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Jaunt, a VR company with Big Media connections, has hired Hearst exec George Kliavkoff as its new CEO

Jaunt has raised more than $100 million from Disney, Sky and other media backers.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

You don’t need more signs that virtual reality has captured the attention of the established media world. But here’s another one anyway: Veteran media exec George Kliavkoff is leaving Hearst to run Jaunt, a virtual reality startup.

Jaunt, which has been without a CEO since co-founder Jens Christensen left in May, makes a hardware and software suite for VR that includes everything from VR cameras to a VR app.

Jaunt has raised a reported $100 million, some of which comes from Very Big Media Companies including Disney and Sky; it is also making a big push into China.


Kliavkoff has spent much of his career working in and with Very Big Media Companies. Since 2009, he has been one of two execs that managed Hearst’s relationships with its TV investments, which include a sizable minority stake in ESPN and half of A&E Networks. He has also been running Hearst’s venture portfolio, which includes bets on BuzzFeed, Science and Roku.

Kliavkoff’s resume also includes stints at NBC*, where he helped launch Hulu, as well as Major League Baseball’s tech arm and RealNetworks.

At Jaunt, Kliavkoff says he wants to beef up the company’s workforce and push further into international partnerships.

Like lots of other VR fans, he argues that the industry is still in its most nascent stage. He’s focused in particular on finding and creating content that will shift the industry from exciting curiosity to mainstream acceptance — à la “Serial” and podcasts.

“There are great, amazing stories that will show the power of this platform, and we want to be sure that we are the ones producing them with our partners,” he said.

* NBCUniversal owns a minority stake in Vox Media, which owns this site.

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