Data is often uninteresting and a pain to sort through in order to get the actionable insights. While there are data visualization platforms that make this process easier, Virtualitics brings a whole new dimension to data analysis. With their VR and AR software, you can experience your data in the most engaging way possible. With 10 dimensions of visual analysis available, you will appreciate data in ways you have never thought possible.
LA TechWatch chatted with CEO and cofounder Michael Amori about the company and their most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We recently announced our Series A funding of $4.4 million, led by The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund). The investment will be leveraged to expand our team and accelerate the deployment of new functionality within the Virtualitics platform.
Tell us about your product or service.
Virtualitics, Inc. is a data visualization company based in Pasadena, California, that merges artificial intelligence, Big Data and virtual/augmented reality to gain insights from complex data sets. Its collaborative environment for data exploration is suitable for both data scientists and non-expert users, allowing them to uncover multidimensional relationships in data, which may not be discoverable by any other means. The company possesses a pedigree of more than a decade of advanced research at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and a founding team of pioneers and luminaries in data analysis, data visualization, machine learning and mixed reality applications.
What inspired you to start the company?
I saw what the other cofounders (Ciro Donalek, George Djorgovski and Scott Davidoff) were working on at Caltech – applying immersive visualization to a variety of scientific projects – and thought their work could also be very successful in a business setting.
How is it different?
To our knowledge, there is no one else who provides VR/AR to visualize multi-dimensional data with easy-to-use machine learning tools, Natural Language summaries and a streamlined data analysis process. Adaptable to any VR/AR platform, Virtualitics provides practical methods for translation, rotation, remapping, selection, replotting and toggling while immersed in data. Users can collaborate in a shared virtual environment online, sharing insights and giving guided tours of data.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Our focus is on data analytics and visualization, so we are rather market agnostic. We have had early users in finance, the healthcare industries, consumer goods, semi-conductors and scientific research. Even if Virtualitics focused only on the U.S. healthcare and finance industries and obtained a 10 percent market share of customers, it would mean approximately 3,000 customer accounts and 300,000 users (assuming 100 users per customer account). Ultimately, every field with data challenges will need this technology.
What’s your business model?
We are ultimately a B2B player, aimed at business intelligence analysts (e.g. decision support in hospitals, customer insight and analytics in banks). Revenue will come from several sources: licensing fees, maintenance, machine learning consulting and customization.
Tell us about the experience building a VR company in LA?
It’s amazing! The whole city was already exposed to VR/AR through entertainment and gaming, so there’s been a lot of excitement about seeing a company that has a business application for it. We’ve been introduced to so many instrumental and influential people who seem truly vested in our success. It’s been second to none.
What was the funding process like?
I’ve been told that the fundraising process I experienced paled in comparison to what most entrepreneurs experience. Thanks to all the work accomplished early, and a white paper that was quite well read, we were farther along and more familiar than a lot of Startups at that stage. It’s an exhausting process for sure, but our investors were brilliant and enthusiastic and made it relatively easy on us.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Honestly, I don’t know that we faced any unique challenges with regards to the fundraising process. It’s hard on a personal level – the energy that’s needed, the intestinal fortitude to keep going in spite of early rejection – that’s tough, but everybody experiences those challenges. The company itself was rather well received.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
I believe it was a perfect storm of ingredients: We’re in an exciting space that visionaries see as a good investment, we’ve built an impressive product that improves the science of data visualization measurably and our founding team is pretty impressive.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Now that we have major beta users we can take their feedback and perfect the product for a more diverse audience. By the Fall we should be offering a finalized beta product.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Stay lean but think big; network, network, network; focus all efforts on building the product before anything else; and hire thoughtfully. Talent is important but teamwork is crucial.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Becoming an industry leader and a must-have tool for companies dealing with complex data sets.
Where is the best place in LA to watch the sunset?
There is something magical and old worldly about watching the sunset from the Colorado Street Bridge. If you can catch it right when the sun fades into the horizon and the lights on the bridge begin to glow, it’s pretty magnificent.