VirZOOM's game development team in Cambridge, MA and San Francisco, CA creates specialized VR exercise games, designed to bring out the best in their full-motion VR Game Platform with patent-pending motion controls.
Those games allow users to command a tank in battle; a horse in a western town; a flying Pegasus through a southwestern canyon; an Apache helicopter in a firefight. VirZOOM's SDK for Unity and Unreal also allows third party VR game developers to create VirZOOM versions of full-motion VR games for Oculus, Vive, and PlayStationVR. VirZOOM's Bluetooth module can pair with iOS and Android mobile VR platforms for mobile VR gaming.
VirZOOM is working on a PC game controller emulator, which would will let customers use VirZOOM with many of their favorite video games. They are also currently in conversations with fitness and gaming industry leaders, which they believe will be able to adapt VirZOOM technology for a wide range of applications, such as fitness, gaming, and education.
The VZ Controller weighs approximately 38 lbs. It can be used by kids or adults, from 4' 4" to 6' 2" and weighing up to 260 lbs. It takes up 26" x 24" of floor space when opened and stores in a 13" x 24" space. VZ Games are arcade-style games that vary from competitive games of skill, to relaxing, exploratory experiences. Third party developers can use the VirZOOM SDK to create an expanding universe of VR games and experiences for VirZOOM.
VirZOOM believes there is a consumer need for convenient and fun exercise that doesn't require serious discipline. They base this belief, in part, on the following:
- Every year wholesalers spend more than $3.7 billion on fitness equipment
- Over $22 billion is spent on health club memberships yearly
- Only 27% of teens meet minimum CDC guidelines for physical exercise
- 97% of teens play computer, web, portable, or console games
VirZOOM believes that when users play games on the VirZOOM Gaming System they get exercise without realizing it.
Addressing VR Challenges
- Physics in VR: The founders believe that real world physics don’t translate well into VR world physics, and that that lack of translation is one of the root causes of VR discomforts, such as nausea. Their view was that if they could control the way that a user's gaze leads the turning of his or her virtual body and avatar, they would be able to virtually eliminate locomotion discomfort for a vast majority of users. Malafeew filed patents for VirZOOM's VR motion controls, which they have refined through application in multiple games and feedback from alpha sites and play testers.
- Intuitive VR game controllers: Since in VR, a user's field of vision is covered, users of VR are not able to see game controllers. The founders believe that most specialized VR controllers require a steep learning curve, but that VirZOOM's xbike-based VR game controller is familiar and intuitive to those who know how to sit on a bike, pedal, and steer.
- VR safety: Because in virtual reality, a user's field of vision is obscured, there are typically safety problems associated with moving in the real world while using VR. With VirZOOM, the user is seated on a VZ Controller, with extra-wide stabilizers to limit safety concerns.
Pricing and Availability
Starting in June 2016, VirZOOM plans to sell the VirZOOM Game System for $399.95, which will include five games. The VZ Live monthly membership that comes with the controller will give customers early access to games, multiplayer mode play, fitness tracking, and other online benefits. VirZOOM plans to sell VZ Live for 99 cents to the first 1,000 VZ Early Adopters. Using telemetry built into the games, VirZOOM will be able to tell which games early customers are using, for how long, and how often. VirZOOM intends to use this data to set an initial monthly membership price in Q4 2016, which they currently anticipate will be $9.95/month. VirZOOM expects to be able to increase the monthly membership to $19.95, since they anticipate that the library of 1st party and 3rd party VZ Games will grow.
VirZOOM started taking pre-orders from its web site in Q1 2016, and plans on offering online sales through major online stores, including Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. Starting in 2017, VirZOOM plans to sell OEM versions of its products via partnerships with major fitness equipment and gaming industry leaders. They view VirZOOM controller technology, motion controls, and games to be a key differentiator from fitness equipment makers, and that these differentiators will help their equipment stand out as more advanced and fun than other fitness equipment. Discussions with commercial partners are underway.
Awareness and Demand Generation
VirZOOM plans on continuing to create awareness through PR campaigns that target national media outlets such as The Today Show. VirZOOM targets a broad range of media outlets with family, health, and wellness-oriented audiences, with messages such as "gaming that's good for you" and "workouts without the work".
Licensing and Security Infrastructure
VirZOOM recognizes the importance of a security and licensing architecture that enables VZ Game System licensing for subscription, pay-per-use, and other revenue models and protects its intellectual property. As such, VirZOOM has designed:
- Licensing authentication firmware, software, and server-side services to support monthly membership payments collection and enforcement and help prevent hardware and games replication and pirating
- The VirZOOM VR Motion Controller (VZ-C) to act as a security dongle to VZ Games, games built with the VirZOOM SDK, and the VirZOOM PC Controller Emulator (the VZ-C operates (i.e. provides sensor data to games) with a secure time-stamped license corresponding to each VZ-C unit and the user’s VirZOOM membership)
- VZ-C firmware to be updatable over-the-air if VirZOOM needs to revise the encryption protocol
VirZOOM believes that this licensing and security infrastructure will make market opportunities available to it that might otherwise be commercially impracticable. Specifically, VirZOOM is exploring VR arcades in China. VirZOOM has set aside 25 units of its first production run to fulfill pre-orders and expected future orders for this purpose. They are pursuing an opportunity to partner with fitness equipment makers to create a more robust, commercial grade exercise bike, modified to incorporate the VZ technology, and have conducted a test of Internet communications of the VZ protocol from China to U.S.-based servers.
The VirZOOM Controller harnesses users' movement in the real world to control their avatars in the virtual world. VirZOOM's development team has created arcade-style, multi-player-enabled, VR exercise games, designed to keep teens moving.
The VirZOOM controller is built on a folding x-bike base with integrated sensors to track pedaling speed and direction. The faster a user pedals in the real world, the faster his or her avatar moves through the virtual world. Custom action buttons, triggers, and D-pads on the VZ Controller handlebars control game functions, from shooting to voice communications in multiplayer mode. Heart rate sensors collect data that's displayed in-game to tell users how much exercise they're getting while they play.
Eric Janszen lives in New England, where biking enthusiasts who hope to stay in condition are stuck on stationary bikes indoors in the winter. One cold winter day in the early 1980's he was riding a stationary bike in a basement fitness room. Bored, he closed his eyes and imagined himself pedaling through a 3D wireframe world, a game that challenged him to quickly choose between branching tunnels for points. Wire frame was as much graphics detail as he could imagine for VR, given the limitations of computers and video screens at the time.
Not until he met with his friend Eric Malafeew in early 2014 did the vision of VirZOOM start to come together. In early 2014, Malafeew built a VirZOOM prototype using his daughter's bike, a laptop, and a DK2. After several experiments, the co-founders were convinced that a great VR motion product could be created.
Soon, the two founders realized that games could be made that cause users to react emotionally and physically to VR and that, by designing the games the right way, they could channel those reactions into physical activity to keep users moving. They believe that unlike traditional exercise bikes, VirZOOM games so deeply engage users that they do not even notice that they are exercising. Most of VZ's games can also operate in multiplayer mode, which they believe increases user engagement. With an internet connection, users can play VirZOOM with other VZ players, anywhere in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you complete your investment on SeedInvest, your money will be transferred to an escrow account where an independent escrow agent will watch over your investment until it is accepted by VirZOOM. Once VirZOOM accepts your investment, and certain regulatory procedures are completed, your money will be transferred from the escrow account to VirZOOM in exchange for your shares. At that point, you will be a proud owner in VirZOOM.
Preferred equity is usually issued to outside investors and carries rights and conditions that are different from that of common stock. For example, preferred equity may include rights that prevent or minimize the effects of dilution or grants special privileges in situations when the company is sold.
A convertible note is a unique form of debt that converts into equity, usually in conjunction with a future financing round. The investor effectively loans money to a startup with the expectation that they will receive equity in the company in the future at a discounted price per share when the company raises its next round of financing.
To learn more about startup investment types check out “How to Choose a Startup Investment” in our academy.
To make an investment, you will need the following information readily available:
- Personal information such as your current address and phone number
- Employment and employer information
- Net worth and income information
- Social Security Number or government-issued identification
- ABA bank routing number and checking account number (typically found on a personal check or bank statement)
Because VirZOOM is offering its securities under Rule 506(c) of Regulation D, your status as an Accredited Investor will also need to be verified and you will be asked to provide documentation supporting your income, net worth, revenue, or net assets or a letter from a qualified advisor such as a Registered Investment Advisor, Registered Broker Dealer, Lawyer, or CPA.
Until a closing occurs, you may cancel your investment at any time, for any reason. You will receive an email when the closing occurs and your shares have been issued. If you have already funded your investment and your funds are in escrow, your funds will be promptly refunded to you upon cancellation. To cancel your investment, please go to your portfolio page.
Currently there is no market or liquidity for these shares. Right now VirZOOM does not plan to list these shares on a national exchange or another secondary market. At some point VirZOOM may choose to do so, but until then you should plan to hold your investment for a significant period of time before a “liquidation event” occurs. A “liquidation event” is when VirZOOM either lists their shares on an exchange, is acquired, or goes bankrupt.
You can return to SeedInvest at any time to view your portfolio of investments and obtain a summary statement.
This is VirZOOM's fundraising profile page, where you can find information that may be helpful for you to make an investment decision in their company. The information on this page includes the company overview, team bios, and the risks and disclosures related to this investment opportunity.
This investment is highly speculative and should not be made by anyone who cannot afford to risk the entire investment amount. In addition to these risks, you should carefully consider the specific information and risks disclosed in VirZOOM’s profile.