Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Foundation of the “System” invested in the British project of virtual reality – RBC

Visitors to the headquarters of the Google experience the Google Cardboard

Photo: Spencer Green/AP

the Fund Sistema has invested $ 2.5 million in scientific and education project MEL Science, which develops projects for students at the intersection of traditional learning and virtual reality. “System” has chosen rapidly growing market: the global volume of investments in projects segment of virtual reality is almost $ 1.5 billion

Sistema Venture Capital (venture Fund of the AFK “System”) became the first third-party investor in the startup MEL Science, said yesterday the parties to the transaction. The Fund invested $ 2.5 million, the size of the share is not disclosed. Funds will be directed to the development of a series of VR tutorials and products in the field of physics and biology.

MEL Science was created in 2014. The company develops projects for school students at the intersection of traditional learning and online technologies. Flagman MEL Science — a course for independent study chemistry. It includes 38 sets for experiments, mobile application, virtual reality glasses Google Cardboard. With the help of a smartphone and points students can view on chemical reactions “from the inside”.

the company’s Founder — Vasily Filippov — previously invested in MEL Science $ 1.5 million in Addition to MEL Science Vasily Philippov is a co-founder developer of mobile applications SPB Software. In 2011 the company was sold to Yandex for $ 38.4 million.

Now MEL Science sells its kits in three countries — Russia, USA, UK. The US accounts for 65-70% of sales. This is due to the increasing popularity of home schooling in the country is now 2.5 million of the 50 million American schoolchildren are taught at home.

For Sistema VC is the fourth deal. Previously, the Fund invested in the company facial recognition Systems, service of household services YouDo and developer for VR gaming. In previous projects Sistema VC has invested a total of more than 572 million rubles (the amount does not include investments in YouDo — the terms of the deal were not disclosed).

PwC Partner Yuri Fluff reminds that the industry of the VR technology is in its infancy. Educational projects in the sales is rather insignificant, the main portion of the game. “With regard to primary education, there is, VR, most likely, will appear after the experience of their application in the segment of higher education, as online learning requires some self-discipline and skills of work with the software. However, we have not yet seen online courses of Russian universities that offer a virtual reality mode. Although this idea, of course, on the surface, the benefits of it are clear, and sooner or later it will be implemented”, — said Yuri Fluff.

According to CB Insights, in 2015, startups in the field of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) raised from investors of $ 658 million during the 126 transactions. As wrote TechCrunch, 2012 the volume of attracted funds amounted to more than $ 1.46 billion, the Publication cites Citi’s estimate, according to which by 2019, the VR market will grow to $ 15.9 billion.

But the representative of the Foundation for Internet development initiatives (Fria) Sergey Skripnikov recalls serious limitations for the project. “According to forecasts by Goldman Sachs, the solution of VR/AR in the coming years are likely to be additional to traditional training mechanics, not a complete replacement. This is a system limitation for the sector, which the VR software may not qualify for the “cannibalization” of revenue in the education segment, the world market for educational VR software evaluate [the sum of] not more than $ 700 million by the year 2025″, — said the interlocutor of RBC. In addition, he points out that “the startup economy may not converge”: new users can bring the company less money than the cost of their involvement. “Startup, it seems, is not working with paid acquisition channels, and therefore, scenarios for future growth not yet tested in the real economy of business” — said Sergey Skripnikov.


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