Breakthrough VR company from Walter Parkes, Kevin Wall and Swiss Research Foundation ARTANIM garners backing from consortium of Industry Heavyweights; Disney Imagineering's Bruce Vaughn Joins as CEO
Prolific film producer and former studio head Walter Parkes and global live entertainment producer/entrepreneur Kevin Wall today announced the completion of the Series A financing of Dreamscape Immersive. Utilizing ground-breaking technology developed by Swiss researchers Dr. Caecilia Charbonnier and Sylvain Chagué of the Artanim Foundation, Dreamscape untethers its audience members from the computer, and allows them to walk freely with friends within a virtual world, where they see themselves, interact with objects and each other, and experience worlds previously accessible only in their imaginations.
Bold Capital Partners led the Series A with investments from Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), IMAX Corporation, Westfield Corporation, and Steven Spielberg. Dreamscape’s innovative technology, which is an outgrowth of Artanim’s breakthrough work in medical imaging and body mechanics, was debuted earlier this week at the Abundance 360 Conference in Beverly Hills. Peter Diamandis, Co-Founder of Singularity University, described the platform to the audience of CEOs and entrepreneurs as “the future of entertainment.”
The venture also includes a top-of-field leadership team. Joining Co-Chairmen Parkes and Wall as CEO is Bruce Vaughn, 25-year veteran of Disney Imagineering, who served as its Co-Executive Leader for seven years. As Vaughn notes, “The promise of VR has been greater than the reality…until now. Dreamscape delivers on the promise — to be actively transported into alternate realities where you have experiences and interact with others as naturally as you would in our physical world.”
Vaughn and the upper management will be a stellar advisory group that includes: Yves Behar, renowned industrial designer, as Brand and Design Advisor; Hans Zimmer, Music Advisor; Dan Fellman, Past President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, as Distribution Advisor; and Kevin Ratner, President, Forest City Residential West, Real Estate Advisor.
Walter Parkes points out: “The core technologies on which Dreamscape is built are truly game changing — but as with all such innovations, it’s ultimately about content, and the creation of experiences that engage and move people in a way never before imagined. This is why we’ve assembled a team with years of proven success in the creation and distribution of global entertainment; our goal is to move VR into the mainstream.”
Dreamscape Immersive is positioned to provide a strategic opportunity for two sectors of the consumer economy which face similar challenges of drawing customers away from home-based digital alternatives: movies and retail shopping malls.
On the real estate side, Dreamscape’s vision of the VR Multiplex unlocks opportunity within global real estate to reinvigorate the shifting retail landscape by creating unique, irreproducible entertainment experiences that are vivid and compelling enough to bring consumers out of the house and into larger social and retail environments. For motion picture studios and other IP holders, Dreamscape provides another alternative for audiences to enjoy both original experiences and franchised properties.
As Kevin Wall explains: “Today, audiences can see movies in theaters in three formats: 2D, 3D, and IMAX. Dreamscape establishes the Fourth Platform — VR. Now, audiences will have the ability to purchase a ticket, step inside of the story and experience it personally in a way never before imagined.”
Former President of Control Room and partner in the formation of Dreamscape, Aaron Grosky, will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Joining Vaughn from Imagineering will be his Chief Experience Officer Kevin Rice and Chief Software Designer Chris Purvis. Caecilia Charbonnier, Sylvain Chagué and Ronald Menzel, co-founders of Dreamscape, will serve respectively as co-CTOs and Chief Strategic Officer.
Dreamscape Immersive will launch their flagship VR Multiplex in Fall 2017 as part of the reopening of Westfield’s Century City Mall.
About Walter Parkes
Walter Parkes is a motion picture producer, writer and former studio head at DreamWorks Pictures, the motion picture studio that he and his wife and partner Laurie MacDonald ran from the company’s inception through 2005. Films produced or executive produced by Parkes include The Men in Black series, Gladiator, Minority Report, Flight, Catch Me If You Can and many others. A three-time Oscar nominee and, as a writer with partner Lawrence Lasker, Parkes largely introduced the tech-thriller genre with the original screenplays for War Games and Sneakers. In total, films produced by Parkes have earned in excess of $7B in worldwide box office.
About Kevin Wall
Kevin Wall is an Emmy Award-winning producer, activist and new media entrepreneur. Wall has enjoyed more than three decades in producing and distributing live, multi-artist music events, most notably Live 8, a global live event which earned Wall an Emmy Award. He pioneered the platform-agnostic digital media model making entertainment content available on all mediums and devices. His company — Control Room — has delivered more than 100 TV specials since 2005, featuring international superstars such as Madonna, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and more, across a variety of networks and platforms in 192 countries around the world.
About Bruce Vaughn
Bruce Vaughn was Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering for The Walt Disney Company. In this role, he lead the integrated creative teams of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), Disney’s Creative Entertainment (DCE) and WDI Research and Development to drive excellence in product development and innovation. The scope of Vaughn’s responsibilities included theme park attractions and special effects, innovative theater experiences, and new business opportunities that leverage invented and emerging technologies.
About the Artanim Foundation:
Artanim Foundation is a Swiss research center based in Geneva founded in 2011 by three motion capture specialists: Dr. Caecilia Charbonnier, Clementine Lo and Sylvain Chagué. Artanim conducts research activities in the fields of orthopedics and sport medicine, 3D animation and VR/AR applications. The ground-breaking VR technology created by Caecilia Charbonnier — former professional tennis player reconverted into a biomechanics and computer graphics researcher — and Sylvain Chagué — computer science engineer — is the result of four years of research at Artanim. The technology was showcased at SIGGRAPH 2015, at the Sundance Film Festival and at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. More info: www.artanim.ch
About BOLD Capital Partners:
BOLD Capital Partners (“BOLD”), is a venture capital firm targeting investments in early stage and growth technology companies. BOLD is particularly interested in entrepreneurial leaders that leverage exponential technologies to transform the world and create innovative solutions to humanities’ grand challenges. The investment platform leverages the resources of Singularity University (www.su.org) and the Peter Diamandis ecosystem (www.diamandis.com) to actively seek and support world class entrepreneurs. BOLD has offices in Santa Monica and Palo Alto, California.