UPDATED 12:00 EDT / MAY 19 2021

EMERGING TECH

Virtual reality collaboration platform Avatour raises $2.9M in seed funding

The virtual reality telepresence platform Avatour today announced it has raised $2.9 million in a seed funding round led by Ulu Ventures.

Avatour allows a host to use a low-cost 360-degree mobile camera onsite to broadcast video to up to 20 remote guests, who can then view the scene in immersive virtual or augmented reality as if they were actually present. The platform uses off-the-shelf hardware and standard WiFi or high-speed LTE cellular connections in order to keep expenses down, and, as a result, the host can easily connect with anyone from almost anywhere.

Using Avatour’s platform it is possible to remotely bring in multiple guests onsite without the expense of flying them across the world for a tour of a facility. To do this, guests don a VR headset or view the scene through a desktop/laptop screen or a mobile device, which brings them virtually into the room with the host.

The host and participants communicate with each other in real time, looking at the same images and location, in a 360-degree view. The guests see each other as customizable three-dimensional avatars blended with the real world.

“Businesses conducted over 2 billion site meetings in 2019, from inspections to facility tours to site-specific training,” said Avatour co-founder and Chief Executive Devon Copley. “While travel has always been expensive and inconvenient, the pandemic has emphasized the need for a more efficient option. Our unique and easy-to-deploy solution makes effective remote site meetings possible for the first time.”

Avatour’s immersive nature makes it an effective use case for numerous applications for numerous industries such as real estate, construction, property management, hospitality, training, recruiting and entertainment.

Not having to travel to a site can save companies a lot of money, and being have to “be there” without being there is a brand-new experience in a lot of ways. That’s the power of the immersive experience of AR/VR.

Current customers include the Federal Aviation Administration, Thermo Fisher Scientific, multinational food company Kellogg’s and engineering firm Black & Veatch.

“Working with Avatour’s technology has transformed Black & Veatch’s ability to engage with infrastructure clients around the world in just a few clicks,” said Ryan Pletka, vice president of innovation and strategy at Black & Veatch. “Throughout the pandemic, our ability to provide a deeply immersive meeting experience — while remote — has been a game-changer, creating operational efficiencies and promoting collaboration between our clients and our professionals.”

The company intends to use the seed funding to continue to expand its platform and scale its technology into new markets internationally.

“With the increased demand for virtual solutions over the past year, we’ve proven our business model and technology,” said Copley. “This latest infusion of support enables us to double down on a platform that’s already making a huge impact for our customers worldwide.”

Photo: Avatour

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