Last year, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) startups raised over $3 billion in venture capital. Coupled with a 47% increase in active virtual reality users from 2017 to 2018, the VR market is set for some explosive growth in the near future.
For marketers, virtual reality’s surging popularity and ability to deeply engage people in immersive experiences and transport them to places they could only imagine going to makes it one of the most exciting emerging technologies in the industry.
But branded VR experiences are still in its infancy. Most marketing teams don’t know how to use the technology to its full potential.
To help you learn how to effectively leverage VR, we decided to make a list of the top VR startups and showcase how they’ve been able to use the technology to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital and build successful businesses.
If you want stay ahead of the VR curve in 2019 and beyond, check out these seven startups.
7 VR Startups to Keep an Eye On In 2019
The third highest cause of death isn’t a ravenous disease or motor vehicle accidents -- it’s medical errors. These errors are usually due to the extreme difficulty of treating each unique patient with absolute precision, especially during surgery.
It’s even harder to mitigate this prevalent problem because the only way surgeons can prepare for an operation is usually by planning and practicing surgery on a generic two-dimensional model of the human body.
Fortunately, with Surgical Theater, a VR system that can combine a patient’s MRIs, CT scans, and angiograms to reconstruct a 3D model of their brain’s unique anatomy, neurosurgeons can explore each of their patient’s arteries, bones, and tissue, accurately plan the surgery, and even practice the upcoming brain surgery on the 3D model.
Brain surgeons also use Surgical Theater to walk patients through their brain’s anatomy and the entire process of their surgery, making patients feel more informed about the details of their procedure.
Neurosurgeons can train with Surgical Theater similar to the way fighter pilots train with flight simulators, and some of the country’s top academic hospitals, like UCLA, NYU, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai, and Stanford University, have implemented the technology to advance their neurosurgery efforts.
Selling a property that hasn’t been constructed yet is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face today. Blueprints don’t do the potential property justice -- it’s almost impossible for people to sense its scale, size, height and depth. The human imagination can only visualize so much.
On top of that, most people are too busy during the week to tour property, so a lot of real estate professionals heavily depend on the weekends to showcase their realty. Getting people to walk through properties that are far away is also another challenge for real estate professionals.
But with VirtualSpaces, a mobile VR technology that can build immersive, three-dimensional visualizations of properties with only a blueprint, real estate professionals can overcome these common challenges.
With VirtualSpaces, real estate professionals can send digital properties to their potential clients at any time, transport them to the property from the comfort of their own couch, and walk them through its entire concept. And this allows them to provide unprecedented convenience, get potential clients excited about the property’s potential, and expedite their sales cycle.
Even though online shopping is more convenient than going to the mall, brick and mortar stores still have one huge advantage over their digital counterparts: dressing rooms.
Last year, Retail Dive surveyed over 1,400 consumers about why they chose to shop at stores rather than the internet. They discovered that 62% of shoppers want to touch, feel, and try out items before they buy them, which you can’t do at most ecommerce stores.
With Avametric, though, brands can build virtual dressing rooms, enabling customers to try on their clothes from their own home. All shoppers have to do is plug in their body measurements into the mobile app and it’ll project a 3D model of their body with the selected outfit on.
Avametric has built virtual dressing rooms for big retail brands like Gap, Ann Taylor, and Alternative Apparel, making it a VR startup with a ton of upside potential.
Practicing a speech without an audience can be helpful, but the experience doesn’t truly emulate the pressure of an evaluating crowd. You can nail a dry run ten times in a row on your own, but when you actually step on stage and see an ocean of people staring at you, the nerves can debilitate your public speaking abilities.
Fortunately, VirtualSpeech can help you hone your public speaking skills -- the app places you on a virtual stage with a virtual crowd, where you can practice your speech or presentation in front of an audience that imitates the mannerisms and sounds of real people. Their movements and noises are fully customizable, so you can ramp up the distractions and virtual judgement as much as possible.
At the end of your virtual speeches, the app will analyze and score your verbal and nonverbal communication. You can also add your own slides into your virtual presentation, practice for job interviews, learn how to network, and sell in a wide range of sales situations too.
Virtual Speech offers soft skills training courses and packages for individuals, teams, and companies too.
Mind control of everyday objects might seem like science fiction today, but with virtual reality, it’s already a proven concept.
Using Neurable’s wireless brain-computer interface platform, people can interact with virtual and augmented reality applications with only their brain activity, avoiding lag-prone technologies like eye-tracking and voice commands.
Neurable leverages machine learning and a non-invasive method of monitoring brain activity called electroencephalography or EEG to accurately and instantly detect what your brain wants to do. And since using your brain is faster and easier than using controllers, brain-computer interface platforms like Neurable could be the future of VR.
6. Vivid Vision
Most healthcare VR startups provide solutions for doctors and surgeons, but Vivid Vision focuses on the people who truly need help: patients. By designing VR games that treat lazy eye, Vivid Vision provides a non-invasive cure to a common eye issue people can suffer from for their entire lives.
Vivid Vision also partners with over 180 eye clinics around the world to provide their most advanced and personalized treatment for lazy eye. But if you just want to do their vision therapy at home, you can get a prescription from your doctor to buy their less complex treatment program.
7. Jaunt VR
Jaunt VR wants to make immersive storytelling the future of entertainment. The startup offers hundreds of 360-degree films, shows, documentaries, tours and concerts on their app, all in virtual reality.
When you slide on your headset, you’ll transport to a virtual room where you can choose from a massive collection of immersive experiences, segmented by 20 different channels. At the touch of a button, you can tour the awe-inspiring Redwood National Park, go through the San Francisco Giants pre-game routine and take the field with them during opening day, or sit back and enjoy Emmy winning documentaries.
Jaunt’s content is already engaging on its own, but in virtual reality, you’ll actually feel like you’re experiencing the events they’ve documented.