Tyffon, a startup that grew out of the Disney Accelerator program, has just raised $7.8 million in Series A funding which it will use to finance the expansion of its free-roam VR experience locations in the US. The startup already has two centers -known as Tyffoniums- based in the Shibuya and Odaiba areas of Tokyo, Japan. Later this year, the company is planning to open a new Tyffonium venue in Los Angeles as well as a third venue in Tokyo.
The new funding will be used in financing Tyffon’s Japanese and international expansion out of Japan into the US market, which will also include the launch of a new Santa Monica, CA virtual reality center.
Tyffon is also planning to accelerate its intellectual property licensing services with some of the major studios in Hollywood according to the company’s CEO Ken Fukazawa. On top of its US and Japan-based Tyffoniums, the startup is also planning to open new centers around the world in the coming years.
Tyffon will also be working more closely with the media and entertainment organizations in the US in rendering their characters, content, intellectual property and franchises in virtual reality. It hopes these collaborations will create a quality experiences with a high level of impact and and also engage audiences around the world more deeply through an immersive entertainment medium. Tyffon has so far developed three individual immersive experiences for its virtual reality centers in Japan that blend virtual reality with the multi-sensory effects of the real environment and allow the user to freely roam in the space and experience the highly immersive environments.
The virtual reality entertainment company operates a free-roam virtual reality service where the user is not tethered by wires to a PC. Instead, the company’s product offering is a mixed reality experience that blends an immersive physical location with the immersive virtual reality experience inside the VR headset.
In terms of its content offering, the company has so far focused its efforts on the fantasy- and horror-themed free-roam virtual reality experiences. One of its main current attractions is “Corridor”, a mixed reality horror experience. There is also “Tarot VR” which is akin to an anthology of fantasy scenes in virtual reality.
According to Fukazawa, the company will continue focusing on the horror-themed content while also working to develop original VR content that will be kids- or family-oriented. This content will also be featured in the company’s Tiffonium venues in the coming months.
The startup has in the past developed mobile apps including an AR filter app that it worked on in partnership with Disney. Moving forward, Tyffon is also planning to develop mobile immersive experiences so as to reach out to the larger market beyond its location-based virtual reality centers. The Tyffon experiences will offer a unique 360-degree approach that enable guests at the centers to take their in-venue experiences beyond the VR centers for ongoing VR engagement.
The new funding round was led by Tokyo Broadcasting System and other new investors. With the latest round, the company’s total funds raised now amount to $12 million. Tyffon has a bevy of existing investors such as The Walt Disney Company, Canal Ventures, SEGA SAMMY Holdings, Tokyu Recreation and Mizuho Capital.
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