Editor’s note: Startup Spotlight is a regular part of our Startup Monday package that includes updates from our exclusive Startup Guide, a look ahead to events and program deadlines across our state, a breakdown on more than 150 meetup groups across the Triangle, and reviews of our most recent headlines.
For specific events, be sure to check our interactive calendar and this week’s preview of upcoming events, which is divided into three parts:
- January events in the Triangle.
- January events in other regions across North Carolina.
- Events scheduled for February.
This list is an extension of TechWire’s resource guide for Triangle startups.
RALEIGH – Transmira Inc., a Raleigh-based startup developing an artificial and virtual reality (AR and VR) platform called Omniscape it says will make a science fiction-like metaverse possible, has raised a small equity investment.
The investment from technology entrepreneur, Calvin Ayre – founder of venture capital firm, Ayre Group Ventures and blockchain conglomerate, CoinGeek. Transmira’s tech uses blockchain.
Ayre, in a statement, said, “I am a big believer in new digital worlds, and an even bigger believer in Bitcoin. Transmira is combining these two technologies to monetize its new XR Metaverse, recognizing that this is only possible with Bitcoin SV due to its massive scaling powers and restoration of Bitcoin’s original design.”
According to a regulatory filing, Transmira raised $25,000 this month in a simple agreement with one investor allowing the investor to buy securities in the future, as part of an ongoing seed round.
The company previously raised $25,000 in 2018.
Founder and CEO Robert Rice told WRAL TechWire that raising money in the pandemic environment has been troublesome.
“Raising money is always hard,” he said, “but this last year with Covid has been an absolute nightmare.” He said the company is behind on its regulatory filings in the ongoing seed round.
A serial entrepreneur involved with AR and VR since the 1990s, Rice said, “I’m a startup junkie.”
His previous startups included a gaming company in Kentucky and 3D virtual world gaming work in the Triangle.
Transmira developed Omniscape, an XR and spatial computing platform that leverages location-based data to create new commercial campaigns and experiences for brands, businesses and smart cities.
“I coined the term XR in 2014. It is meant to specifically refer to AR and VR together as a whole, not just two different elements of a spectrum,” Rice notes.
The secret sauce
The XR platform, Transmira explains, combines artificial and virtual reality to provide 3D objects, such as a free cup of Starbucks coffee, to the real world where a user can redeem them for the real thing.
“That’s our secret sauce,” Rice said, “combining location with the monetization of VR and AR.”
Transmira is in the process of integrating Bitcoin SV with Omniscape, with the Bitcoin SV blockchain set to handle micropayments and tokenization for the platform.
The company says it has unbounded scaling, greater data capacity and super low transaction fees (the median transaction fee on the Bitcoin SV network is less than 1/100 of a U.S. cent).
The Bitcoin SV network is the only blockchain that can facilitate the realisation of the monetized XR world Transmira envisions for Omniscape. It is, Rice said, “A concept previously only possible in works of fiction, like the OASIS in Ready Player One – where gameplay, virtual items, and user interactions can all be assigned a monetary value.”
That he said, enables players to earn and exchange real money inside the virtual XR world. This can only be achieved with Bitcoin SV which adheres to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision. That is to massively scale Bitcoin to become a global data ledger for enterprise, in addition to functioning as an efficient peer-to-peer electronic cash system.
Rice said the Bitcoin SV Blockchain connection prevents fraud, fakes, and theft of funds in the system — problems that can concern potential customers.
The company plans to start with its experimental marketing plan connecting what are essentially 3D coupons called objects for real-world things, such as a pizza. Users of the app fire up a phone and see what’s available nearby, said Rice.
CIO Review named the company to the Top 10 Most Promising AR/VR Tech Solution Providers in 2020. Rice wrote an in depth background piece for them.
“We have done three successful pilots so far: Spartan Race World Championships in Lake Tahoe (2019), Helen Woodward Animal Center Pawmicon Event (2020), and CoinGeek London, 2020,” he said. The company plans to market the platform for smart cities as well.
The company currently has 4 fulltime employees and about 10 altogether, all working virtually. Rice points out that for his company, the pandemic need for businesses to communicate virtually “Is what we’ve been doing all along.”
He said the company expects to make a number of announcements on its progress in the next three or four months. It will likely be seeking an A round in the not too distant future, he added.