Back in February of this year, OSSIC had launched its Kickstarter campaign with the high hopes of reaching its goal of $100,000 USD, but after only two and a half hours of it going live it had already reached its goal. It eventually achieved an astounding final amount of $2.7million. VRFocus spoke to OSSIC’s CEO, Jason Riggs, about the journey so far of the company, what is in store for it, and the overall impact of the Kickstarter culture that is deeply embedded in VR.
At first glance the first question is “how did it achieve 27 times their original goal?” (although it may not be as exact as that), but OSSIC had a gameplan from the beginning. The goals OSSIC achieved came in the form of a two-step process. The first step was identifying a large hole in the market, which is often hard to do: “The OSSIC X was always intended for virtual reality, gaming, and music,” Riggs said. “The founders of OSSIC worked in the audio industry for over 10 years. We were all frustrated with the state of the art available for headphones that couldn’t accurately create a 3D audio environment. This led to the idea of the OSSIC X headphones that automatically calibrate to your anatomy, creating an accurate 3D listening environment specific for you.”
OSSIC not only had an idea, the vision and tactics to make its targetted audience feel the need for it in their lives, which is even harder. “We knew early on we wanted to launch the OSSIC X on Kickstarter. It’s a great way to gauge support for your technology in the market, and we really believed that what we were doing was in great alignment with the interests of the Kickstarter community.
“You have to build a supportive audience ahead of time. We did a four month roadshow, where we went to cities all over the United States and provided demos to thousands of people. This created a community of people excited for our technology, which helped us reach the success of our campaign.”
The success of the campaign hasn’t just been beneficial in itself, but with the amount of noise raised it is a sure bet that other companies are eager to jump on board. The CEO was asked whether or not there had been further interest as a result of OSSIC X’s significant success, but he didn’t reveal too many details at all. However, we can certainly take away that there are collaborations in the works: “Absolutely, especially on the content side. We’re currently working closely with VR, gaming, and music content creators to help unlock amazing 3D audio experiences.”
OSSIC is by no means a standalone story as the origin of the VR Kickstarter success has come from the most well-known name to come of modern VR: the Oculus Rift. Although right now Oculus hasn’t had the best run with its major setbacks of delays, Riggs acknowledged the Oculus Rift’s legacy and success when asked about the importance of Kickstarter to specifically VR: “Obviously, the Oculus was key in starting the VR movement on Kickstarter. There is a little more scepticism today due to delays in delivery experienced by some Kickstarter projects, but we still believe that it’s a great platform for launching a project.”
Incredible financial aid doesn’t necessarily ensure a happy ending, and this is something that OSSIC recognises. The company is far from its peak: “Of course we hoped for success, but we never imagined that it would turn out to be as successful as it was. We were pleasantly surprised with all of the support that we received and the final outcome of $2.7 million. The whole OSSIC team is heads down working on delivering the product. We can’t wait to get it in our backers’ hands.”