Lessons learned from two and a half years building a profitable virtual reality startup.
VR isn’t mainstream (yet). VC funding isn’t flowing into this space. Find a way to support yourself, business, and team. Don’t die.
2) Find paying customers.
B2C, B2B, or B2G…build something someone will pay you to use on a consistent basis. Use their feedback to improve your product. Find more people like them and repeat.
3) Give amazing demos.
Most of the people you meet have never experienced #VR before. This is your opportunity to blow their mind. #VirtualReality is sexy, spreadsheets and databases aren’t.
4) Skip the networking events.
Less networking events, more coding and talking to users. It seems like there is a new VR event every day, but you don’t have to go to them. You do not need to be everywhere. Pick two to three high impact events every year.
Head down, hoodie up. Keep building.
5) Bundle the hardware.
Most people don’t own a VR headset…let alone a VR-ready rig or laptop. This will benefit you down the road when its time to upgrade (upsell). Factor this into your distribution/sales process.
6) Raise your price.
Whatever you’re pricing your product at right now, double it, if not, triple it. VR is incredible and the experience is worth more than whatever you’re charging. You need money to survive and improve your product. Charge more.
7) Use the best hardware available.
Whatever rig you use for demos, always have the best hardware. If your build is experiencing frame drops, you’re going to make people sick. $100,000 on beautiful assets doesn’t matter if it isn’t optimized and runs.
8) Do things that don’t scale.
Paul Graham said it best, “Do things that don’t scale.” Whatever you have to do to gain users and generate revenue, DO IT RIGHT NOW! You can’t change the world if you don’t have users and run out of money.
9) Press doesn’t equal progress.
If you’re chasing an ego boost, press is great for this. If you’re chasing revenue, spend more time talking to customers. Most of the time, press and articles feel great emotionally but deliver nothing. Chase sales and revenue, not vanity pieces and panel positions.
10) Don’t die.
Yes, I put this in here twice. IT’S IMPORTANT! The VR industry has nowhere to go, but up. Nobody knows when virtual reality will reach mass adoption. If you can survive until this date, you will be years ahead of the competition. Be a cockroach.