When Iowa-native Brandon Jorgensen was serving four years active duty in the US Army, he became very interested in their use of virtual reality (VR). After his stint was up, he began taking classes at Iowa State in industrial engineering and business administration.
One of his business professors suggested he apply for a grant from Iowa State to take a 12-week business accelerator course at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center in Iowa City.
Jorgensen was accepted in the 12-week program and by the end, he was more convinced than ever that he could build a viable business on VR technology.
“At the end of that program, I knew that a VR business had a great shot at succeeding. I knew that the cities between the coasts were a little behind on VR tech and I wanted to change that,” he said.
A startup is born
That’s how Iowa Virtual Reality Labs (IAVR) came about. Jorgensen’s company provides come-to-you rent-able VR for public events, team-building exercises, conventions, and parties. The company can set up in an indoor facility but can also provide custom virtual reality trailers.
Currently it has 40 VR games to choose from, including 3-D drawing and sculpting, exploring Earth and other worlds, flight and racing simulation, boxing and sword fighting, shooting guns at friends or zombies, and crewing a submarine or even the USS Enterprise. It also offers age-appropriate games and takes care in rating each game in order to inform parents.
“We recently were hired at the Central Iowa Airshow,” Jorgensen said. While ticket holders could watch the world’s greatest pilots do their thing, they also had the opportunity to experience it through IAVR’s flight simulator that was set up there.
The company’s systems are cutting edge. According to its website, “our systems make phone VR look like it came out of a cereal box.” It strives to keep its systems as up to date as possible, using wireless headsets and high-powered computers to ensure the ultimate experience in VR gaming.
According to a report from Markets and Markets, the virtual reality market is expected to grow to USD 44.7 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 33.47% during the forecast period.