Setting the new standard in creating
virtual reality content
TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE | PHOTO © YONDR
In March 2014 Facebook acquired Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality (VR) technology, for over two billion dollars. At the same time, Pieter van Leugenhagen started noticing that the digital agency where he was working was not doing much with video productions. The combination of these two things was enough for him to start his own company: Yondr.
It needs to be said: there are not many startups with such a clear and comprehensive business plan as this Belgium-based company. “We strongly believe in the combination of VR and the travel industry,” begins business strategist Van Leugenhagen. “Being able to ‘pre-experience’ your trip before going on holiday, or just visiting places that you will not be able to visit for the rest of your life, because your partner does not want to go there.”
Although they would love to start with their plans today rather than tomorrow, they are unable to do so. Van Leugenhagen: “At this moment there is not enough VR content that fits in our format. We do not just want to put a 360-degree camera somewhere and start filming; we want to tell a story. A story that needs to be told by locals.”
As they quickly concluded that it is quite unrealistic to travel all over the world to make VR productions of every noteworthy city, they came up with a solution: the Yondr Colonies Project, a franchise model incubator programme for VR agencies. “Creating up-to-date content is very important to us,” Van Leugenhagen explains. “By telling our story on conventions and going through online communities, we are able to find people and companies that are willing to contribute.”
It is a strategy that appears to be working quite well, especially given the fact that Yondr has been operating without any financial injections for the last two years. As a matter of fact, Colonies in Dubai and Medellin are being formed as we speak. To be able to provide them with the latest information, they have also set up the Yondr Academy: a research and development centre, where every question about creating content can be answered. With such a professional approach, it seems just a matter of time before you can transform your living room to your desired destination.
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