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Virtual reality seemed to be top of mind at this year’s DIG SOUTH Interactive Festival. Speakers including Gary Vaynerchuk and Eric Bowman were fired up about VR, both making predictions about how fast (or slow) the technology will be adopted. Goldman Sachs estimates the virtual and augmented reality market could reach $80B by 2025 (and that’s on the conservative end – speedier uptake could get it to nearly $182B).

They’re not basing this growth on a slew of souped-up video games; VR opportunities are massive in industries like real estate, healthcare, retail, and sports. Last year, VC funding of virtual reality startups reached almost $700M, largely from early-stage deals.

And the South isn’t missing out on the virtual reality movement. Greenville, SC just played host to the international IEEE VR Conference in March and innovative VR startups are popping up all across our region. Read below for eight companies that caught our eye.

  1. Charleston’s own AtlAtl Software allows customers to build engineered-to-order products in a virtual environment, generate quotes, and close the deal – all in one sales visit. Their 3D technology uses full motion graphics and game-like technology that makes it easy to view product renderings in real time. Some of you may have tested their tech at DIG 2016 (if you didn’t get the chance, check out photos here).
  2. Austin-based Virtuix launched their first product on Kickstarter in 2013. Since then, they’ve raised over $8M to build out the Omni, a patent-pending omni-directional treadmill that solves the problem of physical motion in the virtual world. Users can run, walk and jump safely while using any VR headset.
  3. Orlando-based Augo brings augmented reality to TV. After downloading the mobile app, users point their mobile device at the Augo logo on their TV screen to have an interactive experience with whatever show or game they’re watching.
  4. LoveThatFit is a virtual fitting room app developed in Charlottesville, VA. Their technology allows shoppers to try on clothes virtually by uploading a full-body image. LTF can be integrated directly with retailers’ online and brick-and-mortar stores.
  5. We couldn’t find out a ton about stealth-mode startup brainground, which is developing a “virtual reality learning environment” in Austin. We’re excited to see what they come up with.
  6. Miami-based Ci Dynamics has developed Dynamo™, easy-to-use 3D design software for building, controlling, and simulating anything you can think of in real-time. The technology has applications for virtual motion movies, interactive video games, and more.
  7. Cary-based Wearality has developed SKY, 3D glasses for “immersive entertainment.” The headset enables users to view movies, games, or software on a smartphone with a 150-degree field of vision (the widest FOV in the industry thanks to their close connection with Lockheed Martin).
  8. Atlanta-based Trick3D is expanding on their core of 3D animation and filmmaking to create VR technology. Their offerings include an educational kids video game, immersive brand experiences, and their flagship product, Floorplan Revolution, which enables virtual real estate and construction walk-throughs.

Know of other startups building virtual reality technology in the South? Let us know in the comments or share with us on Twitter @DIG_SOUTH!