Tripp acquires EvolVR to help more fly a little higher in the metaverse – TechCrunch

Startups

California-based “XR wellness and digital psychedelics platform” Tripp continues its acquisition path to growth with the acquisition of the world’s largest VR meditation community, EvolVR, following last year’s purchase of PsyAssist, a mobile app used by people to keep their psychedelic experiences on track. The acquisition comes along with the company revealing it is working on an alternate reality (AR) experience as one of the launch partners for Pokémon GO creator Niantic’s new toolkit, Niantic Lightship.

Founded by a Unitarian Universalist minister and meditation instructor, EvolVR claims to be the world’s first — and largest — live meditation community in VR, claiming that more than 40,000 people wear VR masks to harness its powers. of meditation. Tripp, in turn, is no slouch himself; the company claims it has delivered more than 3.5 million wellness sessions, combining “meditation techniques, flow-inducing gameplay, binaural audio, and breathing exercises” to inspire wonder while transforming users’ feelings. The sessions are designed to help people relax and tune in, but can also be used to facilitate psychedelic journeys.

Increasing audiences by acquiring community-based organizations can be a great growth driver — but of course, not all communities are fond of being “bought,” especially if the buyer messes up the transition period. I spoke with Tripp’s CEO and founder Nanea Reeves to get a little more context for the acquisition and to learn what’s next for a company’s high-flying VR/meditation/spirituality/psychedelics mash-up.

With a name like Tripp I had to ask; where does that come from, and what is the link with psychedelics?

“It’s less about the psychedelics and more about VR as an experience. When I had an early development kit for the Oculus, whenever someone did a VR experience, people would take off the headset and say, ‘Wow, that was a journey!’ There is something about the experience of having a present reality and being aware of it – and then experiencing an alternate reality as well. You can of course also have that with fabrics, but VR itself has that mechanism. That inspired the name,” explains Reeves.

Nanea Reeves, CEO and founder of Tripp. Image Credits: trippa

“On the psychedelic side, they found us after we launched our consumer product. There was a lot of interest from the psychedelic community in what we were doing, and we saw an organic adoption — in places like ketamine clinics — of our consumer product. We decided to see that as our journey into the clinical areas. We think there are ways we can work with clinical implementations [in palliative care and psychedelic treatments] in a much more focused effort to prepare someone for treatment to reduce their anxiety, and how to support them after treatment.”

“We have a separate initiative and application bundle called PsyAssist that focuses on the protocol for psychedelic and mental health. We can be a supporting instrument in those areas. We are currently going to conduct a number of pilot studies specific to ketamine in the first two quarters of this year.”

“We have found that some of our most meaningful interactions with consumers have been with people who use our product at the end of their lives. They not only found benefits from having a container or helping them with distraction from what they physically experienced – the families and caregivers could also use the Tripp experience to de-stress. When we get feedback from users who share how our toolkit and app have helped them in different ways, as an entrepreneur you can’t ask for more; to know that your efforts actually make a difference to people.

The acquisition of EvolVR

The company raised a $4 million round led by Mayfield, followed by an $11 million round led by psychedelic life sciences investor Vine Ventures and Mayfield in June last year. The company plans to double-track the clinical side and the community building for transformative experiences. The acquisition of EvolVR is an obvious part of the community side of the equation.

Tripp is partnering with the Niantic Lightship platform to create an AR product that will launch in late 2022. Image: offered by Tripp

“I had some knowledge of the EvolVR community; I would meet people in VR, and they would keep calling Jeremy [Nickel, founder of EvolVR]. I didn’t think it would be that compelling to meditate in a group with avatars, but I got to try some of their meditations, especially during the pandemic. I liked that they had a guided meditation experience that made me feel the presence of the other people doing it with me,” explains Reeves. “When I was at Electronic Arts, I knew how toxic gaming communities can be and how unfriendly they are for women What I saw in EvolVR was a meditation group leader creating a safe space They managed to moderate the group in a way that impressed me Even when the trolls showed up they were ineffective Even if the As the metaverse expands, it’s important to have zones where you’re free from harassment, and we can create these mindful chill spaces that encourage a deeper connection with oneself and with others.”

“Jeremy and I Have Loved” [the acquisition] Calm. He thinks his community will be excited about it, and we need to communicate with his 14 meditation leaders, as they will also be under our umbrella. We’re trying to think about what the mindful metaverse looks like.”

How will EvolVR change as a result of the acquisition?

“I hope to mark the occasion. I thought we could have a DJ event with ambient music and a launch party of our two communities. We’re excited to do something really cool,” Reeves said. “FriFrom a programming standpoint, I want to scale beyond just group meditations. We want to do sound baths. We’re going to do breathwork. We have some ideas on how to create ambient music ‘ecstatic dance’ movement events. There’s a cool opportunity to use the abstraction of VR to help you let go with a community. It’s the perfect use case for VR: it bypasses the stigma, you can do it in the privacy of your own home. It’s a little less embarrassing and you can still take advantage of it.”

I tried the Tripp platform. It takes some getting used to, but it is wonderfully relaxing. That’s not me in the picture. Image: offered by Tripp

“I am very happy with how wide [Tripp’s] public. The majority of our audience is millennials, with Gen X being a very large second cohort. About 8% of our audience is 65 years of age or older. VR is still a shared device and we’re seeing use throughout the household, and we’re seeing evidence that people are letting their kids use Tripp to help them focus before doing homework, for example. Ultimately, we expect that most people will have data-enabled head-mounted displays in the future. Ideally, we want to be the supportive toolkit to help you manage your emotional well-being. From there, we can focus on use cases such as addiction or palliative care. The main benefit is how we can help you influence how you feel at that moment.”

“We see that with the current generation of audio-only meditation apps, people are becoming more and more comfortable looking for solutions. I think we can help take it to the next level where you can experience those states of being. My goal would be for us to be a regular self-care toolkit that you can access in times of great need and for ongoing help.”

The acquisition was a combination of cash and equity, but Tripp is not disclosing the details of the deal.

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