May 26, 2023
We’re three years into the Virtex journey and we have grown so much in such a short period of time. That said, we wanted to take this opportunity to find out more about our co-founders Tim Mcguinness and Christoph Ortlepp and give you more of an insight on the path they’ve been on to lead Virtex to where it is today.
The Early Years
Born in the UK, Tim Mcguinness grew up immersed in the gaming world and with a natural knack for tech. Building his own PC back when he was 16, his career started in IT before he eventually moved across to game design. His first taste for VR came when he discovered the Oculus kickstarter campaign and from that moment it was evidently clear where his passions would continue to lie. Quickly coming to grips with the Oculus DK1 (development kit 1), this first experience of technology, that could truly make someone feel like they were somewhere else, unknowingly became the first step in his Virtex journey.
Christoph Ortlepp was born, and spent much of his youth, in Germany but also gained a healthy amount of international experience on language programs that led him to the USA, Canada and China. After studying in business school, his working life began in Berlin as an Associate for venture capital fund Earlybird. It was in his time in this role that his interest in the future of gaming, entertainment and media truly blossomed.
Virtex is Born
While others may have put it down to chance or pure coincidence, Tim and Christoph consider their meeting as an inevitability. In 2019, Tim was already an experienced esports pro playing for, his self-founded,Team Gravity VR and well on the way to winning multiple European and world championships. It was at the VR World Finals, where Tim was competing, that they met and Tim was able to pitch an early version of Virtex Stadium that convinced Christoph and led to them creating Virtex together a year later in 2020.
Both are big fans of attending events in person where possible but the thought of knowing how many community members also wanted to be there but couldn’t was a key driver in them developing a platform beyond gameplay itself. Building a platform that leverages the capabilities of game engines to deliver an unmatched user experience has been, and will continue to be, their mission objective.
A Journey of Growth
From that inception point the two moved quickly to form a team. While the initial headcount of 5 only included their lead developer, artist and ops manager, the team has rapidly expanded to 24 total to support the progress being made. The two have continued to draw others into their vision for Virtex Stadium and over the past few years have seen investors contribute $5m in seed funding. Notable investors include Anorak Ventures, All Iron Ventures, fov.ventures, Sure Valley, GFC as well as athletes Andre Schurrle and Mario Götze, each demonstrating the wide market appeal of Virtex.
Not content with what they had already achieved, the two endeavoured to push Virtex to its limits and sought feedback from partners on how the stadium could incorporate game engines to better replicate the real time experience. In December 2022 they announced the first live event that would take place in the world’s first virtual esports stadium, with hundreds tuning in to watch the dedicated Echo VR event. This announcement was quickly followed in April 2023 with the news that Counter Strike, the 3rd most watched esport, would be introduced to the Virtex Stadium.
Adding this 3D viewing experience to more of the most cherished games so that they can be enjoyed by their avid fans is what Tim and Christoph will deliver with Virtex Stadium. While esports remains their main focus for now, the potential of the Virtex Stadium certainly opens the door for its application to other non-esports ventures including traditional sports and other forms of live media and entertainment.
What Awaits in the Future of Virtex?
Work continues in earnest and you can expect to hear a lot more from the Virtex team in the coming months. We’d like to leave you with some closing remarks from our two co-founders as they also look ahead.
Christoph: We wouldn’t be here without a lot of support along the way from our team, investors, advisors and first partners using Virtex Stadium. All of us are really excited about getting more users into the app and making it the best possible experience. It’s a journey we are committed to in the long term.
Tim: It’s been a long time coming (almost 6 whole years!) to get to where we are today but at the same time it still only feels like the beginning of the journey. I’m personally incredibly excited for what’s to come, taking Virtex and turning it into something that truly changes the landscape of esports and live events in the coming years.