Mental health aid, robot wars and realistic surgery – Nordic XR Startups chose a diverse batch of VR/AR companies

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Nordic XR Startups, the Helsinki-based international accelerator program that kickstarted in the spring of last year, has finished the application phase for its second batch. From the group of applicants, four companies developing VR and AR innovations were chosen for this year’s program. The Nordic program, that was previously known as Nordic VR Startups, now includes three Finnish companies and one from Sweden.

From Finland, three companies from Helsinki made the cut: Osgenic Oy, AR Games Helsinki and Mantisbite Oy. They are joined by the Stockholm-based Mimerse AB.

Osgenic Oy is developing an educational VR app for medical professionals. Its goal is to offer a new training tool for surgical procedures and in doing so, to enhance patient safety.

AR Games Helsinki (ARGH) is home to seen-it-all veterans, who have an extensive experience of the biggest titles in the gaming industry, including Horizon Zero Dawn, Max Payne and The Walking Dead – No Man’s Land. Finnish venture capitalists Sisu Game Ventures and Wave Ventures took part in the company’s funding round.

Mantisbite Oy is a gaming studio that vies for a place at the frontline of the VR/AR revolution with the help of Nordic XR Startups. Its previous game Island Delta was chosen as an Editor’s Choice game in both Apple’s and Google’s app stores a few years ago. The company is now developing Bandit Point, an immersive action-RPG shooter. Its enthralling storyline takes the player to a world full of enemy robots, where the gaming experience is enriched by diverse challenges, character development and quirky humour.

Mimerse AB is working on a VR platform that aims to tackle mental health issues. In developing it, Mimerse utilizes scientific therapy treatments used in psychology; by means of virtual reality, different kinds of environments and situations are simulated for the user. Gamifying the therapy treatments means that the user is able to advance at their own pace in tackling phobias and other mental disorders. Itsy, which is the company’s previous piece of work, uses progressive exposure therapy to treat arachnophobia. Their pain distraction/relaxation app Happy Place has about 50,000 installs.

The chosen companies seek for know-how and funding from NXS

The application period for Nordic XR Startups program’s second batch was valid through February 2018. In the selection process, special emphasis was put on the teams’ previous experience. The companies will be introduced in the Arctic 15 event, held in Helsinki on 30th–31st May 2018, although the actual co-operation has already begun earlier in May, as the companies moved to the accelerator program’s headquarters.

On an operational level the companies will be supported by a 4-person Nordic XR Startups team, in addition to which the startups will receive monthly guidance from the program mentors. The pinnacle of the co-operation will be the Demo Day event, arranged during Slush in December. At the Demo Day, the chosen startups will pitch the services they provide to investors and business partners.

”For the second batch we wanted more experienced teams and we are very pleased that four companies of such a high calibre made the cut. We tweaked the application process to be more demanding than it was last time round, and as a result, the applications we received were of a much higher quality than before”, says Nordic XR Startupsin Co-Director and Nordisk Filmin Senior Vice President Suman Rath.

The selected companies expect to benefit especially from the NXS mentors’ experience.

”We had heard good things about the NXS program and we believe that this will be an opportunity for us to get expert support and feedback on our VR solutions and business development. We are keen to grow our network on the XR side and evaluate our company’s solutions on a broad range with professionals. We are also looking for mentoring from people who have done it. People who have built a company from scratch and succeeded. And of course we want to hear of missteps and failures and how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to it as well as the best practices to improve our focus”, says CEO of Osgenic Oy Arne Schlenzka.

CEO of Mantisbite Oy Timo Kuronen underlines the significance of excitement that prevails in the NXS community as a force that company development can be built on.

”We’re looking forward to being surrounded by like-minded people who share our fascination for the enormous potential that is VR/AR. The accompanied funding can provide us with tools to make the necessary investments and hires to grow the company to a point where the production of our full-feature game will be possible, as well as securing more stable future beyond the launch. The collective wisdom of other companies working here, as well as the insight and knowledge from the mentors, will definitely help us to achieve our goals.”

 

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Founded in 2007, gumi Inc. (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 3903) is a leading global mobile game publisher and developer headquartered in Japan, with overseas operations in France, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States. The company has proven success in launching titles worldwide, such as the widely popular role-playing games Brave Frontier and Phantom of the Kill. With ongoing publishing and development projects on various platforms, including iOS, Android, and more, gumi aims to change the world through innovative entertainment products and services, including both original content and collaborations with popular IP. For more information, please visit http://www.gu3.co.jp/en/ . 

About Nordisk Film

Founded in 1906, Nordisk Film is the leading producer and distributor of films in the Nordic countries and operates the largest cinema chains in Denmark and Norway. Nordisk Film has digital businesses within gift cards, ticketing services, computer games development and eSports and is the distributor of PlayStation in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Nordisk Film is part of Egmont – Denmark’s largest media group with 6,200 employees and activities in 30 countries. These include Egmont Publishing, which publishes more than 700 magazines, TV 2 in Norway and several book publishers. Egmont is a commercial foundation that generates revenue amounting to EUR 1.6 billion and donate more than EUR 13 million a year to help improve the lives of children and young people. For more information, please visit http://www.nordiskfilm.com .