PROJECTR® Auckland, a new shared immersive technologies space in the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct has opened.
Projectr New Zealand Ltd Managing Director, Michael Gregg says the facility will bring together some of Auckland and New Zealand’s top AR/VR businesses and emerging innovators to develop and demonstrate world-first and world-leading experiences using immersive technologies.
This follows the establishment of another PROJECTR® XR venue, PROJECTR® Central, in central Wellington.
Michael conceived Wellington’s first PROJECTR® site in early 2016. The first offshore location, PROJECTR® Taipei, is currently being constructed and some of New Zealand’s most innovative disruptive tech companies will locate offices there during late 2018 and 2019.
The PROJECTR® Auckland XR Centre can house up to 36 specialist AR/VR, AI and IoT tech-specific residents, student interns and staff. It is anticipated that over 60 startup companies will pass through its doors within its first three years of operations.
The new Auckland venue will be located on the first floor of the impressive 12 Madden Street location currently housing Generator’s co-working residents, NZVIF and the soon-to-be launched Spark 5G Innovation Hub. This site was in response to demand from a group of local VR industry veterans who specified they wanted a central, easy to access, premium location.
“Our residents want high quality premises to showcase the best of New Zealand’s XR experiences to their international clients and potential investors,” Michael explains.
“We chose this Wynyard Quarter location for a couple of reasons – one is the expansive views of Auckland Harbour and what that offers, and the other is the opportunity to co-locate with another generalist co-working operator to take advantage of their excellent facilities and to provide additional co-working benefits for our residents.”
Having access to 5G spectrum with Spark New Zealand offers an exciting new paradigm to local AR/VR development; a game-changer even for the fledging VR sector. The growing America’s Cup community also provides diversity and opportunities for trials and proof-of-concepts.
The stunning Viaduct site within GRIDAKL’s Innovation Precinct boasts a large events space, on-site café, car and bike parking, boardrooms and kitchens, as well as the opportunity for PROJECTR® residents to take advantage of the general business training opportunities that the facility provides.
Mr Gregg is excited about the prospects that this co-location model offers the New Zealand AR/VR community.
“I’ve been privileged to work with a wide range of startup companies from our sector over the past two years and it’s clear that while many are XR technology-literate and highly innovative, honing their traditional business skills of sales, marketing, finance and management is sometimes neglected. This offering provides all-round business support to complement what we can do within the specialist PROJECTR® XR Centre,” says Michael.
Whilst overseeing a transition of management and the refurbishment of the original Wellington Centre this year, Michael initiated a series of new collaborative R&D projects with the New Zealand Government, launched a student internship programme, and lifted occupancy of residents, interns and staff. These ideas will be incorporated within the new PROJECTR® XR Centres including PROJECTR® Central, the new Wellington location established by Projectr New Zealand Limited.
“I believe this premium location will attract international talent down under and allow our top New Zealand companies to springboard offshore, yet maintain a local base,” he says.
PROJECTR® Auckland will house a public VR Showcase suite and a private VR room with technology for residents to professionally video-blog (Vlog). The centre is installing the latest Virtual and Mixed Reality headsets and is partnering with industry leader, HP, on rendering and immersive technologies.
PROJECTR® has partnered with the XR1 Fund, which is currently closing its first capital raise. This boutique and collegial pre-seed fund for early growth companies will offer investment in the form of convertible notes to companies looking to expand offshore and have protectable intellectual property.
Michael was the founding Chair of the New Zealand VR/AR Association, which started in 2016. He stepped down from that role after two terms to focus on opening PROJECTR® XR Centres offshore. Sites have been earmarked in Australia, Singapore and USA, to add to the existing Wellington, Auckland and Taipei locations.
“Having a network of PROJECTR® venues with reciprocal rights gives New Zealanders a ‘tech embassy’ and a soft-landing pad in key international locations. Residents can access the hardware they need in other countries and can leverage our networks to facilitate commercialisation of locally developed hardware and to secure offshore contracts for XR content creation,” says Michael.
Projectr New Zealand Ltd operates the PROJECTR® Auckland XR Centre as well as the PROJECTR® Central XR Centre in Wellington, New Zealand.