Feb 28 Meetup - Making Money with VR


Sign up for the meetup!

Making Money with VR

Date/time: Tuesday, Feb 28, 6pm - 7:30pm
Location: Stanford campus, Tresidder bldg, Cypress room (North)
Parking: Tresidder Parking Lot is directly south of Tresidder, about a 3 min walk from where we’re doing the meetup. Paid but not expensive.

The RICOH THETA Unofficial Guide (free resource site with forum, blog, YouTube, GitHub and more) hosts a bi-monthly meetup. It generally focuses on developer topics (the camera has an open API) surrounding the RICOH THETA camera. But we’ve gotten many questions about careers in VR. So this month we’re holding the meetup on Stanford campus, to give out a little information about the VR industry today and where students can start digging in.

Is money being made with VR now? Hell yes! What’s happening in the industry? How do I get started? Dive in with the VR leaders. This meetup will give you insight into InstaVR, a company that is currently making money and seeing explosive business growth in the VR space. The second talk will highlight the RICOH THETA Unofficial Guide as a community resource accessible to all that encourages learning and experimentation, not just for technologists, with VR technologies.

Pizza and soda will be served for all attendees!

VR Business Today - Show Me the Money!

Andrew Woodberry, InstaVR

InstaVR is a venture-funded startup used by over 10,000 companies around the world. After receiving a $2 million Series A round led by The Venture Reality Fund late last year, they’ve expanded their business and community activities to take advantage of the explosive growth in the VR market. InstaVR allows individuals like real estate agents or companies like AECOM (construction) to build virtual tours, and quickly push VR content out to multiple platforms, including GearVR and more. Does Andrew have the greatest job on Earth? He’ll tell you how to succeed in with a VR business and provide career advice direct from the VR world!

Making Money with 360 Live Streaming

Jesse Casman, RICOH THETA Unofficial Guide site

Where can you start learning to create revenue-generating 360 live streaming video applications, services and products for VR today? Companies like Streambox, mimoLive and Everywoah are making money on Streaming 360 video.

Get an overview of the free and open RICOH THETA Unofficial Guide community, try some of the projects and tutorials, ask questions and learn yourself! There’s nothing stopping you! As a taste of some of the types of projects, Jesse will introduce several cutting edge live 360 degree streaming applications and show you the ins and outs.

He’ll also give you a preview of the 360 video technology behind the upcoming Thanics Robotics HALO drone with immersive VR live streaming.

How to Make a VR App Using the Ricoh Theta & InstaVR

What time is the room closing? I’m just wondering if people can stay in the room and show demos after 7:30pm.


We have the room until 8pm


Here’s a bit more context on my question. I don’t have access to an HTC Vive and the nice tutorial below shows using the THETA S with an HTC Vive. Maybe someone else has it working with an HTC Vive and can show it? Right now, I have it running on my local desktop, but it’s not the same experience and there’s some problems with SteamVR expecting a headset.

Although we discussed showing the Unity SteamVR demo on a laptop on the side, I took another look at it and haven’t figured out how to get a good experience without a headset. Right now, I don’t plan on showing the SteamVR demo on my laptop, but am still curious if someone else has a HTC Vive (or Oculus Rift) and can show a demo on Tuesday.


Without the HTC Vive it probably doesn’t demo well, but it’s cool if you can show off some of the details maybe 1-to-1 at the meetup. If someone showed up with an HTC Vive, do you think you could hook it up right there and show some live streaming in the goggles? Again, not as a big demo in front of everyone, but “on the side.”


It should just work… ha.

We don’t have the hand controller stuff working, but the headset motion-tracking should work… but you never know…


My plan is to use this repo to work on the code this weekend. If someone else wants to collaborate on it, fork it and make a pull request. As I don’t have the hand controllers, I’ll probably spend more time trying to get the shader pack working on my laptop.


I can show it on my laptop if anyone is working on the same project.

  • This is a good-enough stitch made with manual adjustments. It does not use RICOH’s stitching technology. This quality is fine for telepresence (projecting the camera stream from a robot into a headset and then moving around)
  • It’s still expecting an HTC Vive, which I don’t have
  • CPU load is low on my laptop, an older i7 dual-core with 8GB of ram and discrete graphics card
  • Movement of the field of view is quite smooth with little lag (connected with USB)
  • SteamVR was updated over the weekend and I have not applied the update as I’m wondering if something might break
  • Do not have this working on a mobile phone. :frowning:


Thanks for offering to bring this to the meetup. Would be cool if anyone else working on Unity can look and see what you’ve done. Unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone with an HTC Vive myself.


UPDATED: Confirmed that parking in Tresidder parking lot is free after 4pm. Map updated with location of Cypress (north) - the blue spot - on the 2nd floor.

Description: The best way to get there from the parking lot is to walk up the set of stairs that are facing the parking lot, walk toward the “Student Services Center” sign, and then keep walking in that direction until you get to “Meeting Rooms.” Then look for Cypress (north) room.



Thanks to everyone for showing up, asking lots of questions, and contributing to the community. Really fun!

There was a request for the slides. Here you go!


Man, that was incredible. Thanks for organizing an epic event. Here’s some pictures and my favorite slide.


@jcasman, thanks again for organizing these events and for enabling this great community of developers to work together. I haven’t had this much fun in a while. The excitement, innovation, and optimism were incredible. People in the VR space are going to make a ton of money. Realistically, only a small percentage will achieve huge success, but it’s still fun to give it a try and play the business game. I’m sure some people we know will make millions of dollars personally and a few people will make tens of millions of dollars from VR.

I remember the excitement from 15 years ago when were young execs at that open source startup and helped raise $96M. Or even before that when we were both in the Internet space and people we know made AND lost billions.

Feeling the buzz of the VR community, I went home and looked at traffic for the community that everyone here built. Look at the year-over-year growth in monthly traffic from Feb 2016 to Feb 2017. It’s also incredible that the vision of 360 media by early community leaders like @Svendus is about to cross the chasm. Thanks to Svend and the early believers.

The graph below of the traffic on this site used by thousands of developers and power users is some indication of the general buzz and interest in developing businesses around the THETA, which is a good proxy for a business that involves 360 video or photos. It’s exploding! Thanks again to the community members and to the volunteer community leaders like @Svendus


“Making Money with VR” was an engaging community-based event packed with people excited about VR. First, we went over some of the projects done by members of the audience. This included a 360 picture of a pumpkin patch taken by Michael Berman, who used Photoshop to make his photo look more like a painting. Other interesting projects included 360 photos of a wedding and of a hospital room, and even a 360 boating video! Then we got into the 2 talks of the night.

The first talk was by Andrew Woodberry, Head of Sales and Marketing at InstaVR.

InstaVR allows users to create and distribute 360 VR experiences easily. After telling us more about his role in the company as well as the company’s goals, he said that the VR industry is in a mysterious, chasm-like place right now, but that it is constantly and quickly growing.
Woodberry also provided 5 steps in order to build a VR company while taking us through the creation of InstaVR. Step one was to have a passion for VR, and step two was to figure out what need you’re filling. InstaVR is filling the need for a platform that allows people who aren’t VR experts to create VR things. The third step was to create a minimum viable product and step four was to develop a sales marketing strategy, which could include Google, Facebook ads, or social media, for example. The final step was to adapt quickly since the VR market changes really fast - those who want to succeed need to be able to listen to their customers and make quick changes.

Woodberry concluded with questions to consider when joining the VR industry, such as “Do you want to work for a startup or for big tech?” He also emphasized that doing small VR products on your own before applying for a VR job shows a great amount of interest and helps you get hired. He also said to read about VR often in order to keep up with the constantly changing market.

The second talk was by Jesse Casman, one of the people who run the RICOH Theta Unofficial Guide.

While Woodberry talked about making money within the industry, Casman focused on making money while doing projects on your own. He talked about Theta360.biz, a large scale VR business in Japan that focuses on 360 images of real estate and travel. He also showed us videos of the Thanics Robotics Drone, which isn’t available to the public right now (it’s only in beta mode), but looks really cool. Then he showed more examples of people using VR in different situations: to record 360 videos in moving cars, to build a 360 live streaming app, and to improve the definition of the current Theta camera. He concluded by announcing money-making opportunities. One of the opportunities was to write for the RICOH Theta Guide, and the other was a challenge with a Raspberry Pi 3 as the prize.

Overall, everyone really loved the event and had a great time connecting with other people interested in VR. So much valuable information in one room!