Earlier this year, Facebook acquired virtual reality company Oculus for $US2 billion.
Speaking at Business Insider’s Ignition conference, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told the story of how he first met Mark Zuckerberg.
“I met Mark personally through the introduction from Marc Andreessen,” Iribe said. “And I don’t know how much he regrets this introduction, it was originally, ‘Do you want a reference on me?'”
Oculus was currently raising a round of investment from Andreessen Horowitz so a potential deal with Facebook wasn’t even on the horizon yet, but Iribe said he couldn’t pass up the chance to meet Zuckerberg.
“I said yeah, it would be good to talk to someone else who worked with you,” Iribe said during an interview at Ignition. “Andreessen said, ‘How about Zuck?’ And I thought, ‘Oh, talking to Zuck, that would be pretty cool, sure, that would be great!'”
Iribe then began talking with Zuckerberg about Oculus and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Zuckerberg was curious about what the popular applications of the Rift headset would be.
“I said it will start in gaming but it will eventually go beyond where we really were now, after we got the technology to a very high quality level…you believe, your brain just believes you’re really there.”
Iribe said that Zuckerberg was particularly interested in the social aspects of the Rift.
“You start to fel like you’re really there, the next step is to feel like you’re there with other people and be face to face, it’s the only platform that can deliver that,” Iribe said.
Iribe pressed Zuckerberg to visit the Oculus headquarters for a demo of the Oculus Rift, which he did. When asked what Zuckerberg’s first reaction to experiencing the Oculus Rift, Iribe said it took him by surprise.
“He said, ‘Wow, that was a lot better than I was expecting it to be,'” Iribe said. “He came out and said, ‘I’d like to help, how can I help?'”
Iribe said at the early stages, they weren’t sure exactly what Zuckerberg’s involvement would be, but they quickly realised that their best bet for bringing Oculus to mainstream audiences would be to be acquired by Facebook, a company which offered less restrictions than a potential deal with Google, Sony, or Microsoft.
To read our interview with Brendan Iribe about what the future holds for Oculus, click here.
Disclosure: Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, is an investor in Business Insider.