History buffs, take note. VR startup Timelooper made its U.S. debut at TechCrunch Disrupt this week, launching with the mission to "change the way that you experience the past."
While on stage during the conference’s Startup Battlefield event, TimeLooper demoed its technology in front of a crowd of hundreds, recreating V-J Day in Times Square, kiss and all.
The company is working to create virtual experiences that allow viewers to travel back in time, from the construction of the Empire State Building to the Great Fire of London.
However, TimeLooper’s technology isn’t made for users who want to sit at home and travel the world, but for the existing world traveler.
Each experience is geofenced, meaning you have to actually be present in the geographic location of the historic moment to experience its past in VR.
Imagine this: You’re at the Colosseum in Rome and buy a ticket to tour the amphitheater. In lieu of the traditional audio guide, you’re presented with the option to supplement your experience with a virtual one that promises to recreate the historic value of the site, such as a gladiator show. While you’ve already paid for the travel to Italy and a ticket to step foot in the Colosseum — this expense seems complementary and natural.
“We turn back the clock and place you in the moment and allow you to relive the moment through virtual reality videos delivered directly to your smartphone,” said TimeLooper’s Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Feinberg.
This week, the company officially launched in New York City after working out of London as a member of the Travel Tech Lab, an incubator space for travel tech startups. Using the app, you can now experience major tourist sites throughout New York, including the Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, Federal Hall, Dakota and Times Square.
The company raised a $2 million round from Rothenberg Ventures earlier this year.