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June 30, 2016

HTC spins off Vive VR business, hopes to invest $10bn in VR venture capital alliance

News: Company searches for the next entrepreneur to lead the VR revolution.

By

While its smartphone business struggles to beat the likes of rivals such as Samsung and Apple, HTC is now looking into virtual reality (VR) in an early attempt to lead the market.

The company has launched the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA) this week at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, to "foster long-term growth in the VR industry".

HTC has also set an ambitious target of $10bn to be available for investment in VR, AR and mixed reality startups that are looking for their first funding round or even pre-IPO investment.

The company has partnered with 28 venture capital firms including DCM, CRCM, Colopl VR Fund, Immersion Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners WestSummit Capital and 500 Startups.

According to the alliance’s website, startups will have a maximum of six opportunities a year to pitch their projects to the group either in Beijing or San Francisco. Pitch decks must be submitted via the alliance’s website beforehand.

The VRVCA says it is not searching for the next technology revolution because it is already here. "We are searching for the next entrepreneur to lead it".

Alvin Graylin, HTC’s regional head in China and head of the VRVCA, said: "This is the first time such renowned VCs are joining hands at this scale to drive the future of a new industry, rather than competing to find the best deals for themselves."

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The alliance comes after HTC confirmed it had spun off its Vive VR business. The company said its $799 Vive VR headset has had a good market acceptance which lead the company to place that business under a new business arm: HTC Vive Tech Corporation.

Back in April, HTC also launched a $100m startup accelerator program dubbed as Vive X.

Companies entering the accelerator are given between $50,000 to $200,000 and mentoring. In exchange, those receiving the funding are required to pass on to HTC part of their company’s equity.

HTC’s VR push comes as 50 million people around the world are now considered VR users. The market is also expected to be worth $1bn by the end of 2016, according to Deloitte.

This value is projected to sky rocket to $30bn by 2020, according to Digi-Capital.

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