VR Startup Owlized is Bringing Time Machines Near You | VU Dream
It seems the only application of virtual reality that has gone mainstream are VR arcades. Major companies like IMAX and VOID are bringing...
Village Capital has a fascinating article out, looking at how technology can be used to help people cultivate empathy as a catalyst for changing the world. They zero in on Owlized's new mobile product, Pocket OWL (seen pictured above) as just such a tool. Here's an excerpt from the story:
"Startups like Owlized are taking Hal’s idea of aging an avatar of your face, and mapping it to the natural environment: showing you what your community will look like in the future, subject to environmental changes. If you’re standing on a shoreline and can actually see through virtual reality that it’s disappeared, the incentive to act in the short-term — to change behavior, to invest in sustainable solutions — might suddenly feel more urgent to achieve a long-term outcome.
Calling into Technori was an incredibly fun radio show to experience. Listen to Startup Showcase host and Technori CEO Scott Kitun and his co-host, Chicago Urban League's Entrepreneurship Director Jason William Johnson, interview me about Owlized and decide to invest, live on air! There are some priceless moments here, but my favorite is listening to Jason realize how dangerous it would be for tourists to be walking around with VR headsets on—and how OWL VR solves that problem.
The segment starts at 18:00, so feel free to skip to it using the play-bar:
Great article from Crowdability founder Matthew Milner, who says about Owlized:
"Most of us dream about time travel, but we assume it’s impossible…
We figure it’s strictly the stuff of science fiction, or old Michael J. Fox movies.
But recently, a tiny technology start-up based in California has cracked the code:
It’s created a time-travel machine that actually works."
Check out the full story here: http://www.crowdability.com/ar...
VU Dream founder Mark Metry today authored a great piece on Owlized. Here’s an excerpt:
“It seems the only application of virtual reality that has gone mainstream are VR arcades. Major companies like IMAX and VOID are bringing VR to people near malls and shopping centers.
VR Arcades will soon accompany virtual reality time machines near historical monuments in your area.
If you’ve ever visited the Greek Islands and wondered what it must have been like to be standing there during ancient times, San Francisco-based Owlized has your solution: a virtual reality time machine called OWL VR.”
Full story here: http://www.vudream.com/virtual...
The world's first location-based VR kiosk, enabling powerful "time travel" experiences at the most popular destinations on Earth
Multiple awards include TiE50 Top Startup 2017, Re:Tech 20 Top 20 Real Estate Technology Startup, 2016 Innovation and Technology Award
More than 50,000 users and $400,000 in sales to date
Graduate of UC Berkeley's prestigious SkyDeck accelerator (2017)
Major national press coverage on NPR, Scientific American, Fast Company, Planning Magazine, and significant coverage on KTVU, KCBS, KRON, and San Francisco Chronicle
Major clients include FEMA, City of San Francisco, Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation, City of Santa Monica, City of Fremont, City of Palo Alto, Lennar Urban, and City of Redwood City
A growing $4+ billion tourism market, hungry for profit-increasing tech innovation
Humans yearn to discover our shared history when we travel, but it's hard to connect deeply with the past. We listen to audio tours and read guide books, and yet we struggle to appreciate what it must have felt like to actually be there during the moments that matter most.
Redwood City, CA - Today
Redwood City, CA - 150 Years Ago
Owlized delivers locational virtual reality experiences that enable time travel at the most visited destinations on Earth. OWL VR, the world's first outdoor VR kiosk, marries VR and the physical world, creating a window into another time, enabling you to experience the past as if you were really standing there.
Our locational VR platform offers an unforgettable experience to the public as well as significant transactional revenue to cities, parks, tourist attractions and historic sites.
Just walk up to the OWL and pay a few bucks with your credit card or phone, then experience a 2-minute time travel 3D video showing you the history of the place you're standing. You can move the OWL head 360-degrees, just like the old-fashioned coin-operated binoculars.
Each OWL experience is produced by an exclusive Owlized studio partner. Similar to a movie studio earning revenue from box office ticket sales, our partners earn a percentage of revenue from each credit card swipe.
We estimate revenue from each OWL deployment to be at least $400,000 per year, which then gets split between the tourist site and our studio partners. This provides an incredible source of income for cash-strapped parks and historic sites, and a recurring revenue source for world-class virtual reality studios.
No one packs a VR headset with them when they travel, and that's not likely to substantially change in the future. Even augmented reality glasses fail to provide a fully-immersive, convincing time travel experience. The only way to truly feel like you've travelled back in time is with a rugged, weatherproof, outdoor VR kiosk, and Owlized is the only company in the USA that makes one.
Our prototype OWL, which is free to the public, has been used by dozens of major clients, including the Cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Santa Monica, and Redwood City, as well as by Fortune 500 companies and top advertising agencies. With more than 50,000 OWL users to date and more than $450,000 in sales, we have already proven that there is strong demand for location-based immersive experiences.
We have also secured our first contracts with world-class VR studio partners to produce OWL VR experiences at tourist attractions at zero cost to Owlized, in exchange for revenue share. Additionally, we have secured our first memorandum of understanding (MoU) at one of the top 5 most popular West Coast tourist attractions, in Los Angeles, in a deal with revenue potential exceeding $1.5M annually. A second such deal is pending at a second Top 5 West Coast attraction in the San Francisco Bay Area, launching Summer 2018.
Globally we estimate this addressable market to be worth $4B, and Owlized has a powerful first-mover advantage, patent pending, and mature sales channels which will enable us to scale quickly while boxing out competitors.
Owlized has scooped up numerous awards and recognition to date. In addition to our acceptance into UC Berkeley’s highly prestigious and competitive SkyDeck startup accelerator, we have also been honored with the following:
Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition (U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee).
Certificate of Recognition (California Assemblymember Rob Bonta)
TiE50 Top Startup (TiE Silicon Valley)
2016 Innovation and Technology Award (San Leandro Chamber of Commerce)
Launch! Festival Top 10 AR/VR Startup.
Re:Tech 20 Top 20 Real Estate Technology Startup (Re:Tech)
Certificate of Commendation (Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan)
Our go-to-market strategy is to launch at our first two tourist attractions in 2018 in California, then raise more capital and scale quickly to the next 25 locations. With more than $44 million per year worth of leads and $1.5 million per year worth of opportunities we're actively pursuing, we are poised to quickly become the market leader and for Owlized to become a household name for tourists globally.
Enthusiast Level: Mobile virtual reality viewer, by DodoCase. Receive a premium mobile VR viewer featuring Owlized branding. Simply place your iPhone or Android phone into the viewer and experience the magic of VR!
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Journeyer Level: Receive all above perks PLUS All-Access pass through 2022. You'll receive a custom pass giving you free, unlimited access to any OWL in the world for five years.
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Rad Level: Receive all above perks but now your All-Access OWL pass lasts forever.
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Super Rad Level: All above perks, plus and you'll receive an additional 5 lifetime All-Access passes and 50 single use guest passes.
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Dolorean Level: This package includes all of the above perks, plus the creation of your own 3D avatar, which will be turned into a character inside an actual OWL experience at our most popular OWL site for millions of people to see.
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Great Scott Level: This level includes all the above perks plus a weekend vacation in San Francisco or Los Angeles in 2018 and VIP access to the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the launch of a new project.
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OWL VR® enables tourists to experience time travel when visiting the most popular destinations on Earth. OWL VR is a self-service pay-per-use virtual reality kiosk which plays location-based 360-degree 3D video, enabling important historic moments to be brought to life as you were standing in the same location, but in the past. OWL VR is designed for interactive use with user-controlled pan and tilt, button controls, audio playback, and payment processing via credit card. OWL VR is vandal-resistant, reliable and weatherproof, built to endure the harshest environments that tourists visit.
OWL VR offers site operators like Pier 39 both a world class historic attraction which enhances the visitor experience by celebrating the unique cultural heritage of the site, and a healthy recurring revenue stream, generated one credit card swipe at a time.
The vast majority of OWL users have never experienced virtual or augmented reality, and our highly visible public products offer their first such experience. Furthermore, the OWL experience itself is more than just a game or piece of entertainment, but a contextually meaningful time travel experience that offers future and historic views of the location where the user is standing.
This experience can't be provided with VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) because those devices aren't capable of determining your exact location, nor can they match the VR picture to the outside physical environment. Also, HMDs devices are not weatherproof or meant for the general public.
Augmented Reality (AR) devices are also not suited for time travel. While the promise of AR is fantastic, the technology is meant to overlay graphics on top of what you see with the naked eye. This will offer interesting and informative experiences, but is not immersive, so there will be elements in your view that interfere with the experience of time travel. Do you really want some guy in Nikes running through your San Francisco Gold Rush experience?
Fundamentally, OWL represents an entirely new medium of communication, combining the fully immersive power of virtual reality with a form factor that places the experience within the context of the real, physical world. We use the virtual to augment the real. No other company has blended these platforms together into a single experience the way we have.
All OWL VR experiences are produced by our studio partners, who earn a revenue share from the project they've developed the content for. Much like a movie theater / movie studio relationship, Owlized provides the delivery mechanism for immersive experiences and our studio partners handle the production of those experiences.
Owlized offers a very unique and potentially highly lucrative permanent revenue stream for talented studios looking to reach mass audiences with their productions.
Nothing. We offer OWL VR as a free attraction to tourist sites and in exchange for permission to show up, we provide a permanent revenue share with the site operator from all proceeds generated by the OWLs.
$3 to $5, depending on the location.
Email us! We are always on the lookout for talented studio partners. Send your sizzle reel to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron S.: I'm Aaron Selverston, I'm the CEO and co-founder of Owlized. I've always been incredibly passionate about virtual reality as a storytelling medium, and our whole team feels that way.
Female: Music's good.
Aaron S.: We've brought the company to where it is now fueled by that passion. From day one, we had a lot of people that told us we were crazy. We're trying to create a new product in a new market and provide a totally new experience to an untested market. I think all human beings really yearn to understand ...
Aaron S.: ... ourselves and to understand who we are as a people. The way that we do that is by understanding our past.
What better way to understand our past than to travel to the places that matter most to us, and to learn about how those places were made, or what battles happened there, or whatever the historic significance [crosstalk 00:14:16] of that place was, because it helps us really understand who we are.
Monique: I'm the Director of SU Ventures, and we basically scour the planet looking for entrepreneurs that are leveraging exponential technologies, so things like artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, to solve humanity's grand level challenges.
This is Anya. Anya, you want to tell them a little bit about what you're doing with ... Yes.
Anya: Yeah, absolutely. Basepaws is a pet genetics company, which came out of Singularity University last year as part of their GSP program. In the simplest terms, Basepaws is 23andMe for cats and dogs.
Jesse Draper: Hi.
Aaron S.: Hi everybody.
Bill Draper: Hello.
Aaron S.: Nice to meet you. My name's Aaron Selverston, I'm the CEO and co-founder of Owlized, and we are a time travel company. This is Owl, this is the world's first locational reality platform. What's locational reality? We combine virtual reality, which is what you see inside, and place. Each device is meant to be permanently installed at each of the most popular destinations on earth. Let's say you're going to have a nice weekend in wine country.
You go up to Napa, California, and you walk over the bridge over the Napa River, this is just a snapshot of what you would see, right? Then you notice an Owl, and you know what that means. It means that for three bucks, you can step back in time and bear witness to the history of that place. Again, this is just a snapshot. In the Owl, it's VR, so you're looking around in all directions and feeling like you're actually standing there in that same place in history.
Now, let's zoom out. Imagine going to Mount Rushmore. Watch the heads get carved onto the mountain. We're doing what other VR and AR companies can't do and aren't even trying to do by addressing a market that we believe is a $4 billion addressable market, and that's tourism. We're providing a solution for the masses, for everyday people who are visiting these destinations. To the tune of a billion people per year, internationally, spending about $1,000 per trip on things just like this.
Jesse Draper: We'll be right back after a quick break.
Welcome back to "Meet the Drapers."
Well, I know we all love time travel. Can I try it?
Aaron S.: Absolutely.
Jesse Draper: Okay, so I go, I look.
Aaron S.: Yep. What you're going to see inside is just an example of the kind of content that can play. It's a 360 degree video. The actual content that's produced for each location comes from any of our vendors. There's so many incredibly talented VR studios. For them, we're providing a revenue stream for them to produce tight, two minute packages of each of these historic sites.
Tim Draper: Can you go to the future? I'm okay going back in history, but I don't want to project out. Did we lose the four faces over the ...
Aaron S.: At Mount Rushmore.
Tim Draper: Mount Rushmore.
Aaron S.: Uh-huh (affirmative). Or how about you're walking down the street in San Francisco and you want to see what the city's going to build on this street. The City of San Francisco hired us to install these on Geary Boulevard to show residents the future of that street after they install high speed bus lanes.
Bill Draper: Could you tell us a little more about how you charge? You charge by the minute, or you're not trying to sell these machines. You own the machines, correct?
Aaron S.: That's right. For the city or for the tourist attraction, it doesn't cost them anything upfront. All they need to do is give us permission to show up. The charge is to the tourist or visitor to that site, $3 for a two minute experience.
Jesse Draper: Do you take all that money?
Aaron S.: We collect the revenue, and then we share a percentage of it back to the park, the city or whoever the site is, and a percentage to our content creators.
Jesse Draper: Okay, so let's pick a location like Ghirardelli Square.
Aaron S.: Okay.
Jesse Draper: Okay?
Aaron S.: Yeah.
Jesse Draper: Ghirardelli Square, you put one of these there and then how much per month, on average, would you make in a location like that? A touristy location in San Francisco.
Aaron S.: Sure. On an annual basis, we're estimating $400,000 a year in revenue for each million visitors per year who visit that site.
Tim Draper: How much does it cost you to put one it?
Aaron S.: Each device today costs us $10,000 per machine, because we're making them by hand here in this country. As we scale and reach production volume, we think we can cut-
Jesse Draper: This costs $10,000 to make?
Aaron S.: That's right.
Jesse Draper: You can get that down.
Aaron S.: I agree.
Jesse Draper: That's crazy.
Aaron S.: Right.
Jesse Draper: Charging $3 with a $10,000 product, you're going to need to get that down significantly.
Bill Draper: What does our moon shot guy think?
Jesse Draper: Yeah.
Naveen Jain: I personally like the idea a lot. These kind of things are good, but to me, I really get excited about it in saying, "How would that completely change the world?" To change the world, you have to sometime break away from the past to be able to completely rethink, "How would that look like?" Sometime, making it familiar is helpful, but at the same time, it limits you to what can be done.
Tim Draper: You might be completely obliterated by somebody who just has a couple of VR goggles that they hand out and say, "Walk around."
Aaron S.: Right, and that's the sort of most common question that I get from investors, "Why not just do this on my phone? Why not do this on Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift?" The simple answer is that those devices are really, really geared for gaming, entertainment, and one person, you, sitting on your couch, in your living room [crosstalk 00:20:07] eating Cheetos, experiencing those things.
That's an awesome experience, but for the general public outside, you need a form factor that is weather proof, secure, robust [crosstalk 00:20:18] and that operators of those sites want to use. No one wants to be responsible for operating an attraction where you are dealing with headsets, renting them out, they're breaking all the time. [crosstalk 00:20:30] They're not sanitary, and most importantly ...
Tim Draper: This isn't sanitary.
Aaron S.: It is, it's sanitary.
Naveen Jain: Honestly, let me tell you why, I think this thing is going to go away and here is why. Imagine four years from now, two years from now, [crosstalk 00:20:43] everybody's going to have the augmented reality glasses. You don't have to be renting them out, assume everybody has one.
Aaron S.: Big assumption, but okay. [crosstalk 00:20:50].
Naveen Jain: Let's assume it's going to be there, because whether the Ais going to come on your iPhone, whether AI is going to come on your glasses, AI is going to come. You'll be able to see right in front of you the past and the future and the current. [crosstalk 00:21:0]
Tim Draper: Sure.
Naveen Jain: You can completely change the experience, and in that world, you're gone. Poof.
Aaron S.: Wrong.
Jesse Draper: Poof.
Aaron S.: Let me tell you why you're wrong, for two reasons.
Naveen Jain: Okay.
Aaron S.: First of all, augmented reality [crosstalk 00:21:14] by definition is augmenting the present moment, so you're always going to see the existing moment in your view with AR. You can see some guy in Nikes running through your shot [crosstalk 00:21:26]. You don't want some guy in Nikes running through the battle of Gettysburg, do you?
Naveen Jain: First of all, the answer is no, and no, and no, and here's why.
Aaron S.: Okay.
Naveen Jain: It's called augmented, that means you can augment 100 percent of it [crosstalk 00:21:38] or you an augment 10 percent of it.
Aaron S.: If you're augmenting 100 percent, that's no longe AR, that's VR.
Naveen Jain: That's my point, so it's not, VR is simply a subset of AR.
Bill Draper: Let's say 10 years from now, how big do you think this is? [crosstalk 00:21:49]. How much money do we put in and how much money are we likely to get out? [crosstalk 00:21:57] if we have a proportion of this? I'm not sure this share of-
Aaron S.: Just in this country alone, tourism is a $192 billion market that's being almost wholly unaddressed by VR or AR. [crosstalk 00:22:09]. Globally, it's multiple trillions of dollars representing about a ninth of global GDP.
Tim Draper: How big is that market, the market for those things?
Aaron S.: That's where we're going right now. Yep, so-
Tim Draper: How many of those are out there and how much are they generating? [crosstalk 00:22:21].
Aaron S.: You mean the old binoculars.
Tim Draper: The old binoculars.
Aaron S.: Oh, not really a competitor. Because those, you have to put them in front of where there's a beautiful view. These can literally go any location where you have at least a million annual visitors, okay? [crosstalk 00:22:33] We believe there's about 10,000 of those locations around the world, and if we're estimating $400,000 a year in revenue, times 10,000, that's a minimum addressable market of $4 billion [crosstalk 00:22:46].
Bill Draper: You're not going to get in all 10,000.
Aaron S.: Don't need to. Even if we get into half, that's a $2 billion opportunity.
Bill Draper: Okay, well what is your plan? What do you think is going to happen?
Aaron S.: Our plan is to ... Sure, so our go to market strategy is spread out [crosstalk 00:22:57] in different phases. Right now, we're entering a phase where we want to bring this to the first two attractions, then raise a couple million dollars [crosstalk 00:23:05] and begin land grabbing to be first to install at all the most popular destinations on earth. These are quasi-permanent deployments, kind of like the old coin operated binoculars. Once we're in, we're never coming out.
Jesse Draper: What else should we know?
Aaron S.: It's not too often that people have an opportunity to invest in a company that's truly on a leading edge of a new medium that will become standard place, globally. This is an opportunity for every-
Naveen Jain: What's the valuation?
Aaron S.: In this round, it's a convertible note with a $6 million pre-money cap.
Tim Draper: Well, good. Let's see what our audience has in store. Maybe you can vote this up, you can vote it down or you could invest in this.
Jesse Draper: Fund. You can fund him.
Tim Draper: You can fund.
Jesse Draper: Thank you so much.
Tim Draper: Thanks for coming,
Aaron S.: Thank you.
Jesse Draper: This was awesome. So nice to meet you.
Tim Draper: Very good job.
Aaron S.: Thank you. Thanks.
That was fun. I thought the Drapers and their guest were engaged and clearly liked the idea. They asked a lot of smart, tough questions that I felt prepared for. I think the most important thing is that it passed the smell test. It seemed like something that they would want to use themselves, and as long as I'm able to convey that during these conversations, then I feel good, so overall, great experience.
Tim Draper: Taking people along is an important thing and I, I made a huge mistake. I didn't back Reed Hastings at Netflix because ... I backed him before, but I didn't back-
Jesse Draper: Big mistake.
Tim Draper: Huge mistake.
Jesse Draper: Big mistake.
Tim Draper: Sorry about that. Would have worked out for you too probably.
Jesse Draper: No.
Tim Draper: The reason was I said, "Well, everybody's going to be streaming this stuff. Why are you putting a CD, a DVD in their mailbox? What are you thinking?" He said, "They're not ready for that. They're going to get there." This may be the same kind of thing.
Naveen Jain: It's quite possible. It's really quite possible. I like to see the vision of the people when they're starting.
Tim Draper: The whole thing.
Naveen Jain: The vision is ...
Bill Draper: That is a very good point.
Tim Draper: It was your ... This was your vision, not his that was to take them along.
Believe in the vision of bringing people closer to history using VR, and I want to support the company.Oystein NygardInvested 2 days ago
Interested in viewing natural historyMICHAEL KRITZInvested 3 days ago
I invested to see a higher than normal ROI.Thomas BickerstaffInvested 4 days ago
great conceptjim misentiInvested 6 days ago
I love new technologyGordon GuruleInvested 11 days ago
This looks like a great invention. I know I would use it, and I believe most folks would as well.Dennis RickenInvested 12 days ago
I invested because I believe this will fundamentally challenge the travel experience. Plus the monetization model looks interesting and could be a real cash register for years to come.Kaipa KartikInvested 13 days ago
Future incomeJason MerrittInvested 13 days ago
Read about it in CrowdabilityKathleen HowardInvested 13 days ago
I believe in the CompanyMartin KempfInvested 13 days ago
I love this idea! I would use itPatricia LalandeInvested 14 days ago
To get out more than I put in.Ali AlhaschemyInvested 14 days ago
I invested because I believe VR is the technology of the future. It will help us understand and empathise with people of other cultures, genders and generations and teach eachother how to coexist peacfully.Rhys DaviesInvested 16 days ago
I think this sounded very interesting.Mark McGuireInvested 18 days ago
I think this concept/plan is great! History is very important! People should have access to it! What a convenient way to learn history!Penny DonleyInvested 18 days ago
I think this is quite forward thinking. something that will appeal to people !Christ SkizasInvested 18 days ago
Sounds coolHarry PloumenInvested 18 days ago
I believe it will be an amazing experience for the world to see at this particular time to time travel!Leon GilmoreInvested 18 days ago
I have invested because I like to experience “time travel”.Mark ChewInvested 18 days ago
I would utilize if I were to see at an attraction and would have my girls look as well. I think this is greatDon WadeInvested 18 days ago
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