Inventure, NSA Ventures, Reaktor Ventures and Shanda Group back Icelandic AAA VR Startup
HELSINKI, November 2015 – Sólfar Studios announced today at Slush that they have received EUR 2 million in a Seed series investment from a group of leading venture capital funds across the Nordics and Asia. The seed round syndicate includes Shanda Group, Tianqiao Chen’sprivate investment group, Iceland´s NSA Ventures, and Finnish VCs Inventure and Reaktor Ventures along with individual investors from the company´s previous angel round.
Founded in October 2014, Sólfar’s mission is to create and publish pure VR games and experiences that thrill players, define the medium, and establish Sólfar as the category leader in virtual reality entertainment.
“We see virtual reality as the new medium to bring fully immersive alternative worlds to the mass population, and high quality, breath-taking content created by innovative studios like Sólfar provides entry to those worlds,” said Tianqiao Chen, founder, Chairman and CEO at Shanda Group.
“It´s a privilege to welcome a strong and visionary investor group from the Nordic countries and Asia to fuel our growth into the fascinating field of VR,” said Kjartan Pierre Emilsson CEO and co-founder at Sólfar. “By benefiting from their strong network, experience and access to a global talent pool, we are dramatically accelerating Sólfar’s ability to create trailblazing content for this medium of the future.”
Before founding Sólfar, the co-founders held leadership positions at Icelandic MMO developer and publisher CCP Games. Reynir Hardarson co-founded CCP in 1997 and was their Global Creative Director; Kjartan Pierre Emilsson built CCP´s Shanghai studio and was the Lead Game Designer on the original team behind EVE Online; and Thor Gunnarsson was most recently VP Business Development at CCP and previously a VP and General Manager at BAFTA award-winning mobile games studio Ideaworks3D.
“We see Sólfar as one of the rising stars of the Nordic gaming community,” said Helga Valfells CEO at NSA Ventures. “Iceland has a growing game developer community that is known for embracing cutting-edge technology and taking a creative and artistic approach to gaming. As a fund we are very excited about VR and believe that the Sólfar team has the right skills to build a global VR success story.”
Sólfar are assembling a fast, nimble team of industry veterans laser-focused on virtual reality entertainment content, produced faster and at higher quality than their competition. The company is off a rapid start. Announcing the company at the Slush PLAY conference in April, they next made an appearance in June at Sony’s E3 Press Conference where they debuted Godling, a stunning original VR game currently in development for PlayStation® VR.
This week, Sólfar unveiled their second product at the VRX conference in San Francisco and are today presenting a first look at EVEREST VR on stage and in private viewings at the Slush startup conference in Helsinki. Currently in production with Reykjavik-based visual effects and animation studio RVX, EVEREST VR is a unique VR experience poised to capture intense consumer interest in virtual exploration. Sólfar will publish EVEREST VR in 2016.