Third Place in Virtual Reality

Bigscreen is virtual reality’s third place.

Bigscreen is virtual reality’s third place.

bigscreenvr.com

The Idea

Two years ago, while browsing Twitter I stumbled across Darshan. Although I don’t remember the exact tweet or time that I followed Darshan, I’d be willing to bet that I began following Darshan because of his deep obsession with the future and virtual reality.

We exchanged tweets quite a few times, and when I saw he was starting his own company I was naturally intrigued. In July of 2015, he sent me a message saying:

“Hey Blake! I’m working on a VR product — I’d love your feedback! Do you have a Oculus Development Kit 2 (DK2)+Windows PC & time this week to test it?”

Despite being pumped to learn more about what he was working on, I didn’t have an Oculus Development Kit OR a PC powerful enough to run virtual reality.

He continued to try and explain what he was working on:

A better description would VR LAN parties — hard to understand without trying it! It’s a general purpose tool. You’re in a virtual room, you can talk and hear people. You can also see everything on their desktop screens. You could be playing games, browsing the web, or collaborating on some code. Anything you can do on your desktop, you can see in here. Imagine being in a virtual room with 120" monitors instead of a tiny 20" monitor.

I remember thinking this sounds amazing, but I had no idea what any of that actually meant. There were no pictures, videos, or anything. He had decided to bootstrap for a while, and I wasn’t even working at Ludlow at this point, so I let the conversation fade.

Bigscreen

Shortly after joining Ludlow in February of 2016, I decided to circle back up with Darshan. His vision and product were evolving. We hopped a brief call and I was shocked that his vision didn’t change at all over the past 8 months. If anything, the vision was much more clear. He also had a name for his company: Bigscreen.

He asked me, again, if we had a Oculus DK2 and a powerful enough PC to run VR. Thankfully, this time, I had a powerful enough PC. I had recently pre-ordered an Oculus and decided to upgrade my personal build.

We had one problem though. My headset wasn’t arriving until mid-April and we still didn’t have a DK2. Through some sort of luck, Jonathon was able to find someone willing to let us borrow a DK2 via this tweet:

That night, Jonathon and Brett both drove to my house as we all huddled around an Oculus DK2 to hear (and see) Darshan pitch us Bigscreen while inside Bigscreen.

We were all shocked. It somehow exceeded all expectations that Darshan set 8 months prior.

Despite being thousands of miles away, it felt like we were sitting and talking in the same room.

Third Place

For the past year, I’ve struggled with explaining why power-users are using Bigscreen for more than 20–30 hours a week. However, I recently stumbled upon the concept of third place, and I think it perfectly describes why people love Bigscreen.

In short, a third place is your “home away from home.”

The Wall Street Journal explains:

Your first place is your home. Your second place is your work. Then there’s the more-elusive third place — somewhere you feel comfortable, hang out with friends and acquaintances.

Examples of third places would be coffee shops, clubs, parks, libraries, etc.

Bigscreen has naturally become virtual reality’s third place.

Today, Bigscreen is an immersive virtual reality platform that is revolutionizing the way people work, play, hangout, and collaborate. However, I like to think of Bigscreen as our “home away home.” If you’ve ever read Ready Player One, Bigscreen is the closest thing we have to the chatrooms that Aech and Parvizal hang out in.

This team knows how to build an amazing product and has built an even stronger community around them. We couldn’t be more thrilled to back Bigscreen and the future of personal computing.

I truthfully don’t have the words to describe my experiences with Bigscreen. However, I think I agree with Darshan on this one. It’s really hard to understand without trying for yourself.

If you have an Oculus or a Vive, I highly recommend trying it out for yourself: BigscreenVR

Bigscreen is also hiring! If you or anyone you know is an experienced 3D artists, software engineers, or designers please feel free to reach out to me or apply directly online. Bigscreen’s team is fully remote, as they dogfood Bigscreen as a virtual office. If working on the future of personal computing interests you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

To quote Darshan:

These are the early days and personal computing is about to change forever. Many will dismiss this as a silly toy, but eventually people will wonder how we ever used tiny 2D screens.

We have big plans.

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As always, if you are ever interested in chatting more about VC, startups, OR if you want me to write about a specific topic - I'd love to hear from you.
Twitter: @blakeir