SA startup developing Africa’s 1st VR science fiction film

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Cape Town-based startup Sense Virtual is in the process of developing Africa’s first virtual reality (VR) science fiction film “Awakenings”, and is looking for investors and developers to get involved in the project.

Founded late last year, Sense Virtual is a studio focused on creating content and developing applications for VR. The management team is also behind South Africa’s first VR community, which launched this month to provide support to the local industry.

Aside from building VR content on a project basis for the entertainment, advertising, education and property industries, Sense Virtual is continuing to work on the “Awakenings” project.

Chief marketing officer (CMO) Grant De Sousa told Disrupt Africa the startup was looking for people to get involved with both developing and funding the project.

“We’re looking for people to come on board and be excited about the project,” he said.

“We hope to use that project as a benchmark on how the community can work. We want people to join us in being involved in Africa’s first VR science fiction film.”

He said the community had been designed with the idea of building a marketplace and increasing access to developer talent for the company.

“We want people to experience and like it and invest in it. We want to create a marketplace in Africa, which is inevitable,” De Sousa said.

“For a lot of people it will actually be quite a lateral move. If you’re a creator of content already it is not going to be a whole new world.”

He said timing-wise it was an interesting time to launch a VR startup, given Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus and its launch to the consumer market next year.

“So it is going to become public on quite a big scale. But not everyone will own an Oculus because you need quite a high-powered machine,” De Sousa said, adding that the likes of Samsung, HTC and Google were however launching their own more affordable solutions.

“VR is a medium. TV, laptops, they’re all just mediums, and brands will deal with those mediums,” he said.

“We’re at the beginning. We’re at the black and white TV stage. There’s a very bright future. Fortunately there’s good tech available. There’s unlimited potential for it. People need solutions like this. They just need to be educated that they are there.”

De Sousa said the team was pleased with the response to the launch of the community earlier this month.

“We’re very excited that we’re not having to push this, we’re just pulling people towards it. People are gravitating towards it,” he said.

“In order for the business to form, we need to find people who see the potential of it and ultimately benefit from it.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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