Pioneer Square Labs

Our Investment in BigBox VR

We are thrilled to announce that PSL Ventures has invested in BigBox VR. Our investment is part of the company’s $5.0 million seed round, led by Shasta Ventures with participation from China-based GSR Ventures and angels.


The company aims to create the future of VR multiplayer gaming and is launching an insanely fun game, purpose-built for VR: POPULATION: ONE. Check out the teaser. BigBox VR is founded by two long-time gaming industry veterans Chia Chin Lee and Gabe Brown.


After a hype cycle that was detached from reality, VR is now out of favor with investors, many of whom lost millions of dollars on premature bets. Hardware adoption has been slower than anticipated, and, with a lack of hardware adoption, good VR content has lagged as well. No one knows what the exact timing for mass VR adoption might be. We believe VR will achieve critical mass in the next three years, but that like most major platform waves, the timing of the curve spike may not become obvious until just before it arrives. When the timing of a new technology’s adoption is uncertain, we like to bet on seasoned teams who have built disruptive product through up-and-down market cycles before. Greg Gottesman has known Chia Chin and Gabe for more than a decade, and he has tried to recruit Chia Chin for various roles here at PSL several times. Both Chia Chin and Gabe are thoughtful, super-savvy operators and domain experts who plan to deploy this capital wisely to ensure BigBox capitalizes on the VR wave when it hits. We could not imagine a better team for this opportunity.


BigBox has also built a great VR game in a genre we (and most of the world) can’t get enough of at the moment: Battle Royale à la Fortnite. The truth is, the first time we played POPULATION: ONE, it blew our socks off. Virtual reality is the perfect environment for a Battle Royale game where you feel fully immersed, bullets are speeding past you, and you’re flying from place to place. We believe that gaming-related content will lead VR adoption, as it has with new technology platforms like mobile, streaming, and the connected living room. The POPULATION: ONE experience makes one heck of a case for that.


Seattle is perhaps the best place in the world for building games and gaming platforms. With big powerhouses such as Microsoft (where Chia Chin worked for Xbox), Nintendo, and Valve and startups that have achieved great exits like PopCap, Big Fish, and DoubleDown, gaming talent thrives in the Pacific Northwest. VR-specific expertise is plentiful in the region, so BigBox is fortunate to be located in a hub for the right kind of talent.


POPULATION: ONE is formally launching in early 2019. We are excited and humbled to be part of this ride.


GeekWire: Seattle’s next unicorn? Valve and Disney vets raise $5M to build online VR games at BigBox VR

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