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Thursday 12 April 2018

VR 'sociable network' vTime gets real funding boost

logoI've only watched the first episode of Channel 4's new mixed-reality drama, Kiss me First, and I'm already hooked. Now I find I can recreate the experience for myself and my friends (hopefully without the drama) using Liverpool-based VR 'sociable network' startup, vTime. vTime is basically 'chat with avatars' in settings of your choice, and already claims over one million users across the planet.

Launched in 2015, vTime has raised £5.4m in a Series A funding round led by Deepbridge Capital and also included investment from Liverpool institutional loan and equity provider MSIF.

While I am impressed with the short video on vTime's website I struggle to find the business model. Is it advertising (there were no ads visible on the website clip)? It can't be sale of your personal data (I hope) I as I've skimmed through vTime's  Privacy Policy and they say they collect extensive information about your usage of the system (hosted on AWS in the US, by the way) but will not disclose personal data to third parties. But there are several exceptions.

One such notable exception is Google, as vTime uses Google Analytics "in order to better understand your use of the System and how we can improve the System. Google may plant a permanent cookie on your device to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit the System" from which any data Google collects then comes under the auspices of Google's privacy policies. I haven't followed that chain through to see where else your personal data might end up.

So do read the small print if you intend to be 'virtually sociable' as the personal data you are disclosing – wittingly or otherwise – is very real.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:39' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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