Asian augmented reality (AR) / virtual reality (VR) startup iStaging has raised $5 million in a pre-series A funding round led by WI Harper, a VC firm specializing in cross-border investments between the U.S. and Greater China. Taya Venture Capital also participated in the round.
Founded out of Taiwan, iStaging caters specifically to the furniture and real estate industries, offering platform-specific apps for mobile devices and VR headsets to help end users visualize and experience an environment without physically being there. For example, this could be used to help a prospective buyer check out an apartment for sale in another city or country.
With its fresh cash influx, iStaging plans to expand further in the markets it already serves with sales offices, namely Redwood City in California, and Paris.
"The funding will reinforce our efforts to develop and promote the best-in-class AR and VR tools for our target markets," said iStaging marketing chief Kevin Basset. "The most used technologies are those that complement your daily work - iStaging provides exactly that. As an example, with our VR Maker, real estate agents have everything they need to capture, create, and allow their clients to visualize hundreds of properties virtually before selecting the ones to visit in person. That's a powerful tool for increasing efficiency and winning sales, and it's something we're excited to promote in the U.S., Europe, and China."
VR and AR are among the biggest breakout trends of 2016, with the hype surrounding the burgeoning mediums almost palpable at Mobile World Congress this year. Companies from HTC and Facebook through to Google, Intel, and Huawei are embracing it, and this is having a ripple effect that's affecting many facets of society, including roller coasters, movie theaters, and - as we're seeing with iStaging - the real estate and furniture industries.