Disney-Backed VR Startup Tyffon Raises $7.8 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

Janko Roettgers

Disney-backed immersive media startup Tyffon has raised a new $7.8 million Series A round of funding. The company wants to use the new cash infusion for an international expansion that includes the opening of a Santa Monica, Calif.-based virtual reality (VR) center.

“We will also accelerate our IP licensing activities with major Hollywood studios,” Tyffon CEO Ken Fukazawa told Variety recently.

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Tyffon launched out of the Disney Accelerator program back in 2014, and currently operates two location-based VR centers dubbed Tyffoniums in Tokyo. The company plans to open a third location in the Japanese capital this year, and also wants to launch its Santa Monica outpost before the end of the year. It has plans to open additional locations around the world.

Content-wise, Tyffon has thus far primarily focused on horror- and fantasy-themed free-roam VR. One of its three current attractions is “Corridor,” which is being described as a mixed reality horror experience. Another is “Tarot VR,” a kind of anthology of fantasy scenes in VR.

Fukazawa said that the company wanted to continue to work on horror-themed content. “At the same time, we will also develop kids/family-oriented original content, which also will be featured in our Tyffonium venues in the coming months,” he said.

Tyffon has in the past also developed mobile apps, including an AR filter app launched in partnership with Disney. Going forward, the company wants to once again embrace small screens to reach consumers beyond its VR centers. “Expect to see a unique 360 degree immersive approach to Tyffon experiences, which gives our guests the ability to take their in-venue experiences outside for ongoing engagement,” said Fukazawa.

Tyffon’s new funding round is being led by Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), and brings the total amount raised by the company to $12 million. Existing investors include SEGA SAMMY Holdings, The Walt Disney Company, Mizuho Capital, Tokyu Recreation, and Canal Ventures. Th company currently has 35 employees, and offices in both Santa Monica and Tokyo.

 

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