IDEABOOST Launches Bespoke Investor Session with The VR Fund’s Tipatat Chennavasin

By Margaret DeRosia ● September 15, 2017 11:45

Projection on screen in a dark theatre.

Panoramic views of the Toronto harbour at CORUS Quay greeted a select group of 30 VIP investors on Monday, September 11. They were on hand to meet seven of the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab’s (CFC Media Lab) investment-ready startups in IDEABOOST Cohort 6.

Hosted by the CFC Media Lab’s IDEABOOST team and Corus Entertainment, this exclusive, biannual event marked a new and more intimate spin on the traditional demo day. Investors enjoyed extended one-on-one chats and interactive demos with company founders, while networking with the IDEABOOST Investment Advisory Group and other media and entertainment investors in town for ElevateTO and the Toronto International Film Festival.

Man and woman sitting in a sunny space, engaged in conversation.

Adam Adelman, one of the co-founders of Mighty Cast's Nex Band, with Suzanne Stein.

IDEABOOST Cohort 6 founders there to pitch included:

  • Brinx, pitching Masterpiece VR, a collaborative sculpting and painting tool to create 3D content in VR
  • Deep Inc., pitching Liquid Cinema, an interactive immersive video platform for cinematic VR
  • Eigenuity, pitching Madlipz, a voiceover app evolving into a social platform
  • Itsme, pitching both Itsme and Itsme 3D Inc., an app that generates photorealistic full-body 3D avatars
  • Little Robot Friends, pitching its edtech platform and programmable robots for teaching children about electronics and coding
  • Mighty Cast, pitching The Nex Band, a programmable and ambient-paradigm smart band
  • Synervoz, pitching Switchboard, smart audio and voice communications software that enables spontaneous chat for users between mobile, PC and IoT devices in real-time

Colin Bohm, EVP, International Development & Corporate Strategy, Corus Entertainment, kicked things off, letting everyone know that CORUS has been a founding partner since 2012 and continues benefitting from access to these “innovative media and tech companies."

Woman at a podium, speaking to people in a theatre.

Ana Serrano, Managing Director of IDEABOOST, sharing the advantages of IDEABOOST services and programming.

Bohm next introduced Ana Serrano, Managing Director of IDEABOOST. She underscored the bespoke nature and key advantages of IDEABOOST’s services and programming, which include both acceleration and commercialization activities with partners around the world like France and Korea. IDEABOOST boasts a roster of advisors with deep domain expertise, not just in media and entertainment, including AR, VR, MR and XR, but also in general business strategy focused on product/market fit, customer acquisition and sales.

IDEABOOST regularly collaborates with multiple other accelerators and investors globally to support companies at varying stages in bringing their products to market. Its companies may be venture-backed, like Synervoz’s Switchboard; have products already in-market, like Mighty Cast’s The Nex Band; or be developing products in seed round, like Little Robot Friends.

Members of an audience applauding.

An appreciative audience of IDEABOOST mentors, investors and company co-founders take in one of the demos.

As an accelerator, IDEABOOST only takes in companies by invitation and participation in its gateway program, Network Connect. Serrano invited investors to recommend additional new companies who would benefit from joining this digital entertainment startup community.

Expert investor Tipatat Chennavasian, General Partner, The VR Fund, also was on hand to present his latest data on VR’s economic potential and robust capacity for growth in the next few years. He revealed just why and how investing in immersive technologies in entertainment has such strong value.

Man at podium, referring to data on a screen projected to his side.

Tipatat Chennavasian, General Partner, The VR Fund, presenting valuable intel on location-based entertainment.

Chennavasin reported that last year’s news on VR suggested sales of hardware were not as strong as initially predicted, and, therefore, that adoption may not be as imminent or widespread as initially predicted. Yet he countered this argument with compelling data on high growth in both VR software and location-based entertainment. Spaces like arcades, lounges and theatres for VR are growing globally faster than anticipated right now, not in some projected, hypothetical future.

Furthermore, almost all major media companies have invested in VR divisions and content, with their production divisions moving full-circle to transform how traditional media gets made as a direct result of VR. Witness Garth Edwards using VR to direct Rogue One’s digital scenes, Chennavasin said – just the start of a wider overhaul.

Three men speaking at a demo booth.

Tipatat Chennavasin with Mike Sevigny and Aden Bahadori, Co-Founders, Torus Media Labs, at their demo.

Post-pitches, both investors and founders were keen to take advantage of this smaller-scale format to connect. A networking reception concluded the night, with Network Connect companies Xesto and Torus Media Labs joining their IDEABOOST partners to demo as well.

Tonight’s session meant investors had a chance to really get their hands on the products they’d just heard about. Founders got an inside shot at personalizing their pitches for key prospects. By evening’s end, no one was in a hurry to leave, enacting IDEABOOST’s main mission – building readiness for investments and global connections.

A banner in foreground and men standing in a room in background.
IDEABOOST is a Toronto-based accelerator and startup community for companies building the next generation of technology-based media and entertainment products, services and brands. To learn more about IDEABOOST and to join this community as a Network Connect member, visit us HERE.

All photos by Brian de Rivera Simon.

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Margaret DeRosia

Communications Specialist/Digital Writer & Editor