Bright Idea: Getting Real

Envelop VR is pushing into new tech worlds.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Bob Berry and Jon Mavor moved to Seattle to work on video game technology. “We knew we wanted to do something beyond games but we weren’t sure what,” says Berry. The answer came in 2014 when Berry tested an early virtual-reality system at Valve Corporation, the Bellevue video game giant. “There was a hand-built headset with markers all over the walls,” Berry says. “I went into that demo and spent half an hour in it. When I walked out, I told Jon, ‘We have to start a VR company tomorrow.’”

Berry moved to Japan in 1998 to do his Ph.D. in VR. “I was pretty disillusioned. All we could do [in Japan] was make people sick at different speeds. The technology just wasn’t ready.”

Berry and Mavor launched Envelop VR in July 2014 and raised $6 million in venture funding last year. The Bellevue software company now has 23 employees busy readying its initial product — the Envelop Virtual Environment, a virtual-reality shell for Windows, Windows applications and virtual-reality applications. The company is also preparing a software development kit for application developers.

“Part of our ‘sauce’ is that we maintain compatibility with your existing applications,” says Mavor. “You can take an application used for CAD modeling and just move the bit of it that you care about into VR.” A user could then put on a VR headset, for example, and experience walking through a 3-D model, such as that of a house.

While Envelop VR’s initial market will be VR app developers, Berry says the firm is also talking directly to other enterprises, including auto manufacturers, which have in-house developers. The biggest opportunity in the near future, says Berry, may be in e-commerce, where a consumer might “walk” into a virtual tent before buying it.

Envelop VR is waiting for VR hardware such as the new Oculus Rift to become widely available before shipping its product. 

 

“Part of our ‘sauce’ is that we maintain compatibility with your existing applications,” says Mavor. “You can take an application used for CAD modeling and just move the bit of it that you care about into VR.” A user could then put on a VR headset, for example, and experience walking through a 3-D model, such as that of a house.

While Envelop VR’s initial market will be VR app developers, Berry says the firm is also talking directly to other enterprises, including auto manufacturers, which have in-house developers. The biggest opportunity in the near future, says Berry, may be in e-commerce, where a consumer might “walk” into a virtual tent before buying it.

Envelop VR is waiting for VR hardware such as the new Oculus Rift to become widely available before shipping its product. 

Related Content

Program launches in five cities, including Seattle

Program launches in five cities, including Seattle

Nationwide effort seeks to promote diversity and overhaul hiring practices

Nationwide effort seeks to promote diversity and overhaul hiring practices

Susan Gates, left, and Kate Isler

Longtime friends Kate Isler and Susan Gates encourage consumers to shop with purpose

Microsoft is following in the footsteps of Twitter and Facebook

Microsoft is following in the footsteps of Twitter and Facebook