Owlchemy Labs co-founder and CEO Alex Schwartz has announced that he is departing the now Google-owned VR developer to kick off a new company. Schwartz detailed his own decision in a Medium post, noting that he plans to take some time off before officially jumping into the new venture.
Additionally, Owlchemy studio director Cy Wise is leaving the studio as well to join Schwartz as a founder of their new and yet-unannounced company.
Following their departure, Owlchemy’s leadership has a few changes in store. Devin Reimer, the team’s current CTO, will fill the role of CEO going forward. Two other longtime Owlchemy devs are being tapped to fill those now vacant positions with Andrew Eiche taking over as CTO and Autumn Taylor as studio director.
"Even though many of my favorite moments involved being a scrappy startup, the acquisition by Google is definitely one of my proudest achievements to date. An exit in the VR space is extremely rare but to have been able to structure a mutually beneficial deal with a company as prestigious as Google was a landmark moment for me,” said Schwartz in his Medium post. “Now, with Google as a partner supporting the studio, Owlchemy couldn’t be in a better spot and the team is in an incredible place, poised for even more success in the future.”
Founded in 2010, Owlchemy emerged as a formidable virtual reality studio with the game Job Simulator in 2016 and has since expanded its VR reach with games like Rick and Morty: Virtual Rickality and the upcoming Vacation Simulator. Roughly one year back, the studio was acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum, though the deal still allowed for Owlchemy to keep its development focus unchanged.
“For me, creating a company that was building innovative products while sustaining itself over the long term was always the goal,” continues Schwartz. “Taking a leap to try to make something out of nothing engages me, inspires me, and invigorates me, occasionally to the point that it takes over my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Much like the leaps I took to get Owlchemy off the ground, I’m returning to this area of uncertainty and uncharted grounds to build something new.”