Early Oculus backer just invested $30 million in a startup that livestreamed the DNC debate

Formation 8’s Brian Koo is a big believer in virtual reality, the technology that enables users to immerse themselves in a simulated environment through special headsets.

So much so that he invested early on in both the Series A and B rounds of Oculus VR, the company Facebook eventually bought for $US2 billion in 2014.

Now, he believes he’s found another potential VR homerun in NextVR, a 5-year-old startup that specialises in live virtual reality programs.

On Thursday, Koo announced that he’s led NextVR’s $US30.5 million Series A funding, joined by Time Warner Investments, Comcast Ventures, Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber, and The Madison Square Garden Company.

NextVR is best-known for broadcasting live events through virtual reality technology, as it did recently with the NBA season opener and the Democratic presidential debate. The company has 23 patents in the live VR streaming space, providing live content that makes the users feel as if they’re actually at the event.

“We really think VR will see explosive growth within the next year or two. There’s not a lot of time to waste,” Koo told Business Insider.

Brian KooFormation8Formation8 cofounder Brian Koo

Koo said the VR space may still be in its infancy, especially with regards to live content streaming, where framework around copyrights and licensing are not clearly defined yet. But he thinks making early bets in the field will give companies like NextVR a huge step ahead of its competitors, just like Oculus did with its VR headsets three years ago.

In fact, BI Intelligence estimates VR headsets market itself to grow 99% every year to create a $US2.8 billion industry, while Digi-Capital forecasts the entire VR business will generate $US30 billion in revenue by 2020.

Koo, who was a board observer in Oculus, will join NextVR’s board of directors. His involvement in the company will not just be limited to financing, but providing more hands-on operational help. Koo comes from the family that runs LG Electronics, and has a deep network in the Asian hardware industry.

For example, Koo played an instrumental role in connecting Oculus with Samsung that led to the VR company replacing its screen that fixed some of the simulator sickness issues. “It wasn’t just about connecting the two companies. I was more deeply involved in the entire negotiating and deal-signing process,” Koo said.

Today’s announcement comes at an interesting time for Formation 8. Just last week, the VC firm announced that it would disband after it finishes investing out of its most recent fund called Fund 2. The three cofounders of Formation 8 are expected to launch their own individual funds and work independently going forward.

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