Launch Academy unveils new VR hub in Vancouver

New 12,000-square-foot facility features mentorship programs and device lab

Dan Burgar, the Vancouver chapter president of the VR/AR Association | Photo: Chung Chow

Startup incubator Launch Academy is opening a new virtual reality and augmented reality hub at its Vancouver headquarters.

The 12,000-square-foot facility features a device lab to test out new technologies and is aimed at assisting a wide spectrum of early-stage companies, according to CEO Ray Walia.

“It’s all the way from people just starting out to [companies with] a product in market,” he told Business in Vancouver.

“Other companies that are more established that don’t necessarily need to take desk space here but they want to be part of the community and be part of a founding partnership in helping cultivate and grow the ecosystem [will also take part].”

The hub was created in partnership with the Vancouver chapter of the VR/AR Association.

It will offer training and education programs, equipment rentals, workshops and mentorship opportunities for participants.

Mentors include investors in the VR/AR space, including Super Ventures, the VR Fund, WXR Fund, Outpost Capital and the GFR Fund.

Experts from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Finger Food Studios, Archiact, LNG Studios, LlamaZoo Interactive Inc., Blueprint Reality Inc., Cognitive3D, YDreams Global Interactive Technologies Inc. and the Vancouver Economic Commission will also offer mentoring.

Vancouver was home to just over a dozen VR companies in 2015 but has since growth to 220 organizations that are pursuing VR technologies, according to the VR/AR Association.

“We have all the right ingredients to make Vancouver No. 1,” Dan Burgar, the Vancouver chapter president of the VR/AR Association, said in a statement.

“We believe it’s extremely important to keep the momentum up and build the support infrastructure now for companies to accelerate their growth. Launch Academy has a proven track record of incubating over 600 companies and we’re thrilled to work with them on this.”