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In-car VR startup Holoride files for bankruptcy

Running out of gas

German in-car VR entertainment startup Holoride has filed for bankruptcy after new funding fell through at the eleventh hour, CEO Nils Wollny revealed on LinkedIn Wednesday. “After months of negotiations, instead of celebrating holoride's next funding round to boost our new strategic direction and release new product versions, we were forced to file for insolvency,” Wollny wrote, adding: “This truly caught us all off guard.”

Holoride got spun out of Audi in 2018 with the mission to bring VR headsets to the car; its first product, introduced in late 2022, was a €699 kit consisting of a HTC Vive Flow VR headset and a game controller that made it possible to synchronize VR entertainment with the motion of select Audi models. When the car turned right, the action in the headset also took a turn.

Holoride introduced a $199 kit to bring its VR entertainment package to other vehicles in early 2023. The company was also charging consumers a monthly subscription fee to access games and other apps.

In its current iteration, Holoride was fairly expensive and of limited utility, but the company had bold plans to take its technology beyond playing VR games in the backseat: “We are not a VR company,” Wollny told me in 2022. “We built a motion- and location-aware platform for content in moving vehicles.” This could even involve using the car’s cabin lights or massage seats for feedback, he suggested at the time. “It could bring a new level of immersion to the interiors of cars.”

Now, Wollny and his team are trying to figure out whether there’s a plan B available to them. “We view the coming weeks of the preliminary insolvency process as a chance for a reset with new investors or owners,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

“We took a bold swing at the in-car entertainment market – and missed our first shot,” he added.

This article was first published as part of Lowpass, a weekly newsletter about AR, VR, streaming and more. Sign up now for free.

Photo courtesy of Holoride.


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