YBVR: Immersive 360º virtual reality video experiences as real as speaking face to face
Yerba Buena VR (YBVR) is a technological startup based in Silicon Valley beneficiary of the first IMPACT Growth batch
Yerba Buena VR (YBVR) is a technological startup based in Silicon Valley. After successful projects in previous lives, four individuals decided to redefine video distribution in the virtual reality (VR) space. This startup is building the next generation virtual reality video distribution platform. They create impressive immersive experiences with high quality resolution online videos for massive live events, entertainment or education.
YBVR was one of the beneficiaries startups of the first batch of IMPACT Growth Acceleration Programme after applying to the Smart Content vertical supported by DOCOMO Digital. We have spoken with its CEO and Co-Founder, Héctor Prieto, about their technology, their life as a startup in Silicon Valley and their experience accelerated by IMPACT Growth.
The founders: four video experts
Héctor is a Telecom Engineer who studied at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. He and Constantino were college-mates and colleagues since 1998, and YBVR is their third tech startup.
They started HyC in 2004: an expert consultancy on IPTV that helped several Telco’s such as Jazztel, ONO, Deutsche Telecom (Ya.com) or Telefónica del Sur (Chile) to become a relevant player in the IPTV space. ERICSSON acquired HyC to reinforce their media strategy in 2007. Both worked for almost ten years at ERICSSON, where they met the other two YBVR founders: Sebastián and Víctor. The four of them worked together about four years in several exciting projects, such as FOX OTT transformation in Spain, US and Latin America.
The four founders have a strong background on video technology specifically in streaming video in any kind of networks. They understood and saw the potential of virtual reality and decided to create YBVR: “We cannot apply the same paradigm from the normal video to the 360º video, so we created YBVR with a dream that immersive experiences would be as natural as speaking face to face”, he explains.
“We cannot apply the same paradigm from the normal video to the 360º video, so we created YBVR with a dream that immersive experiences would be as natural as speaking face to face”, Héctor explains.
It is there where the added value of YVBR can be found, because they create immersive experiences with maximum efficiency in real time, and “no one else is doing streaming of 360º virtual reality video with such a quality in the market at the moment”, says the CEO. So YBVR delivers a turnkey solution for broadcasting networks and premium content generators.
Silicon Valley is “living the competition every day”
As Héctor has told us, before founding YBVR, the four founders were already living and working in the US, and when they all met working at ERICSSON, they became partners and decided to create YVBR and base it in Silicon Valley because it is “the place to be”, where the capital and the talent can be found.
Héctor tells that Silicon Valley is nice, but very competitive at the same time. Startups have to compete for the best deals and gain the desired attention from the VCs, which feels like “living the competition every day”. Even though when they are in Europe they are like “the heroes who are in Silicon Valley”, they are just another startup trying to make their life successful in the California’s Bay tech hub.
IMPACT Growth: “The best thing that happened to YBVR last year”
“IMPACT Growth is the best thing that happened to us the last year”, Héctor assures. He also remarks how IMPACT Growth acceleration programme has helped them increase their contacts, and thanks to that, YBVR is getting funding. “We have been blessed by the number of connections we have made thanks to IMPACT Growth. I had the best mentor I could think about, Mr. Aquilino Peña, from KIBO Ventures, and we are learning a lot and getting many connections and a lot of traction on the investment side”, he explains.
For this reason, he encourages entrepreneurs and startups to give acceleration programmes like IMPACT Growth a try, even knowing that the processes can be very selective and competitive. “The concept of being supported by somebody like IMPACT Growth is something you really need, and you don’t realise until you are there”, he adds.
“The concept of being supported by somebody like IMPACT Growth is something you really need, and you don’t realise until you are there”, the CEO remarks.
Besides, Héctor also recommends startups to reach out to big corporations to close partnerships. He considers important having big names in their team or in their customers, because that helps them become stronger and more solid in the market. Meanwhile, the big corporations get the startup fresh air and that makes them speed up, which turns the partnership into a win-win.
The future: virtual and exciting
We ask Héctor how the future is looking like. “Virtual“, he says, and then he explains that in the future we will see each other being thousand and thousand of km away, but feeling together with this immersive technology.
Apart from virtual, the future also looks exciting and very interesting for the YBVR team because they have closed very big deals. They are entering the Japanese market after signing an agreement with the internet media company GREE Inc., in which they will do a large scale deployment of their VR technology to offer millions of customers an immersive experience. Besides, they have also closed a partnership with ERICSSON in the US, in which they will work with their 5G mobiles.
But it’s in sports where the maximum potential for disruption and monetization can be found, and YBVR is already making history in this space by signing agreements with top tier tennis organizations such as the Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) and the Mutua Madrid Open (MMO) that will change the future of live tennis coverage -they have already proved the potential of its technology by live streaming the Davis Cup and the 2018 edition of the MMO Masters 1000 tournament. YBVR has also signed deals with other disruptors in the sports industry such as DAZN, “the Netflix of sports”.
Keep an eye on these guys, they are innovating to change the VR world!