Sure Valley invests £1m in Belfast VR software start-up Retinize

Irish-founded VC Sure Valley Ventures has led a £2m seed funding round for Belfast-based VR technology start-up Retinize.

Retinize describes itself as a creative tech company, developing a software product called Animotive that harnesses the latest VR technologies to transform the 3D animation production process.

The funding includes an initial £1m offering from Sure Valley, which is the first investment from its new £95m VC fund for UK software, announced earlier this month.

Other backers of the seed funding round include investors from Ireland, UK, US and the Netherlands, such as Techstart Ventures, VGC Partners and Clarendon.

Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri, the Emmy award-winning producers of the popular US television show The Amazing Race, also took part as individual investors.

Retinize has its roots in the world of film and television, originally spinning out of Wild Rover Productions, formerly one of Ireland’s leading independent TV producers. The business was founded in 2019 by father-and-son team Phil and Jack Morrow.

‘Supercharge our growth’

Phil Morrow, who is the CEO of Retinize, expressed his excitement at being backed by Sure Valley because of the VC’s “deep knowledge of the creative tech sector” and the fact that it took the time “to really understand and challenge our long-term goals and objectives”.

“This investment in Retinize will supercharge our growth trajectory and will allow us to take Animotive to the international market,” Morrow added.

While initially known for its AR, VR and immersive multi-screen experiences, Retinize has been in stealth mode focusing on developing its Animotive immersive animation production tool.

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Some of its major clients include the BBC, National Geographic, the World Health Organization, Save the Children, BMW, Tourism NI and Seagate.

Isabelle O’Keeffe, principal at Sure Valley, said that she was delighted to provide funding for Retinize “hot on the heels of launching our new software fund” and at a time when the start-up is entering “an exciting new phase” in its growth.

“We recognise that the immersive software sector is poised for exponential growth, and the plans that Retinize has for Animotive will position the company at the forefront of this expansion,” she said.

O’Keeffe added that Sure Valley will continue to deploy funding to start-ups developing technologies in the areas of the metaverse, AI and cybersecurity, with a focus on UK companies that are “bringing a disruptive innovation to market, like Retinize”.

Last week, Sure Valley also participated in a €10m funding round for Cork-based security start-up Getvisibility.

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