By Ja'dan Johnson
AEXLAB, a promising virtual reality startup, recently shared the news of its ongoing equity crowdfunding campaign. In just a month, the Miami company has raised seed funding of about $870,000 from over 647 investors through the StartEngine platform, an indication of how well VR and other digital platforms have fared during the COVID-19 pandemic when people have been most willing to try new experiences while sheltering at home. The AEXLAB team anticipates closing the StartEngine campaign within the next month once it raises $1.07 million.
“The success of our recent Reg CF launch on StartEngine means so much to us for so many reasons.” shared Jonathan Ovadia, CEO at AEXLAB. “ Not only does it publicly validate our efforts since we've been under the radar for so many years, but it also allows the community to have a stake in the future of VR gaming.”
The AEXLAB team is no stranger to the VR-gaming world. Founded by Ovadia brothers Jonathan and Albert, the CTO, and Elizabeth Ann Clark, the team has been creating digital experiences for music festivals, museums, and corporate companies, including Red Bull, American Institute of Architects, Epic Games and Valve, since 2015, and participated in the Oculus Start Program. They’re also the creators of Water Planet, a popular VR music release by Clark, a musician and artist who goes by the name Virgo. She is also the AEXLAB team’s chief creative officer.
Now the team has ventured to launch VAIL, a socially immersive VR game focused on tactical gunplay and combat, prompting their push into the tech & startup world. The immersive multi-player game, the startup’s first game franchise, leverages AEXLAB’s proprietary technology for haptics, audio spatialization, firearm simulation and VR human interfaces. Players load into an interactive space and invite friends to socialize before queuing up for matches; it’s compatible with all major headset manufacturers. Currently, 300 competitive players are testing the game, AEXLAB said in its crowdfunding campaign.
“The key things we considered when designing VAIL were the gameplay and game modes, the mood and aesthetic, and finally the narrative and scope of the game universe. Accessibility is also something we value and are actively developing for,” Jonathan Ovadia said, noting that virtual reality should be a socially immersive experience available to a wide array of consumers.
AEXLAB is currently growing its team of eight at its downtown Miami office and the startup hopes to attract talent from the Miami tech ecosystem. “We just expanded our office and are currently seeking high-level technical and creative talent as we continue to develop the VAIL franchise and our in-house technologies,” Ovadia added.
Writers Note: I visited AEXLAB’s studio in downtown Miami, and the VR experience was absolutely seamless and unlike any game I’ve played before. It took a minute to adjust to the virtual reality environment but once you’ve gotten used to it, you’re transported to a new world (literally).
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