Hi Reddit!

I’m Sam Huber, CEO of Admix. I just raised $2m for my VR/AR startup Admix!

I am here with Stephen Croome, one of the investors in Admix and part of the VC fund SpeedInvest. We would love to answer any questions you all have about the startup grind. We would love to give you all the insight from both sides of the table. The investor’s point of view AND the founders’ point of view. Ask us anything about attracting, pitching, and closing investors, the VR/AR industry, our favorite burgers, or much more!

Also, I run a Facebook group called VR/AR Pioneers where I give out resources benefiting anyone in the VR/AR industry. I’ll actually be giving out resources through our AMA so if you like our AMA feel free to join our growing community!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/vrarpioneers/

proof: https://imgur.com/flF72Hg

Edited: Thank you all for these amazing questions, keep them coming! Throughout this AMA, I will add more resources to this post, kicking it off by adding this list below and will be posting more resources like this in my group so feel free to join!

Resources:

80+ Best tools for AR/VR Developers

Most Active VCs in the VR/AR Space

20+ Grants for VR/AR Startups

Comments: 165 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

killrickykill112 karma

Have your investors seen that sweater and do they want their money back?

sam_admix34 karma

Haha I was careful not to wear it before the term sheet was signed

Ghs223 karma

A while back I was approached out of the blue by an investor and the first question they had was what my monetization strategy was.

I politely declined their inquiry mainly because my project was early enough in its development that I hadn't even considered monetization.

When you got your investment did you have to be clear about how those investors would make their money back or did they see enough potential in your idea that they had faith you could return their money without a concrete monetization plan?

One of my big fears is that I will have a product that I am proud of but be pressured into adding some loot boxes until my investors have their money back.

My background: I am currently working on a simple (free) VR game to be followed up by a more ambitious commercial VR game project. I had a lengthy career in industrial manufacturing so I am also intrigued by VR manufacturing equipment training. I am waiting until I get my hands on the Oculus Quest to see about multi-user, tether-free training environments.

sam_admix26 karma

Great question. For an institutional round of investment, investors definitely want to see how you are making money. The business model is generally the main topic of discussions - not only the current one, but also future potential ones (for example: we could use our inventory to sell products in VR, not just ads). Because it was a seed round (we were 15 months old when we started discussing), we were not directly judged on the amount of revenue we were making (because it it really early) but it was definitely important that we were making some.

In fact, I would advise against going fundraising pre-revenue. You will waste your time because you haven't proved anything yet. Focus on making some money (even a few thousands $ recurring revenue per month) and the pitch becomes different: you have now proved some of the model on a small scale and can justify the funds to accelerate your venture.

derpderp500010 karma

I don't know much about the VR/AR space. What is your business model/what exactly are you selling? I guess .. what does your company hope to accomplish?

sam_admix-14 karma

I don't know much about the VR/AR space. What is your business model/what exactly are you selling? I guess .. what does your company hope to accomplish?

Our mission is to empower VR/AR developers to be successful by allowing them to generate revenue from their content, through non-intrusive advertising (think: product placements).

Why? Learning from the mobile market, we know that 95%+ people want free content - so VR/AR content will be going down in price with time. The best alternative business model is free content sponsored by advertising. Currently, we are the only programmatic solution aimed at VR/AR.

Max-_-Power39 karma

Yeah no offense but I want AAA games with VR support. I want to pay X €/$ for the game and then the game company to stop bugging me for money when I am playing the game. I have nothing against paying for DLCs that add significant content. Think Witcher 3. That's how you do it.

I want that 2 hours per day of escapism and as much VR immersion as possible, how do product placements fit in there... They don't because it breaks the immersion.

Good luck though with your startup!

sam_admix6 karma

We're not targeting AAA games. There will always be people willing to pay for premium content (like Netflix or Spotify or AAA games). But 98% of the content by volume and users is free - including games. Most users do not want to pay for casual games, videos, social and everything else.

These are the developers we are helping, by offering them a new revenue stream that they can reinvest to build more awesome content :)

In addition, because developers are free to position, pick and trigger the ads they want (rather than just placing a video before the content) they do not break the immersion. You can check some of our games review before/after using Admix :)

Tyrilean9 karma

Do you think there is a huge intersection between people willing to pay $1300+ for a gaming rig and $400+ for a VR headset and the people who play F2P mobile games? I don't have market research to back it up, but just from personal experience the former are the type of people who are willing to put down money for AAA experiences. The latter aren't the type of people to drop nearly $2k for entry into the VR gaming space.

sam_admix2 karma

Oculus Go is $199 and Oculus Quest will be launched under $399 and standalone - so you’re quoting old numbers. A few years ago the hardware was so pricey and complex to setup that it was only appealing to hardcore gamers. But as the hardware goes down in price, so does the appetite of people to pay for content (because they are more casual users) and therefore alternative business models such as advertising, become popular.

Ag0r5 karma

I would be fine with ads in games if they could make them actually blend programmatically. For example, in a racing game if there were billboards with actual ads on them.

sam_admix13 karma

that's exactly what we're doing

BostonDodgeGuy19 karma

So you want to bring everything we hate about the internet to our games?

sam_admix6 karma

I want to help developers make money so they can build more games that you love :)
Btw, advertising (despite all its current flaws which we are trying to fix) is powering free internet since the 90s

Juan_Largearm8 karma

[deleted]

sam_admix0 karma

Haha. Did you know that in 2010, 80% of the apps in the AppStore were paid for? Now it’s less than 5%. Publishers didn’t force advertising on people - it’s the market who decided that they rather deal with a few ads for a free experience rather than pay for it.

That said, I’m not saying advertising on the web is great. It’s intrusive, irrelevant and invades your privacy. That’s why we are trying to build a better model, not relying on personal data.

Bottom line, you can hate the current implementation, but don’t hate the model - having brands paying for your media consumption is pretty sweet. But - feel free try paying for browsing the web, watching TV or using any mobile apps instead 😂

Very few people admit it, but one thing they hate more than advertising is paying for things!

Juan_Largearm1 karma

[deleted]

sam_admix3 karma

Again you’re talking about premium content, which I agree people will always pay for - but only a fraction of people. Most people will want free content. I am sure you sometimes download apps for free that you wouldn’t pay for - because it’s not made by an EA or a Bethesda and you do not trust the developer with your money just yet.

We have case studies of small studios that tripled their revenue by going from paid model to an ad model. If the content is good and the ads don’t disrupt, people will keep consuming. You can argue that you won’t, but the data we captured from 6M VR players says the opposite 😉

Juan_Largearm2 karma

[deleted]

sam_admix3 karma

6M is the number of users across multiple apps using our solution - mobile VR and desktop VR.

Of course retention is included in the calculation, it’s an average across 3 months after going F2P.

Going F2P the app got 20x more downloads. However it wouldn’t increase overall revenue if users where uninstalling immediately. At a $20 CPM you can calculate that you need users to play >20 sessions to make 3x more money than a $2.99 paid app would have.

So I can confirm that ads did not kill retention in this case. Probably because for the first time, developers can actually control the ad experience :)

cunt-hooks8 karma

So you want to bring everything we hate about the internet to our games?

sam_admix5 karma

I hate advertising more than most people, which is why I am trying to build a better model rather than complaining about it :)

Sanjispride2 karma

I hate advertising more than most people

Starts advertising company...

sam_admix6 karma

Yea generally that’s how it works. You solve a problem that you’re facing / try to improve something that you think could be better instead of just complaining about it 😉

indale7313 karma

Where do I sign up for this free internet

sam_admix5 karma

You already are. You’re paying for broadband not content

indale7311 karma

If I'm being shown advertising, I'm not getting content for free. I'm paying with my time, which has value, which is why advertisers are willing to pay money for it.

sam_admix1 karma

Some ads do force you to watch them (youtube pre rolls), but not ours. Think about a billboard in the street. You’re free to look away - it doesn’t require any time commitment.

Kinoxciv4 karma

Everyone is seeing this in a very negative light, and while I'm definitely not a big fan of advertising, I don't think the service Sam plans to provide is bad at all. It certainly isn't the EA-esque consumer-unfriendly hell many seem to see it as.

The two concerns seem to be:

Ads in games suck; this is everything bad about modern gaming

Yea, ads do suck, but if they're smart about what they do, they could actually fix the current state of advertising in F2P games. Greedy companies are going to want to stick ads everywhere in VR/AR. Think interstitial ads in mobile games are annoying now? Imagine playing a VR game, dying, then being immediately loaded into a virtually constructed kitchen.

Text pops up in your field of view: "Pour yourself a delicious bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios to continue playing! Check your pantry!"

That's the type of intrusive advertising that will be possible with VR/AR - if it proves possible.

On the other hand, if Admix can get ahead of the curve and test non-intrusive in-game advertising - like putting an ad on the panels in Rocket League - and publish their research proving this is a more effective strategy for advertising, they could shift the entire industry in that direction.

I know ads aren't fun, but they're inevitable, and if the choice is between massively intrusive VR ads, or minimally intrusive ads built into the game world, the choice seems clear.

Now onto the other concern...

VR is a premium consumer space; F2P games won't be popular there

This is just short-sighted. The Oculus Go ($199) is already doing excellent numbers sales-wise, and the standalone Oculus Quest ($399) is launching within a couple of months, no PC or console necessary. Prices are going to keep dropping, and adoption is going to keep rising. That's not even mentioning the multiple consumer-ready AR headsets and devices that will be hitting the market within the next decade. So no, the market isn't there yet; I mean, of course it isn't. If Admix were the first to introduce non-intrusive advertising to a market that was already matured to the point of needing it they would've just raised 200 million, not just 2. This is a play for the future, not the present.

Sorry about the essay above, I'm just absolutely obsessed with VR and it's future, and I love what Sam and the rest of Admix are trying to do here. Wish you guys the best of luck!

Also, since this is an AMA, I'll take advantage and ask a question as well! When do you guys see the VR/AR market maturing to the point of mass-adoption?

sam_admix1 karma

Great comment 👍🏻 difficult question regarding the point of mass adoption. Basically, the value of the experience needs to overcome its cost (it’s basic economics). For VR, costs are already almost affordable (Oculus Quest). To increase the perceived value, we need content that appeals to more people, and educate people about the value of VR/AR beyond the gimmick. I think it will start to happen early 2020 (give the Quest 6 months to sink in). For AR, it will require a fashionable wearable, such as the one that Apple is working on according to rumours. For more details on market inflection point, I had written this article to go into more details: https://venturebeat.com/2018/09/22/vrs-missing-ingredient-fomo/

KnowsGooderThanYou3 karma

Just what games need. More commercials and ads. :( but hey. Congrats cashing in i guess

sam_admix-1 karma

Thanks. You should probably read the thread before talking tho

pursenboots1 karma

non-intrusive advertising

That's kind of an oxymoron though, isn't it? If advertising doesn't intrude upon your experience, by catching your attention and making an impression on you, how is it 'working?' Advertising that isn't seen or is easily ignored can't be as effective, can it?

sam_admix1 karma

It’s not that you can’t see it - it’s that it doesn’t interrupt your experience. Think about product placement in movies - they’re just products like in the real world. They don’t force you to wait for a video to be shown, or click to close a popup. That’s what we mean by non-intrusive - it’s natively integrated with the environment, by the content owner themselves. And it works. Check the case studies on our website :)

Konsecration5 karma

Do you need a janitor to work for you? I am a master of the custodial arts! =)

sam_admix2 karma

Our office space currently provides this service but stay in touch as we are expanding quickly :D

NatheDeer4 karma

What is most exciting about the future of AR and VR for you?

sam_admix5 karma

For me, it's the idea that VR/AR (otherwise called XR or spatial computing) are the next computing platform. Until now, we have been used to see data on flat screens: TV, desktop computers, or smartphones. The world is in 3D but we have been forced to project it in 2D.

For the first time, VR/AR enables us to see the world as it really is: in 3D. By overlaying data on top of the real world, VR/AR merges the boundaries between digital and real. Whether for entertainment, education, games or training, the world is going to be our canvas. We are going to move away from 2 dimensional screens, which will still exist, but will not be the ultimate way to display content - just like digital display offer a more complete experience than a piece of paper.

Just like the web changed our lives by establishing a transition between the offline and online worlds, spatial computing will establish a transition between the current 2D and 3D world, and will impact the next decade more so than any other technology, and we are privileged to witness this change happening in our lifetimes.

gu1d3b0t3 karma

How do you plan on handling the 'lowest common denominator' problem? Like if you target a wide range of HMDs, some with skeletal finger tracking, others with 6dof controllers, there are some things that just can't be done across all hardware. This gets even harder when you try to get your program to run across VR and AR hardware, as VR HMDs don't really have world reconstruction yet, many AR HMDs don't have access to the same level of compute power as VR HMDs, etc.

If you make something that 'works' on all devices, you get a kind of boring experience that does nothing well. If you make your experience adaptable to each device, you wind up with a mountain of complexity. Which are you doing, in what amounts, and why?

sam_admix-5 karma

Luckily, we do not create the content ourselves :) Admix is a plugin that integrates with Unity and Unreal. By supporting these 2 engines, we cover 90% of the VR/AR market (and maybe 60% of the gaming market). When developers build their apps for different platforms, our ads get packaged with the build.

Of course, on platforms that have controllers, ads are more dynamic than on cardboard for example. So there is some platform specific controls, but mostly, it's defined by how you build your app in Unity/Unreal.

NewAddendum43 karma

Are you gonna end up like the villain from "Ready Player One" and gonna calculate how many ads you can throw at users before they can have a seizure?

sam_admix1 karma

Nah, I’m more of a James Halliday kinda character. In fact, I hate advertising more than most people, which is why I am trying to build a better model for it

hyperboy3283 karma

Why is AR the one that all the investors seem to want to invest into when vr seems to have the most potential?

sam_admix3 karma

That’s a great question. AR has always been seen as having more potential, because it’s a wearable you’ll have on you all the time, while VR is something that you have to wear at home - or at least, when not moving location - so restricts its use a bit. AR is also seen as a future assistant while VR is seen as a gaming platform (which is wrong).

Currently VR is more mature, has a developer ecosystem and use cases much more developed than AR. But it’s easier to claim and hope that AR will be bigger than VR since it hasn’t really launched yet - while VR has already real data we can judge it by.

hyperboy3283 karma

A follow to the ads inside an ar system. What prevents ads from becoming extremely intrusive like the beginning of altered carbon before he gets the ad block software.

sam_admix2 karma

This is prevented by the fact that the media owner control the position, size, content and trigger of the ads. So, in theory yes they can create an AR experience full of terrible ads. But no one will use it after a while. By giving content creators control over the advertising experience (instead of the advertisers as it is currently) we prevent this abuse. Remember that people will always be free to take their AR glasses off :) more than ever, AR content creators will see their traffic die if they don’t respect their users.

TarcFalastur3 karma

I'm kind of fascinated by the idea of doing something like this, mainly because I think I'm the complete opposite of the kind of entrepreneurial individuals who can make something like this happen. I'm perfectly capable of working independently and so on and I constantly daydream about what it would be like to make my own company, but I am totally incapable of identifying any niches that a new business could fill. Even in industries I've worked in for years, where I know all the problems and pitfalls, I can never think of anything a new company could exploit.

Are you able to give any insight into how you came to identify the area you wanted your business to fill, how you worked out how it would all fit together etc?

And does it require having an extensive network of connections with major CEOs from across the industry, which is a suspicion I've long had?

sam_admix2 karma

No, it doesn't need any connections or network. It helps of course, but that is not how I and many others have started - it's something you'd develop along the way. Why would a major CEO talk to you unless you have built something yourself?

Prior to Admix, I was actually building games and apps and struggling to monetise them, so dreamt of a better monetisation solution. When I tried VR for the first time, I put 2 and 2 together and discovered a huge opportunity.

In the industry you have years of experience and know all the problems and pitfalls - just fix the problems - that's your business idea!

Ask yourself:

  • what part of the process is currently broken?
  • what can be improved?
  • how can I make X more efficient?
  • how can I save myself time doing X?

Investors like businesses that solve problems. If you know your industry well I am sure you can find at least 5 ideas :)

Daredizzle2 karma

As someone with a background in advertising and music/entertainment/video, it's good to see people jumping ahead of the tech. I know we're a ways out from everyday VR use, but it's awesome to see people thinking ahead.

What do you see as the next steps to getting mixed-reality to the masses? I have a few contacts in the VR gaming space and we're all anxious for the hardware requirements to be more easily accessible.

sam_admix2 karma

Thanks for the comment. The market growth (especially the content) has been booming massively since 2016, which is great to see. I think VR/AR today have a value proposition problem - despite clear niche use cases, most people do not know what to use it for, and its value do not outweigh the cost. So we need to up the value and decrease the costs ;) I had written an article about this here https://venturebeat.com/2018/09/22/vrs-missing-ingredient-fomo/

Daredizzle2 karma

Great read! Thanks for sharing. Great point about the demand. Yes, hardware is a limiting factor, but you're right, there isn't anything pressing that a user NEEDS to have in VR. Guess we gotta up the demand! As someone who worked in music/live events, I've been watching what LiveNation does with NextVR. I think there is something there that they haven't quite hit the nose on yet.

Also loved seeing that you've trademarked The Oasis for VR :) Excited to see what's next after fundraising.

sam_admix2 karma

Thanks 🙏🏼

RustyShacklefordVR22 karma

Who did you have to talk to to go from sitting stoned in your bedroom going "I want a VR startup" to actually having money and connections?

sam_admix1 karma

That's not exactly how it happened :) I didn't want a VR startup necessarily, I just identified what I thought was a huge opportunity, got out of my bedroom and started building it

RustyShacklefordVR22 karma

Fair enough, but what was step 1? Not every 27 year old can just walk into a VC office and go "gimmie money" and I doubt you just started banging together a prototype API without any real knowledge of how to database or serve advertisements.

sam_admix3 karma

I had prior startup experience building apps/games and monetising then, but was in no way an expert. I didn't know what 'programmatic' really meant - let alone the rest of the adtech jargon, but I knew I could learn by doing it. Of course, I didn't start by talking to a VC - I had to prove myself and the business beforehand.

Timeline went like this:

  • June 2016: first idea of monetization solution for VR/AR
  • July 2016: found a technical cofounder to hack together a prototype on a part time basis (he's still working with us today and full time!
  • August 2016 / December 2016: started pitching advertisers clients, refined proposition, design product and platform, approached angel investors.
  • February 2017: raised a pre-seed round ($300,000) to build a team and bring product to market
  • End 2017: MVP ready, early revenue, start putting together larger round, but not enough traction.
  • Mid 2018: 5 people team, first programmatic revenue: go all in on fundraise.
  • October 2018: raised $2.1M (2 years after ideation!)

sam_admix2 karma

Hey guys! Thank you so much for the questions, debates, and comments! I had a great time on my first ever AMA. I will be back tomorrow so keep these questions coming 👍🏻

If you all found value in those resources I posted, please join our VR/AR Pioneers group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vrarpioneers/. It's our developer community where we post resources like this every week to help developers create, publish and market their apps.

Sleepdprived2 karma

I am a construction worker (of sorts) and I've always wanted AR saftey glasses for construction. The idea is to be able to 3d model a space and design changes in VR. you could scan a client's home, make a vr copy of the space, and design 3 or 4 new versions of the room, then show the clients in the home with AR overlay to see the changes, and pick which one they want. Then the workers have AR blueprints to work off. With built in leveling, and measuring through the AR overlay would make construction faster and easier. My question is how far are we from this kind of dual reality interface for practical applications?

sam_admix2 karma

We’re already there! Solutions like Matterport enable you to scan interiors and transform it into 3D models you can then edit with any 3D software. Then, you can equip your workers with Atheer AR glasses (or Hololens) and send AR blueprints directly in their head mounted display. Done ;)

TalkingBackAgain1 karma

Sam, you glorious bastard, where do you see the future of AR/VR in the next 10 years with regards to gaming?

sam_admix2 karma

In the next 10 years, multiple hardware manufacturers will produce AR glasses that look like normal glasses and at an affordable price point. AR will also be persistent thanks to the AR cloud, a 'digital layer' containing complete information about the real world, that every AR device will rely on for 3D mapping data.

I believe we will have human-like resolution VR at an affordable price ($300 or less) in the next 6 years, which will transform gaming and many other industries. I do not think that haptics will become mainstream, but will be used widely in the gaming community for sure.

The thing to remember is that VR/AR today is the equivalent of a Nokia 3310 - a device that is barely a prototype of what it will become in the following decade!

sam_admix1 karma

You have to put yourself in people’s shoes. Why would they work on your dream for free? If you can, contract someone to build a prototype and push to generate revenue early. You can also try websites like workinstartups.com where you can find people willing to put in sweat equity. Good luck!

2Pr3sice1 karma

Is your bookshelf meant to look that way?

Any books you recommend reading?

sam_admix2 karma

it's not mine :) it's in the office. For a list of books I recommend (non exhaustive) you can check my personal website http://www.samhuber.com/#books-1-section

DOOMReboot1 karma

[deleted]

stephencroome-1 karma

Haha! Sam and Joe are very independent - thats double edged sword sometimes. But its what took them to the great position they are in now, so I cant complain ;)

sam_admix1 karma

To see how I built my pitch, have a look at this article I wrote https://venturebeat.com/2019/03/03/4-lessons-we-learnt-raising-money-for-our-vr-adtech-startup/

sam_admix1 karma

Good question which got me thinking. I think, in my mind I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t able to convey the massive size of the opportunity- because we had been turned down by so many investors before, and many of them didn’t believe in VR/AR. Opportunity size is key to convince investors that you have a billion $ company potential and back in early 2018, there was a lot of unknown. There still is, but it’s all moving in the right direction and now we have our own data to prove that the market is growing.

Cakelord1 karma

How do intend to structure your business with the changing relationship between labor and employer? I looked up your linkedin and it seems that you've always been an owner/founder/ceo and never a worker. How will you get your employees to follow your lead?

sam_admix2 karma

you read too fast :) I started my career working as an engineer for Mercedes F1 for 2 years and I learnt a lot from it.

Mostly, leadership is about painting a vision that people want to follow. To do that, you need to find the right people and give them what they need to be the best they can be. For example, we have employees who are game developers who believe in Admix because they used to struggle to monetise their games, and adtech engineers who believe in Admix because we are building a better future for advertising.

People might have different reasons to believe in you, but as long as you can instigate confidence by bringing on good news, closing deals, and growing the company, that confidence will remain.

I am lucky to work with a great team of people (we have just reached 20 employees) who are all experts in their fields and believe in what we are doing!

FraussieL1 karma

Sam, I heard you are a pretty good skier when you are not attempting to pizza down the mountain. What is your favourite ski snack?

sam_admix2 karma

I think you already know: 🍑 + 🌭 :)

FateKappa1 karma

Who or what inspired you to start your job?

sam_admix3 karma

Prior to Admix, I was already building games and apps and despite some successes, the common denominator was that app monetisation is hard, offered very little customisation, little payout (middlemen's cut is often >50%) and terrible user experience (which leads to low retention). So I dreamt of a better monetisation solution. When I tried VR for the first time, I put 2 and 2 together and discovered a huge opportunity to monetise this completely untapped, growing media, while creating a better advertising experience. The product then evolved to what it is today but the vision remains the same.

mir3a1 karma

Hey, fellow entrepreneur running a freemium site sending cheap flight fares to subscribers!! - having now been up and running for the past 2 years with a few thousand subscribers, we're now looking to pitch for investor funding to take our service to new heights, what would you guys advise are the best steps going about getting started on this endeavour?

sam_admix1 karma

It really depends on your traction, revenue growth and your momentum to reach this level, as well as the growth of the market (which underlines the opportunity size). Without looking at your business in details, I would make sure that these KPIs are impressive enough to raise funds, and target investors that have some experience and successes in the space, and try to benchmark your company to one of these successes.

Owlstorm1 karma

Why focus on both VR and AR rather than just one of those?

sam_admix2 karma

Because they're the same. VR and AR are different 2 level of immersion of spatial computing. What makes them different than a computer or smartphone is that they do not rely on a traditional screen, but data is located in space around the user. The fact that VR is fully immersive and AR partially immersive is a detail as far as our technology goes.

More practically, most VR and AR developers both use Unity to create their experiences, so our technology supports both.

datumgal1 karma

Hello, Learning VR is something that I have recently taken an interest in. However, I would say my interest leans more toward game programming with the hopes of eventually helping to create a good VRMMORPG instead of helping to create a VR startup. I was pleasantly surprised when going over your list of links for resources that WebVR is a thing. It seems obvious in retrospect that WebVR would be a thing. Since web design and creating small web games using Canvas are some things I'm already familiar with learning about WebVR does help me to establish where to start focusing my studies. So thanks for sharing that list of links for VR development resources that helped to learn about WebVR being a thing.

Although I do not personally have any interest in starting a startup, I do have a question based on observations from a friend's failed startup a few years back. My friend and a couple of their friends had created a startup that ended up failing due to internal power struggles within the group and the security issues that came about due to those power struggles. After doing some research I had learned that it was not uncommon for beginner startups to struggle in the beginning or fail due to issues with marketing their product, problems with financing their startup, disharmony among the group, etc. I was wondering if your startup had faced any of those issues in the beginning? And, if so how did your startup manage to overcome those issues? I think it's always nice to learn how successful startups manage to overcome their initial struggles as a startup.

sam_admix1 karma

Thanks for the question - what you mention is very common. Luckily, we didn't have major power struggle at Admix. This is not my first startup, so I learnt a few lessons along the way. The main one is not to split equity equally (50/50 between 2 founders, or 33/33/33 between 3 founders is a mistake) as it can block the company if founders cannot reach consensus. It was capital for me to maintain decision power at least until the first institutional investment round.

Of course we had many tensions between founders, especially when funding options failed to materialise back in early 2018. Luckily we sorted it out - it took us over 60 pitches to raise our seed round!

PS if you want to learn more about VR/AR, check out our Facebook group where we offer resources to help developers market their apps: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vrarpioneers/

Xelajan1 karma

Hello.
"It was capital for me to maintain decision power at least until the first institutional investment round", -Please, write more specifically how you did it.

sam_admix1 karma

Split equity with cofounders and raise your seed round at a valuation that means you still own 50%+ by the time you approach VCs for the first ‘real’ round!

septag0n1 karma

What impact do you think spatial computing will have on the engineering field? Or other fields besides entertainment and gaming?

sam_admix2 karma

Massive. Like I answered in another question, spatial computing is the next computing platform. Until now, we have been used to see data on flat screens: TV, desktop computers, or smartphones. The impact of SC in manufacturing, architecture, design, training, engineering is going to be huge: for the first time we can visualise maps, objects, items, as they really are in space - not projected in 2D.

In fact, most XR hardware found success in enterprise rather than consumer - check Atheer and Hololens amongst others.

MiMamaTeOdia1 karma

What would you say the TAM is for AR ads? Seems like it would be pretty small given the nascent stage of the industry.

sam_admix1 karma

AR is very low for sure - not many people are using AR regularly yet. If you add VR to it, it’s much bigger. I would say around 2B monthly ad impressions (given that we serve 10% of that)

livinginspace1 karma

Hey, hope I'm not too late to the party, since my previous past was deleted due to bad formatting. I work in tech in the Bay Area, and noticed that you guys have an office in SF. Super curious to chat with you about your venture some more as I've been interested in VR for some time and see Admix as a great enabler of AR/VR commercialization. Any chance to connect?

sam_admix1 karma

Sure, drop me a PM and we can connect

hairlines1 karma

Are you hiring salesmen?

sam_admix2 karma

Junior publisher sales https://angel.co/advir/jobs and more media sales opening soon

Allbrandnewshit1 karma

What made you choose Arkansas as a location for your VR startup?

sam_admix1 karma

😂😂

Jumbli1 karma

I'm interested in what investors look for to take propositions seriously. Anyone can have a great idea, but building that idea into a business is another matter. What do you believe investors look for, e.g. prior experience launching a successful company, a large personal investment, a minimum team size or something else?

sam_admix2 karma

Stephen can expand on that, but at a high level, I would say 1. market (it is about to explode or exploding already) 2. team (quality, not size) and 3. traction (how much customers/ money you're making)

vreleased1 karma

Just a quick question, will your VR ad platform support Adult content?

sam_admix2 karma

We will set up a completely separate product and brand for that to not mix the 2. Msg me directly!

jon20001 karma

Do you need to hire any software developers? :)

sam_admix1 karma

We still have a few positions open but it depends where you are based https://angel.co/advir/jobs

Adds_2 karma

Why are your salaries so painfully low? £30k for a London based front end developer with no equity? C'mon son. Wonder where all that $2mil is going?

sam_admix1 karma

Our tech team is based in Ukraine not London

Tumble851 karma

With regards to augmented reality being used out in the real world, do you think there will be a large acceptance in a set of glasses that display information or do you think it could be done with a phone, mixing the camera lenses with GPS and locational sensors?

sam_admix1 karma

I think AR on a phone is a necessary stepping stone but not an ideal use case - because it's awkward and not practical. Real AR is a wearable - so you can use your hands for other things while spatial information is displayed to you.

Apple/Google were clever to develop AR for phones, as everyone has one in their pocket (in 2021 there will be 1.6B smartphones supporting AR). It also trains the developer ecosystem to start developing spatial apps - but in my opinion it will only go mainstream when wearables become affordable (about 2/3 years from now for the first versions).

Jumbli0 karma

Do you have any plans to support webVR/webXR projects or just Unreal / Unity? I've recently been working with Amazon Sumerian and I believe there is potential to create Ad supported multiplayer webXR games.

sam_admix1 karma

Yes we will. Unity / Unreal are obvious choices to start as they corner 90% of the immersive content market. But we are paying close attention to other engines, webXR as well as native SDKs as well. Coming early 2020 :)

paistetta0 karma

Aside from gaming, what other industries are looking into VR/AR right now?

sam_admix1 karma

Most traction for VR/AR is actually in entreprise space: education, training, manufacturing, military (Google: Microsoft Hololens US Army contract)

We also start to see good traction in B2C apps in the entertainment and social and social space. (check Netflix for VR).

mscott80880 karma

Cheese-itz, for em or against them?

sam_admix4 karma

They are delicious and dangerous. You can easily eat half a box if you are not careful.

wenbun0 karma

What hair products do you use?

sam_admix0 karma

I'll do a separate AMA for that :)

Philipp0 karma

Hi Sam, thanks for doing this! We're 2 indie devs who do VR sandbox universe Anyland we're also looking for funding, do you have some tips for us & others like us? We're in Europe.

sam_admix1 karma

I'm in Europe too :) it's hard to give advice without knowing the business, but I would focus on making your value proposition obvious (what makes you different from the rest) and found benchmarks for successes (any companies that achieved a large exit in the space space / with same profile?). Make sure the timing is right as well from a market and traction point of view, and target investors interested in the space. For more details, check this article I wrote a while back https://venturebeat.com/2019/03/03/4-lessons-we-learnt-raising-money-for-our-vr-adtech-startup/