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AmazeVR, a virtual reality concert platform that allows consumers to experience their favourite musicians’ VR concerts via content creation tools, revealed today that it has raised $15 million in a round that was quickly oversubscribed.

Smilegate Investment, Quantum Ventures Korea, ABC Partners, Everrich Group, GS Group’s corporate venture capital firm GS Futures, We Ventures, Base Investment, and Dunamu&Partners, as well as previous backers Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, Partners Investment, and Timewise Investment, co-led the new funding.

AmazeVR has received a total of $30.8 million since its founding in 2015, and the firm expects to seek a Series B in early 2022 to continue its fast expansion, according to the company. AmazeVR’s co-CEO Ernest Lee told TechCrunch that the new funds will be used to expand the company’s workforce. AmazeVR started in 2021 with 12 people, but now has a total of 41 staff in Hollywood and Seoul, according to Lee.

“We’ve been successful in attracting top talent from the [music, entertainment, technology, and gaming] sectors,” Lee added. “This puts us in a great position to take advantage of virtual reality’s and the metaverse’s expanding popularity by delivering beautiful virtual reality concerts from big musicians to theatres and subsequently to homes across the globe.”

Fans now have unparalleled access to their favourite musicians thanks to social media, yet they are still separated by a screen.

AmazeVR’s VR concerts bring fans face-to-face with their favourite musicians, creating a personal connection, according to Lee. Users would create avatars, interact with one another, and attend virtual reality concerts together.

In an interview, Lee said, “Our goal is for the technology to be so good that it becomes invisible, so that the fan’s memory isn’t of a great VR experience, but of actually coming face to face with their favourite artists in fantastical immersive environments, blurring the lines of reality.”

JB Lee, Steve Lee, Jeremy Nam, and Steven Koo, all former executives of South Korean messaging service Kakao, established AmazeVR, which is based in Los Angeles with a Seoul branch. Following Kakao’s first public offering, the four co-founders uprooted their lives in Seoul and relocated to Silicon Valley to pioneer the future of virtual reality.

AmazeVR has been developing virtual reality technology since 2015, according to Lee, and has shifted its focus entirely to virtual reality concerts in late 2019.

Even before the epidemic, the firm saw the need for a more immersive music experience via VR concerts; nevertheless, the music industry remained aloof and hesitant, partly due to concerns about cannibalization of live performances, their most profitable income source, according to Lee.

The current coronavirus epidemic has hastened market adoption, enabling AmazeVR to swiftly achieve product-market fit. People started to recognise that VR concerts are not live concerts but a new genre of entertainment as the music business got more open-minded about new technology, Lee concluded.

“The music business is in desperate need of a paradigm change, and numerous firms have been attempting to invent the next big thing.” “We’ve seen several attempts ranging from live streaming to virtual concerts to Fortnite events as a result of the epidemic,” Lee told TechCrunch. “All of these other alternatives merely add to what already exists, and none of them really captures the cover value for fans — a personal connection.”

Megan Thee Stallion, a three-time Grammy winner, will headline AmazeVR’s first commercial VR performance, which will tour select AMC Theatres throughout the United States this spring. According to Lee, the firm has already acquired its second artist, a worldwide A-list performer, and is close to securing the third. Years of R&D resulted in proprietary 9K cameras and software that can automate complicated unreal engine-based VR concert visual effects (VFX) modules and operate more than 100 headsets at simultaneously for its inaugural VR concert tour. By 2024, the company expects to ramp up its content development, with new VR concerts being released weekly for both in-theater and at-home audiences.

“You really need to experience our VR concerts to get a full grasp of how impactful they are. VR can finally blow all 2D experience out of the water. Thanks to our technology, we can evoke a real sense of presence you can’t get from a screen, the feeling that your favorite artist is right here, face to face with you,” Lee said. “This opens up a new dimension for music, one of the first new ways for artists and fans to connect since recordings appeared. We’re thrilled that investors are grasping this and are supporting us as we innovate and grow.”