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Kaleidoscope launches funding platform for premium VR content

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Virtual reality festival Kaleidoscope is launching a platform for raising money for premium VR content. The funding platform is an outgrowth of René Pinnell’s VR showcase, which debuted in 2015.

To help VR industry leaders get their projects off the ground, Pinnell created Kaleidoscope’s invitation-only marketplace, where VR leaders can get a first look at new VR films, games, and experiences that are available for pre-sales, licensing, and other partnerships. The marketplace is limited to 500 members.

Kaleidoscope has identified 120 different sources of potential financing, including companies like Facebook, Google, and HTC, as well as emerging sources such as Viacom, IMAX, Wevr, Within, Arte, and Starbreeze. These are the companies that are building VR hardware, VR software, VR distribution platforms, VR arcades, and VR cinemas, and they fund content to establish themselves as major players in this new entertainment landscape.

“You can think of us like AngelList for the VR entertainment industry,” Pinnell said in an email. “Kaleidoscope has spent the last two years building a network of all the major funding sources for VR content as well as a network of top VR creators. What we are building is essentially a marketplace that brings artists and funders together. “

The role of Kaleidoscope is to get all of these industry players on one platform to better coordinate their support for talented VR creators and studios.

Leaders in the VR entertainment industry can apply to join Kaleidoscope’s platform, which is launching with many of the most innovative projects from the Sundance, Tribeca, and IndieCade festivals, as well as new work from established studios like Baobab and rising auteurs such as Eliza McNitt, Arnaud Colinart, and Arjan van Meerten.

If selected, funders will pay $200 a month to get a first look at curated projects from top artists; access to Kaleidoscope’s growing library of over 100 titles ready for licensing, distribution, and location-based exhibitions; invitations to private events where select members demo and review new VR projects; and the opportunity to network and collaborate with important artists and innovators.

Kaleidoscope is also offering its members services — from custom curation to content bundling to personal introductions — that help them push their businesses forward.

Part of the monthly fee also goes to supporting independent artists from diverse backgrounds whose work tackles difficult subjects and advances virtual reality as an art form.

“The biggest challenge to the future of virtual reality is funding,” said Pinnell, cofounder and CEO of Kaleidoscope, in a statement. “And we want to solve that problem. It’s a chicken-egg situation. Artists need funding to make killer content, and funders need to prove there is a massive consumer market to sell to in order to justify their investment.”

Pinnell said he sees a future where clunky VR headsets shrink to the size of ordinary glasses and virtual reality overtakes traditional gaming, film, and TV as the dominant form of entertainment.

Within 12 to 24 months the next generation of VR hardware will hit the market, with major improvements in terms of both quality and price.

“That’s why the industry needs to rally around funding content now. It takes 12 to 24 months to produce high quality VR films, games, and experiences,” Pinnell said. “We need to fund projects today so that when the next generation of hardware is released we have a deep library of amazing content ready to go. Only then will the industry take off.”

“Kaleidoscope has been an invaluable partner to Oculus in discovering and working with emergent VR creators,” said Colum Slevin, head of experiences at Oculus, in a statement.

Kaleidoscope was founded in October 2014 by entrepreneurs (and spouses) René and Selena Pinnell.

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