London, UK - OTHERWORLD, the UK’s most popular out-of-home virtual reality experience, is expanding its unique world of VR content across the UK and internationally after raising £2.9M ($4.1M) from leading venture capital funds.
The OTHERWORLD team has signed deals to open two prime locations in London Victoria and Birmingham this summer, with plans to expand to a further three locations in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow over the next 12 months. Internationally, OTHERWORLD is recruiting franchise partners in Germany and the United States.
The new investment comes as many brick-and-mortar businesses emerge from what has been a challenging time. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, OTHERWORLD is thriving, booking out weeks in advance with market-leading footfall and revenues. The VR experience has been host to celebrity guests, including Adele and Skepta in September 2020.
“We’ve seen overwhelming demand, despite the pandemic,” said Chris Adams, CEO and Co-Founder of OTHERWORLD. “People are seeking ever-greater levels of immersion, but through social experiences they can enjoy with friends and family. We can’t wait to take the OTHERWORLD experience to new markets around the world.”
OTHERWORLD is also using the investment to enrich its virtual reality experiences, which already integrate 360 degree heat, wind and rumble effects.
"The first version of OTHERWORLD’s virtual resort has been a huge hit with guests and critics alike," said Ed Wardle, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer. "OTHERWORLD 2.0 will transport interdimensional travellers to new heights of immersion with scanned avatars, richly atmospheric themed zones, and virtual content designed exclusively for our venues."
Edge Investments ('Edge'), the UK’s leading investor in creativity, led the £2.9M Series A round, with follow-on investment from specialist leisure investor Imbiba and participation from games industry veterans Chris Lee and Rupert Loman.
OTHERWORLD is a virtual island paradise in the cloud, home to VR’s best experiences across entertainment, arts, education and wellness, reached through unique, multi-sensory ‘immersion pods’ in its growing network of city centre venues.
Since opening its first site in Shoreditch, East London in 2019, over 50,000 people have experienced OTHERWORLD, including celebrities Adele, Skepta, Jonathan Ross, KSI and Fnatic. The team have won plaudits at the FRAME Awards 2020 and a nomination for the VR Awards 2020.
“The team at OTHERWORLD share Edge’s vision for VR to become a cornerstone of story-telling in the future,” said Niall Santamaria, Investment Manager at Edge Investments. “The OTHERWORLD team has the creative vision and operational acuity to continue to grow and dominate this emerging category at the intersection of creativity and technology.”
Imbiba, the specialist investor in leading leisure and lifestyle brands, led OTHERWORLD’s first funding round in January 2019 and is increasing its investment.
“Chris, Ed and the team have proven the success of their vision through the first OTHERWORLD site,” said Lizzie Ryan, Partner at Imbiba. “There is now a significant opportunity to develop the content across a number of genres as we roll-out across the UK and internationally. Imbiba are delighted to be supporting the team on this journey.”