Baobab Studios, a film production company specializing in animated VR content, announced that is has secured $6 million in Series A funding from notable investors to produce the company’s first animated film, Invasion!.
Baobab’s founding partners and team of advisers include some of the gaming, technology and film industries’ heavy hitters, and the company has secured funding from some high profile companies and private investors.
Baobab Studios was founded by Maureen Fan, formerly VP of Games at Zynga where she oversaw the studios that produced the Farmville sequels, and Eric Darnell, previously at DreamWorks Animation where he directed the Madagascar movies and Antz. The company also announced it has formed a coalition of animation, production and computer vision experts from a number of top firms that includes DreamWorks Animation Co-President Mireille Soria, Pixar Animation Studios co-founder Alvy Ray Smith, former DreamWorks Interactive CEO Glenn Entis, and Twitch co-founder and COO Kevin Lin.
“Our mission is to create compelling cinematic characters and stories that bring out the innate wonder in people and inspire them to dream of new worlds they never imagined before,” said Baobab Studios CEO and co-founder Maureen Fan. “With our investors, team and partners, we have the foundation to become the preeminent animation studio for VR.”
Baobab’s team of tech, gaming and film industry veterans impressed some high profile investors enough to secure $6 million in a Series A funding round that was led by Comcast Ventures. HTC and Samsung Ventures were among the companies that invested, as were Advancit Capital, Chernin Group and Freelands Ventures. Baobab said that Mark Pincus, co-founder of Zynga and Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal, invested their own money into the company as well.
If you own a Samsung Gear VR, you can see the first sneak preview of Baobab’s first project, Invasion!. The company said that the Invasion! sneak peek is available through Samsung Milk VR and that it will be releasing more content on the Milk VR platform through 2016. Baobab also noted that it is working with HTC for film distribution as well.
"Baobab has one of the strongest teams in VR," said Phil Chen, chief content officer and founder of HTC Vive. "Their combination of technology, creative storytelling, and business talent uniquely positions Baobab to become the Pixar of VR. We are excited to be working with them to make VR mainstream for consumers over the coming years."
It looks like Oculus Story Studio is going to have some stiff competition in the animated VR film space in the coming year. This can only be good for consumers.