Frame Mixed Reality Labs

The Rise and Fall of Jaunt VR: A Tale of Virtual Reality Dreams

While digging out the old DK1 I started thinking about some old VR companies that had mad raisings, like $100M+ and are nowhere ot be seen any more. One company stood out for its ambitious vision and innovative content.

Remember Jaunt VR? Once hailed as a pioneer in cinematic VR experiences, captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. However, despite its promising start, Jaunt VR’s journey was marked by both triumphs and challenges, ultimately culminating in a bittersweet legacy.

Jaunt was founded in 2013, and initially focused on the development of VR capture hardware, including the Jaunt One, a $100,000 professional 3D VR camera. Following a $65 million round of funding in 2015 that was led by Disney, the company refocused on becoming more of a production and distribution hub for cinematic virtual reality.

As part of those efforts, Jaunt hired former Kliavkoff, who previously worked as president of Hearst Ventures, to lead the company. Jaunt also opened up its own studio space in Los Angeles to produce cinematic VR. Jaunt raised more than $100 million in funding, with backers including Disney, Evolution Media Partners and China Media Capital (CMC).

The studio rode the wave of VR hype following Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, but after years of trying to find a business in immersive entertainment, spanning software and camera hardware.

Despite its initial success, Jaunt VR faced significant challenges as it navigated the rapidly evolving landscape of VR technology and content. The company struggled to find a sustainable business model amidst fierce competition and shifting consumer preferences. While its immersive experiences garnered critical acclaim, they failed to achieve widespread adoption beyond niche audiences.

Financial woes and leadership changes further compounded Jaunt VR’s troubles, leading to layoffs and restructuring efforts in a bid to stay afloat. Despite valiant efforts to pivot and adapt, including a focus on augmented reality (AR) and volumetric video technology, the company ultimately announced its closure in 2019, marking the end of an era in VR innovation.

If you’re working in a Silicon Valley startup, you may want to skip the image gallery below that shows a once bustling office now completely devoid of life. Hey, is that a box full of smartphones? Wait, a table full of probably not horribly busted VR motion controllers? A shelf full of Jaunt’s pro-level VR camera?

Though Jaunt VR may have shuttered its doors, its impact on the virtual reality landscape endures. The company’s pioneering spirit and dedication to pushing the boundaries of immersive storytelling paved the way for future generations of VR creators. While its journey may have been fraught with challenges, Jaunt VR’s legacy lives on in the continued pursuit of immersive experiences that captivate and inspire audiences worldwide.