How these three engineering dropouts plan to revolutionize gaming industry

Norah AI
(From left to right) Harikrishna Valiyath, Vrushali Prasade, Shubham Mishra

Age, 33; height, 6’; weight, 80 kg; Muscle, well built; sex, male; ethinicity, asian. You just need to specify these requirements to build a 3D character on a platform called Norah AI. The game building becomes super easy with its auto rigging, animation style transfer and web-based motion editor.

Norah AI enables creation and incorporation of all different game elements ranging from creation of 3D models and their animation to story weaving and texturing, which doesn’t require any coding background for people who wish to or has an idea for creating a game.

The product is time-saving. With Norah AI animation tool, anyone can create an animated model in minutes. What takes months, will soon take minutes.  Average cost is very low. Tools are easy with simple. Users can make the changes just by moving a few sliders around. An individual who lacks coding abilities simply has to give Norah AI a text-based input — create a tall, broad, man with curly hair and the character is generated.

“We have gotten a good response for the phase 1 release with over 11000 registered users within 45 days since launch,” says 23-year-old Vrushali Prasade, Cofounder and CTO at Absentia Virtual Reality, which is the parent company of Norah AI.

Its clients are indie game developers, gaming studios as well newcomers who do not have enough experience in any of the game engines.

The platform which offers its tools on subscription model targets to make $1 million average return rate by the next year.

Norah AI is the second product after Tesseract – a virtual reality headgear.

Story of three dropouts

Prasade, Subhan Mishra (CEO) and Harikrishna Ramesh (CFO) were studying at BITS-Pilani Goa, when they thought to bridge the gap between existing e-content and virtual reality and extend that experience to everyone.

They started working on a virtual reality wearable headgear which would users play any 2D game (or watch any movie) in 3D with complete 360-degree head tracking.

In 2015, they quit the study and founded the company Absentia in Bengaluru, and created the product Tesseract.

What differentiated this from its other competitors like Oculus is that it is compatible with all existing PC games, movies and can also live stream from online gaming communities. It can also be used with mobile phones through devices like Chromecast.

In the same year, they raised their first round of funding of Rs. 1.2 crore from Astarc Ventures, 50k Ventures, and other individual angel investors like Vish Satthapan, Sameer Sainani Rajeev Krishnan, Abhishek Jain and Nagaraj Magadum.

In April this year, the company announced to raise Rs 8 crore in pre-Series A investment led by Exfinity Venture Partners, as well as  V Balakrishnan, Mohandas Pai, Deepak Ghaisas and Girish Paranjpe.

Last year, Absentia VR claimed to have signed eight clients that have so far contributed Rs 2.5 crore in revenue.

In the market size of game tools, which is about $54 billion, Absentia is competing with startups in the virtual reality segment include Oculus, Vive, Furdo, Foyr and Houssup.

Absentia is planning big to play on Norah AI. “We are planning to tie-up with gaming studios who we can offer our product. We have already partnered with gaming studios from eastern Europe and have offered them pre-Beta version of our tools,” said Prasade.

Besides, the company will enhance the capability of the system in coming years, adding more tools and offerings. It is also clear about the revenue model and will soon introduce the dynamic pricing depending on the user behaviour.

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