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How funding rounds are classified these days has much more to do with positioning than any VC definitions, but it’s still true that nothing has quite the pizazz as the “strategic investment” celebrity party round.
Sandbox VR, a location-based virtual reality startup that capped off a huge $68 million Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz at the beginning of the year, is bringing on some new investors in a $11 million “strategic” round, let’s call this one the Series A-listers round.
Silicon - Valley - Folks - David - Sacks
Yeah, there were a couple Silicon Valley folks, David Sacks and the Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund led the round, but they joined the much glitzier names of celebs including Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Will Smith. Other investors include Michale Ovitz, Honda Keisuke and Kevin Durant. Some of the investors in this latest round don’t have much in common beyond being LPs in the Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund, which seems to be the glue holding these stars together.
Sandbox VR operates physical spaces, generally in retail locations, that users can play multiplayer virtual reality games inside with friends. It’s a next-generation arcade of sorts that’s relying on expensive new technology to attract customers, but that formula hasn’t been a slam dunk for plenty of other VR startups, and it’s forced the leadership to get creative.
Space - Spaces - Startups - Sandbox - VR
“It’s a difficult space to be in, because it’s one of those spaces where you have to be three startups in one,” Sandbox VR exec Siqi Chen told TechCrunch in an interview. “You have to build your own content, build your own technology and construct and operate retail locations.”
While most virtual reality startups that have raised substantial amounts of capital have had to dump it into R&D, Sandbox’s business is more focused on pinning virtual reality experiences...
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