Hong Kong-based VR Startup Sandbox Nearly Closed Down; Came Back Stronger With Plans to Expand Globally

Backed by popular celebrities such as Will Smith, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake during 2019

Wilson Twoon

24 Jan, 2022

Hong Kong-based VR Startup Sandbox Nearly Closed Down; Came Back Stronger With Plans to Expand Globally | BEAMSTART News

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Hong Kong-based startup Sandbox VR (previously known as Glostation) plans to regain their footing in the VR space with plans on expanding to 40 other locations globally, according to an interview with SCMP.

Sandbox VR's History

Founder & CEO of Sandbox VR, Steven Zhao

  • The startup was first founded by Steven Zhao in 2017
  • Their office was located at 16th floor of a Hong Kong back-alley building
  • Offers location-based VR experiences with equipment like haptic vests and motion sensors

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Slow Growth and Impending Bankruptcy Due to COVID-19

Initial hurdles faced by Sandbox VR:

  • Slow growth and poor sales 
  • The firm was forced to shut down their arcades due to COVID-19
  • In 2020, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US 
  • Zhao laid off 80% of his workforce, mostly from the research and development team

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Bounced Back Stronger with Reputable Investors

Despite numerous setbacks, Sandbox VR managed to recover from their downfall, and proceeded to: 

  • Reopen their arcades in April 2021 with new locations as COVID-19 restrictions eases 
  • Secure US$37 Million in a Series B funding by Andreessen Horowitz
  • Receive strong backing from Alibaba Group

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