Virtual reality developer Jaunt raises $28m

Jaunt, a start-up developing cinematic virtual reality, has raised $27.8m from a group of investors including Google Ventures.

The Palo Alto-based outfit, headed by Jens Christensen, aims to work with Hollywood and other content producers to incorporate VR technology into narrative content, such as movies and music videos, rather than games. It is developing both hardware and software to produce and display VR experiences that it says will take viewers “inside” movies.

The Series B funding round, which brings Jaunt’s total funding to around $34m, was led by Highland Capital Partners. In addition to Google Ventures, existing investors Redpoint Ventures, the UK’s BskyB, Dolby Laboratories chairman Peter Gotcher and Sling Media co-founder Blake Krikorian also invested in the second round. Jaunt CEO Christensen is a former entrepreneur at Redpoint Ventures.

Jaunt has already been involved in The Mission, a short virtual reality film produced by LA-based New Deal Studios, and Black Mass, a VR horror short directed by Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity 5).

The 15-month-old start-up also plans to develop a consumer player for Oculus Rift goggles, which will be offered for free, along with a VR content site that will charge either pay view or through a subscription.

The company also has a group of advisors from across Hollywood and the tech world including actor Jared Leto, filmmaker Mark Romanek, Amazon vice president Babak Parvis, IMAX chairman Brad Wechsler and Stanford electrical engineering professor Bernd Girod.

“Jaunt has done something incredibly rare in creating a completely new platform for media and entertainment,” said Highland partner Alex Taussig, who has joined the company’s board.

“With Jaunt’s fully integrated solution, the diversity of applications for cinematic VR is limited only by the imagination of the creative professionals pursuing it. I am thrilled to be joining the board of Jaunt and helping the company achieve its massive potential.”