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Creating something from nothing

A college dropout trio from Bengaluru set out to create a world in virtual reality and have since come a long way. Here’s their story

Published: 18th October 2017 11:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2017 11:20 AM   |  A+A-

Vrushali Prasade and her friends Shubham Mishra and Harikrishna Valiyath

Express News Service

KOCHI: Dropping out of college need not necessarily be a fiasco. At least, not if you have a dream and the resilience to work towards it. City-based startup Absentia is the tale of three engineering graduates from BITS Pilani, Goa who dropped out of college in their final year and set out on a virtual reality and gaming adventure.

When Vrushali Prasade and her friends Shubham Mishra and Harikrishna Valiyath, quit college to start their virtual reality and gaming venture in 2015, they had no clue about running a business or managing the finances of it. Only armed with their passion to create something new in the field of virtual reality, they christened their startup ‘Absentia’, to indicate creation of something from nothing.

Speaking to Express, Prasade said the trio were working together on projects since college and they developed an interest in gaming and virtual reality in second year of their graduate studies. “We tried to identify in what areas we could supplement the gaming industry. The one thing we felt we could improvise on, was if we could convert 2D content into 3D format,” Prasade said. She recalled that it was now or never moment for them and they spent considerable amount of time during their final year approaching investors in various parts of the country, sharing their ideas with them. The industry was at its peak and they had to take the plunge then. Hence, they decided to drop out of college and dedicate all their time for developing on their idea.  

They made a mark with the introduction of their first product, a Virtual Reality Headgear called Tessaract, which helps users view 2D images in 3D. Soon, they realised that this would not suffice to sustain in the industry and they needed to widen their horizon. “The first product that we built (VR headgear) was to convert 2D content into 3D.

We enhanced our proposition to develop a toolkit where we could reduce the time of game development. So presently we are working on this toolkit. Game developers can now choose from multiple options and then develop on top of it.

It will involve animation module, character generation, 3D modelling, texturing and game balancing,” according to Prasade.The team released the animation module in July this year. While majority of the startups fizzle out or fail to make it through the initial months, co-founders of Absentia have today etched a space for themselves and the team attributes this to its quick decision making power, some good advises and mentors that came its way.

As on date, they have more than 10,000 subscribed users apart from a good number of daily active users. A large number of their users are from the US and Brazil. While until now the team has put out its content online for free, they are mulling monetisation of their same.Looking ahead, team Absentia is focusing on reaching out to as many developers as it can. Their target for this year would be to get 20,000-30,000 developers on board, Prasade added.

Absentia is on a roll!

Absentia raised a C1.2 crore in their first round of funding from Astarc Ventures, 50k Ventures, and other individual angel investors.
They also raised Rs 8 crore in a round held by an early stage venture fund earlier this year as well.
They already have 10000 subscribed users besides the daily users



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