Penrose Studios, the virtual reality media company created by the co-founder of Oculus Story Studios Eugene Chung, has raised $8.5 million from multiple investors, including Accelerate-IT Ventures, TransLink Capital, Suffolk Equity and 8 Angel. It’s the company’s first funding round.
Chung says the money will be used to do the same kinds of things most startups do: add to its headcount and invest in more projects. Penrose specializes in virtual reality films, what Chung refers to as VR “worlds,” and to date it’s only produced two of them (that we know of publicly, that is). The first was “The Rose and I,” which the company showed off last month at Sundance. The second is called Allumette, a short film still in the works that the company is producing for the Tribeca Film Festival in April.
There are lots of people creating material for VR, but the investment in Penrose is notable for a few reasons. For starters, Chung has a reputation in the world of VR films after leading Oculus’ first film efforts, including producing the studio’s first film, “Lost.”
But it’s also a sign that some investors are eager to finance VR films. Gaming and 360-degree videos have been popular, early forms of virtual reality content. But Chung believes VR film studios will crop up just like they did with the rise of the motion picture more than 100 years ago.
“This is a completely new art form, which means you need to build rules from the ground up,” he said. “VR kind of gives you a sucker punch every day. I have to be willing to admit that I don’t [always] know what I’m doing. And that’s one of the hardest things to do.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.