Scoop: LED screen startup raises $10M seed round
A year after Vū Studio took over former retail spaces at University Mall, its founders say they've raised the biggest seed round ever for a Tampa tech company.
What's happening: Tim Moore and Jonathan Davila tell Axios their production company has received a $10 million seed investment from Minnesota-based ADX Labs, at a $50 million valuation.
- The funding will help advance the tech and open new studios in Nashville and Las Vegas next year.
What they do: Vū uses an LED Volume screen made up of 500 panels to create realistic backdrops that can move and change along with camera angles.
- It's as close as you can possibly be to a location without actually being there and what Davilla calls "game engine technology combined with traditional production."
- In the year since Vū opened, it's been used by brands like WWE, Mercedes, Apple, and Neiman Marcus along with artists like Bad Bunny and Twenty One Pilots.
What they're saying: "Green screen is going to go totally extinct and be replaced by this technology," Davilla said. "It's just so much more realistic looking."
- "And you'll never miss a shot."
Why it matters: This is the kind of technology that got projects like "The Mandalorian" made when the pandemic stopped people from filming on location.
- Vū is one of only a handful of similar studios in the country and claims to be the nation's first LED Volume virtual production company specializing in commercials.
- Virtual production is set to expand into a multi-billion dollar industry, Davilla said, and Tampa is at the forefront of that.
- "This is a real blue ocean opportunity."
Background: The studio is part of Rithm at Uptown, the tech campus taking over the mall along with other innovators like the USF program designing the future of casualty-free warfare.
💭 Selene's thought bubble: This place is beyond cool. My jaw was dragging on the floor the whole time. I can't wait to see where this goes and who it brings to Tampa.
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