Is this the real life? Is this just virtual reality? (It’s virtual reality.)

Future of StoryTelling Summit
Credit: Future of StoryTelling Summit

By 2020, Goldman Sachs predicts that the virtual and augmented reality space will grow into a $110 billion business. Nice.

There’s a lot of room in this space and it’s not just about taking a rollercoaster ride while sitting in the middle of your living room (although that is pretty fun). Thinking about cardboard goggles? Think about bionic contact lenses that are in production and testing right now.

It’s a cool and unchartered territory that is pushing the boundaries for storytelling and human connection: from training exercises to military operations, recording your kid’s first steps in virtual reality to learning about a new terrain and, yes, enjoying that rollercoaster ride in your living room.

In our series highlighting startups from the community, here are our picks in the virtual reality space.

Envelop VR

Impress customers and clients with Envelop VR’s software that lets you create, work and play in virtual reality. Its focus on enterprise lets you do some high-level things from 3D product visualization to full 3D immersion. Let customers see whether that Chesterfield is going to fit in your living room before letting your clients walk through the corridors of your new office space… that hasn’t even been built yet. There are a lot of possibilities with virtual reality and Envelop wants to try them out. Can you blame them?

Oculus Rift
Credit: GIPHY


New Zealand startup 8i is on a mission to create and share volumetric, full immersive experiences. It’s pushing the boundaries of virtual reality by imitating reality – when you walk around someone, they want to make it feel like you’re in the same room as them. The company raised $13.6 million last year to further explore crazy and awesome possibilities for storytelling and a new channel for human connection.

Merge VR

Enjoy virtual reality powered by your own smartphone with Merge VR. Its goal is to give you an immersive experience, giving you access to a host of applications and a community of what they call “VR explorers.” Walk with dinosaurs, explore space and check out the worldbuilding of movies like Pacific Rim with a pair of comfortable and snazzy looking goggles.

Murder She ...
Credit: GIPHY

Altspace VR

We’ve established virtual reality is super cool and it’s nice experiencing it yourself, but what about experiencing it with others? That’s where AltspaceVR comes in. You can literally hang out with other people in different virtual landscapes like a desert island or an amphitheatre (or just a cosy coffee shop). The community has a list of events you can jump into or you can organize your own – play games, watch movies or learn something new with a seminar.

Super Ventures

As the virtual reality space grows, incubators like Super Ventures is here to boost and fund the market’s development. It’s focused on companies and the technologies they’re developing to augment human experience and performance. The community of 150,000 professionals and over 500 companies is dedicated to “giving people superpowers” and with that kind of support and network, it’s not hard to believe they will.

Interested in other startups? Track tech news at

Read next: Microsoft and Lowe's want you to redesign your kitchen using Hololens

Shh. Here's some distraction