A virtual reality entertainment centre is set to open in Birmingham city centre next year after a new £1 million funding deal was secured.
Atmos VR is behind the scheme to convert a vacant 10,000 sq ft unit in Floodgate Street, Digbeth, into the activity hub.
The company said the project had been designed to work in a post-covid world with issues such as social distancing built into its development alongside caps on attendees and shows limited to one hour each.
Its venue in Birmingham is due to open to customers in the spring and will be the first of eight planned new sites across the country.
Atmos VR founder Kevin Blair is a specialist in event technology and has expertise in the application of virtual reality in both commercial and military settings, having spent time in the RAF.
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He is also the Birmingham Chapter president of the international VR/AR Association.
The company was launched in 2017 to develop virtual reality concepts for engineering firms, distilleries, museums and the military before branching out into the live entertainment sector.
Mr Blair said: “Atmos VR’s aim is to bring creative content to life using the latest immersive technology, constantly evolving virtual reality and beyond and pushing the experiential boundaries of immersive experiences.
“According to a recent study, three-quarters of immersive entertainment companies successfully have attendance up to 10,000 per year, meaning we can provide immersive experiences aimed at smaller audiences who are already seeking a more personal setting.”
The development of the warehouse in Digbeth is being supported by a new £1 million finance package secured with Insight Media Fund.
The firm specialises in investing in media projects but this is the first time it has backed the so-called ‘location-based entertainment’ sector.
Samahoma Media Advisors searches for investment opportunities on behalf of the fund.
Chief executive Bob Clarke added: “As part of the fund’s focus on media investments for a post-covid world, bringing back live events is very much on its agenda and free-roaming virtual reality provides a genuine antidote to the reasonable lingering fears people may have of being part of an uncontrolled large audience crowd.
“Atmos VR has developed a cutting-edge proposition with plenty of hooks for repeat visits – with the fund’s support, we believe it can be scaled for a UK-wide rollout and international franchise opportunities.”