Social virtual reality startup AltspaceVR may not be dead after all


Social virtual reality startup AltspaceVR may not be dead after all

What is dead in VR may never die, perhaps?

Social VR startup AltspaceVR may not be shutting down after all.

The company, which raised more than $15 million in funding from GV, Comcast Ventures and others, announced last month that it was unexpectedly closing its virtual doors after a funding deal fell through “at the last second.” But oddly, less than a month later, the startup has shared that it’s not going anywhere thanks to new interest from “third parties.”

“We are now in discussions with third parties to develop a sustainable solution to continue development and growth for the future. We look forward to communicating more as details solidify over the coming weeks and months,” a company spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email. The company said it will be revealing more details in the “coming weeks and months,” AltspaceVR CEO Eric Romo did not offer further details when reached for comment.

For now, the service is available to users thanks to a “skeleton crew” at the startup keeping things going.

Last month Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey sent a message to his Twitter followers polling them on whether or not he should “save” the startup. Today, soon after a blog post detailing AltspaceVR’s continued operation went live on the company’s site, Luckey tweeted out a link to the story.

We have reached out to Palmer Luckey on Twitter for comment.

The startup had initially announced it would be shutting down the social network earlier this month and hosted a large community event to mark the sunsetting, but that day came and went with its CEO later tweeting “…I’m thinking we keep the lights on a little longer. Just in case… Sound ok to you?”

It’s honestly unclear what to make of the sudden shutdown and un-shutdown announcements and whether they were just efforts to grab attention and put together a last minute deal, but it is apparent that AltspaceVR still has their work cut out for them as they look to carve out a niche in a crowded social VR space that still has Facebook to compete with.

The startup has also laid off several of its employees and has shut down the majority of its servers, a source close to the company tells TechCrunch. The company revealed last month that its service had just 35,000 monthly active users, despite its presence on most major VR headsets as well as a desktop web interface.

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