The unofficial Oculus Quest sideloading platform, SideQuest, has announced it raised $3 million in its most recent seed round. This fresh investment, a level up from last year’s $650,000 investment, will go towards helping VR developers publish apps via OpenXR integration.
Who is SideQuest?
Irish founders Shane and Orla Harris started the company two days after the release of the Oculus Quest in 2019. Since its launch, SideQuest has become the leading sideloading platform for users of Facebook’s Quest and Quest 2 standalone headsets, leaving up-and-coming competitors in the dust.
According to the married couple, the platform currently has more than a million monthly users, a significant milestone with no signs of slowing down any time soon.
SideQuest’s success is mainly thanks to Facebook itself. Similar to gaming console providers, Facebook implemented a strict policy on content available on the official Oculus app store.
SideQuest capitalized on this policy and offered virtual reality developers the chance to publicly list any VR software for people to try out on the Facebook headsets. Quest owners were happy to have the chance to test experimental software that was not yet approved, or unlikely to ever be approved, through official channels.
Games such as Hyper Dash, Cubism, and Puzzling Places used SideQuest to test their software, getting valuable feedback from users before moving towards official release on different platforms.
Even with the launch of the less moderated App Lab distribution system, SideQuest’s popularity continued to grow, becoming the Quest’s main app store, albeit unofficially. This is a feat that soon attracted investors willing to help position the company and its technology for continued success.
Where the Funding Came From
2020’s investment was driven by SideQuest’s growing popularity. Within a short six months, VR developers uploaded more than 800 apps on SideQuest. The company used the funding that came from Palmer Lucky (the Oculus VR founder) and Boost VC to develop a test service and additional tools to help VR developers. A needed push that helped to solidify SideQuest as a leader in its space.
This recent $3 million seed round was headed up by the UK-based VC company PROfounders with participation by angel investors, including Ade Ventures, Ascension, SCNE, and Connect Ventures. It takes SideQuest’s valuation to approximately $10 million, according to a report in The Irish Times.
What This Investment Means for SideQuest
SideQuest is now in a position to invest, expand, and adapt to the changing virtual reality world. Manufacturers are coming up with new VR headsets that are more portable and more powerful than ever. The OpenXR standard can only make it easier for VR developers to build apps that can run on a range of different hardware.
Speaking to UploadVR, Orla Harris says, “As the ecosystem opens up and more hardware enters the space we hope to help developers port to more platforms.”
Shane Harris added, “This raise gives us the runway needed to focus on driving more engagement in our communities, more support for developers, and more innovation in VR. We are excited to be able to provide discovery and community for the next generation of content creators.”
“We are excited to focus our energies on building tools and services to help developers target multiple platforms with OpenXR whilst leveraging the SideQuest community to grow their audience.”
The Future’s Bright
The future’s looking bright for SideQuest. This fresh investment should keep it at the forefront of the industry, providing it with the necessary funds to remain innovative and push the envelope of what’s possible. Investments are expected in R&D, talent acquisition, and expanding their audience with marketing.
The net result is that virtual reality developers will welcome the opportunity to expand their audience, provide software for a range of hardware, and gain valuable feedback from players. And, players will reap the benefits of having access to a vast array of apps not available on other platforms.
As Orla Harris told The Irish Times, “It has always been our goal to help developers and the bonus is that the enthusiastic VR community of streamers, reviewers, and players makes that job so much fun for us.”
Have you used SideQuest or have feedback on your experience with the software? Reach out and let us know. We always welcome feedback from the perspective of gamers, developers, and investors alike.