Not even two years have passed since Oculus VR began a Kickstarter campaign to raise $250,000 for a better prototype of its virtual reality goggles known as Oculus Rift. It ended up raising $2.4 million.
Today the company sold to Facebook for about $2 billion.
By any measure, it looks like the most successful project ever to have raised money on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform.
The nearest comparison is the Pebble smartwatch, which raised more than $10 million on the platform and later raised $15 million in a funding round led by Charles River, though its valuation is unknown. Ouya, a video game console, raised $8 million on Kickstarter, then also raised $15 million in a round led by Kleiner Perkins.
Before its sale to Facebook, Oculus raised $91 million in two rounds of venture capital last year. Those investors will profit handsomely. Oculus’s backers on Kickstarter won’t get anything.
Here’s what the mockup of the headset looked like on the original Kickstarter page:
Here’s what the headset looks like in real life:
In a call discussing the acquisition, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will be run independently, similarly to other recent Facebook acquisitions Instagram and WhatsApp. Though Facebook said it believes it can justify the price based on the potential of Oculus in gaming, it also believes the ultimate applications of this virtual reality technology will extend into many other areas.