13 of the Best Funding Resources to Check Out to Finance Your VR/AR Idea
Last Updated: August 13 2022
So you have the next big idea for VR/AR – congratulations! Maybe Circuit Stream helped get you there through our courses, or maybe you’re an innovator looking for how to get your tech startup, well, started. In any case, we’ve done the digging to find funding resources and investors to take your virtual idea into reality.
It will be helpful if you already have an idea of what niche your idea fills. What will your VR/AR technology or program do? Let’s say it’s a program about environmentalism and aims to preserve your region’s wetlands from development. So, take a look at funding for environmentalist efforts. In other words, think outside the technical box when applying for funding and investors.
This is a long list of potential options for funding. Building your network is the first step of kickstarting your project, which is why local and online meetups are a great opportunity not to be missed. To get started, check out the funding bodies below.
Sometimes finding the right person is where is at. Signal collected more than 400 Seed Investors who are known to invest in the AR/VR and immersive technologies. If you don't like venture capital groups, this might be the right choice for you.
Boost invests in startups around the world and in a variety of technologies. Whether you’re working in VR/AR/MR, drones, or blockchains, if you’re suggesting a technology pushing the boundaries of science, Boost has an interest in you!
This resource is for Canucks only! The CMF supports more than just television and film: they have two programs of interest to VR/AR folks: commercial projects and innovations. Innovations is the most related to VR/AR development thanks to its emphasis on interactivity, but communicate your idea in the right way and CMF’s commercial projects becomes relevant as well.
Magic Leap's development fund helps developers and creators alike bring their AR app to life. With dev and marketing support, plus any hardware you might need, this program is well-suited to help any individual or startup make waves in the industry. Not only do you own the IP rights, but you are free to publish the finished product on any platform — the only hitch is that you must publish your app on Magic Leap.
Are you based in Canada with a more established company in the need for funding? MentorWorks might be just what you’re looking for! Of their four streams, research and development, and capital investment and technology adoption are the two most relevant here. New VR/AR tech can be a barrier for startups, and MentorWorks can make it possible for you to stay ahead of the technological curve.
Presence Capital focuses on early-stage investments, making it a great option when you’re just getting started. They have many success stories, like Escher Reality who went on to join Niantic, the company responsible for Pokemon Go. Contact Presence Capital here.
Qualcomm is a chip manufacture who has been supplying the hardware for majority of popular VR headsets (among them Oculus, now Meta Quest and Quest 2). The company recently announced a $100M Snapdragon Metaverse Fund. The fund is meant to support innovative developers and companies building immersive experiences with AR, mixed reality, and VR.
"It is anticipated that the fund will deploy capital through a combination of venture investments in leading XR companies by Qualcomm Ventures and a grant program by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. for developer ecosystem funding in XR experiences such as gaming, health and wellness, media, entertainment, education, and enterprise."
An investment network like Tech Stars often provides many opportunities in addition to funding. For example, Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships – meaning there’s opportunity to develop your skills in the industry in addition to developing your project.
No, really! UNICEF is investing in VR/AR applications that help the organization reach and assist children in its programme countries. While this is a rather unique opportunity with its own niche, there’s a chance your idea fits what UNICEF is looking for. Check it out!
Venture Lab connects you and other entrepreneurs with investors, resources, and more to get your project off the ground. If you’re finding it hard to build your network, Venture Lab is a great place to start! They offer mentorship with other entrepreneurs, incubation programs, and venture services.
An angel investor are often one-time investors in small startups and are often private individuals, or informal investors. Depending on the size of your startup, you might be wary of getting involved with a large funding body; in this case, angel investors (also called seed investors) might be a better fit for you. This handy list shows you some potential investors to contact and start building your network!
Venture Reality supports VR/AR/MR technologies working in infrastructure, development tools, content, and applications. If you’re in this field, Venture Reality is a great resource. They are a part of the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA), meaning they have connections across a network of investors.
Speaking of VRVCA, why not apply directly to them? Members meet every two months to discuss pitches, so their deadline is always moving. Or, check out who is on their members list and apply direct.
Many hardware VR/AR companies provide funding to developers building content, models, and apps. Vive is one such example, but check out Unity, Unreal, Oculus, and more to see what’s available. That being said, if your VR/AR idea is a game, Vive is a great option due to its relationship with Valve.
Startups like Door Dash or AirBnB got their feet in the door thanks to investors like YCombinator. YC brings startups to Silicon Valley during a 3-month intensive where you develop and polish your idea before launch. Since they bring you right into the heart of the tech industry, you’ll start to build your own network during the YC process.
Yes, you read that right. Perhaps the most obvious choice for your AR/VR education is your company. Many employers reserve a budget for personal and professional development for their employees. Most of the time employees aren't aware of these policies or are afraid to ask. We've provided you with email script and a template to ask for your AR/VR education. Check them out.