Television

Walt Disney bets big on virtual reality; invests in Jaunt

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MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company is betting big on virtual reality and has invested in Jaunt - a cinematic virtual reality (VR) company.

Jaunt has raised $65 million series C round of funding led by The Walt Disney Company; Evolution Media Partners – a partnership of CAA-backed Evolution Media Capital, TPG Growth and Participant Media; and Chinabased China Media Capital (CMC).

The new investors will greatly expand Jaunt’s global reach, providing significant resources and relationships to help make VR the next mainstream content medium.

Jaunt leads the industry in innovation through its unrivalled end-to-end solution for creating and distributing premium live-action VR. This latest round of funding will enable Jaunt to significantly scale up VR production, and advance their professional-grade camera hardware and software production tools, delivering content to the widest array of mobile devices and VR hardware in the industry.

In addition, Jaunt plans to use the funding to significantly grow their teams in both their Palo Alto headquarters and their new Los Angeles studio.

Additional new investors in the Series C round include leading European media companies ProSiebenSat.1 SE and Axel Springer SE, and The Madison Square Garden Company. They join existing participating investors that include Google Ventures, Highland Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Sky and SV Angel. 

The new round brings Jaunt’s total funding to over $100 million. With these new additions, Jaunt’s investor group offers a global network of deep ties to the largest brands, franchises, talent and technologies, across all entertainment and media, as well as partners who add unique perspective and experience as Jaunt continues to expand and innovate.

“This round further illustrates our commitment and dedication to advancing the scope of cinematic VR – for filmmakers, storytellers, and audiences alike. With the support of these world-class companies, we will explore new avenues, building on our leadership position to deliver amazing VR experiences using best-in-class tools, technology, and creative teams,” said Jaunt CEO and co-founder Jens Christensen.

“Brands, artists, and creatives are looking to reach and interact with their audiences in new innovative ways, and Jaunt’s expertise provides a groundbreaking medium for exploring these new avenues. We look forward to working with Jaunt as they continue to pioneer in this space, giving them access to our wide-reaching network, and expanding on their distribution potential,” said Evolution Media Partners founder and co-managing partner Rick Hess.

In recent years, advances in technology and mobile devices have made fully-immersive VR possible and accessible to the masses. Jaunt is at the forefront of this content revolution, and is partnering with the leading content creators as well as technology and media companies to take VR to the next level. Jaunt currently works with notable brands and creative artists including The North Face, Rebecca Minkoff, Condé Nast and ABC News, and is looking forward to building relationships with new and innovative creators across a wide variety of verticals.

“We have been closely monitoring the evolution of video technology on the global horizon, and are excited about the potential for VR. It is having implications in areas such as film, television, games, sports, mobile, as well as other entertainment content and experiences where CMC has a profound connection and substantial engagement. Jaunt will be an important step in CMC’s foray into this global entertainment technology revolution,” said China Media Capital chairman Ruigang Li.

“When Jaunt launched a little over 2 years ago, VR was the domain of a few enthusiasts like us. Fast forward to today, with the ability to view VR content on any current smartphone, and a half dozen head mounted displays launching in the next 12 months, the addressable number of users will instantly be in the millions, and quickly grow from there. We look forward to supplying great content to all those users and contributing to the success of VR as a new content medium,” said Jaunt chief business officer David Anderman.

This funding comes on the heels of Jaunt’s recently-announced 5th generation patentpending camera system, officially named Jaunt ONE, which is built from the ground up for VR, and after two years of testing, pushes the limits of technological innovation. The company also announced Jaunt Studios earlier this year, a new arm of the company focused solely on developing, producing and collaborating on live-action virtual reality experiences from its LA studio.

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