In science fiction, gaming, and in our imaginations, instant virtual transportation has existed for decades. And today, it looks like reality might actually be catching up! Take a look at Mimesys, a startup that creates software to enable remote meetings in virtual spaces. We sat down with Davy Loots, co-founder and CTO of Mimesys, and asked about his startup journey, technology today and the future or VR and AR.
Do what you love
“I’ve always been a gadget freak,” says Loots. “I was very much into the Microsoft Kinect (a affordable 3D camera!), and I dropped way too much money on a crappy VR headset back in 2008. The quality was dismal and I only used it once, but it was the beginning of my VR love story.”
In 2012, the relationship was in full swing, with Loots backing the Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign: “There was already a lively VR developer community back then and I had a few hundred developers checking out my VR projects. That’s how I was introduced to my co-founder Rémi Rousseau, who already had his own VR startup. We started talking and the rest is history.
From passion to pitch
“The process of starting our own business was great,” explains Loots. “We had incredible mentors in the initial phase and Start it @kbc organized plenty of sessions about first investors, accountancy and other business-critical subjects. Starting a business is complicated. There are so many legal caveats and financial requirements to distract you from your core business. I’m an expert at tech, so it was great to have coaches to help with all of the administration. Don’t try to save money on accountants and lawyers. You need that kind of expert support and it can save you a lot of extra time and headaches.”
The Mimesys business model is unambiguous: it sells software as a service and charges a monthly fee. “We target companies who already use VR headsets, send them a demo and ask them to listen to our pitch,” Loots elaborates. “We do the pitch remotely while they are wearing our headsets, so we pitch it to them while they are actually experiencing the technology.”
Milestones and setbacks
The startup focuses on the B2B market and is currently active in the US, France and Belgium. “We want to eliminate excessive business travel and allow people from different continents to brainstorm in real-time. It’s nothing like a regular Skype meeting though. That physical component is incredibly important, and we’re making it happen,” states Loots.
“After a successful investment round last year, we were able to expand our team and actually develop our product. Then, in March, we won an award at the largest VR fair world-wide, which proves that the industry thinks of us as an innovator.”
It’s not all good news for the strappy startup though. “Unfortunately, the consumer market for AR and VR just isn’t living up to the hype. VR headset sales have been disappointing, and it’s giving investors second thoughts on the potential success and mass adoption of the technology. It is drawing them more towards B2B VR and AR though, so that’s a plus for us.”
The future of VR and AR
Loots estimates that AR has 10 times the potential of VR. “VR will continue to be used in entertainment and professional contexts, but in the long run, it’s AR devices that will replace the trusty smartphone. In the future, we will no longer hold small screens in our hands and the digital world will intertwine effortlessly with our own ‘realities.’ The new Apple iOS already contains some rudimentary AR components. Eventually, everyone will be wearing contact lenses that bring virtual elements into the real world.”
What’s your passion project? Are you ready to become a full-fledged entrepreneur yourself? The next enrolment deadline for Start it @kbc is September 17. Sign up now and unlock your potential. Have some expertise to share? Consider becoming a mentor.