Auckland entrepreneurs taking on virtual reality
Bend VR may be the new kid on the virtual reality block but these three Auckland yo-pros (young professionals) are already making their mark.
Co-founders Jordan Ranson, Serge Coates-Chitty and Reesan Naidoo have custom-designed a cardboard headset that you can slot your smartphone into.
Jordan Ranson says many New Zealanders don't realise how accessible the technology is.
"The headsets themselves are so simple and they are so easy to use and one of the most important parts about cardboard is that it is approachable… it's something people think should be in the future but it’s here now."
Jordan says it was his first experience with virtual reality that inspired the boys to start Bend VR.
"I was in my office at the time and I distinctly remember leaving where I was and going into this different place and that started my journey with virtual reality."
"I was talking to these guys about it, how do you get virtual reality experiences here? And that's where the idea for Bend came. We were just looking for headsets in general and then it turned out that cardboard… was kicking off around the world and that was something that you couldn't get in New Zealand."
The entrepreneurs think they are around three to six months ahead of the market, and hope to quit their jobs to follow their virtual reality dream in a few months' time.
But right now, they're busy.
"We've got orders backed up; we've still got orders coming through which is good. We haven't really hit a dry spot but I think when that does hit we do need to venture out for customers ourselves. At the moment we haven't really done that we've just sat back and a lot of people have been approaching us," says Mr Naidoo.
"Some people might have looked at us and had a bit of a laugh, it was a bit far-fetched but we knew overseas it was just going so crazy so we thought we are going to keep our goals in line with overseas and really work hard," he says.
They have already worked with companies such as AMI, Idealog and Spark. Mr Coates-Chitty says they have learnt plenty from those experiences.
"We are getting a lot of feedback, especially, and taking that on board and growing which is cool… some of that feedback is just tightening our processes."
"We know we are just three young guys, but we are really ambitious and we are really eager."