus VR CEO Brandan Iribe said there is still a lot more work to be done before the headset is ready for the masses.
"There are still many challenging problems to solve, but with the support of these great investment partners, and our passionate community, we will continue to hire the brightest minds and stay laser focused on delivering the very best virtual reality platform possible," he said.
In the blog published on Monday, Luckey said that the funding will help the company hire "the best and brightest minds in VR from around the world", and to experiment and prototype with more cutting-edge technology. "It allows us to build a badass, consumer VR gaming platform, the likes of which the world has never seen," he said.
"I got into VR because it seemed like the obvious path to the best possible gaming experience, but never expected it to take off so quickly," he said. "In less than a year, incredible game developers all over the world are building games designed explicitly for virtual reality, and people are beginning to understand that the tech is finally viable. Even with 'next generation' consoles on the horizon, VR still came away with dozens of awards and accolades at E3."
While we didn't get a chance to meet with Oculus VR at E3 2013 last week, we did get a taste of Half-Life 2 on the Oculus Rift. Totally badass? You bet, and then some.