Venture investors have spent the last decade searching for the killer use case for VR. Today’s founder, Andrew McHugh, thinks he’s found it with his startup, Wist. But days before Andrew gave his pitch, Apple sent shockwaves through the industry by announcing their new headset, the Vision Pro. Will investors be skittish about the tech giant entering the space? Or is it a sign that VR’s big moment has finally arrived?
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Martin: Pitch 4, day 2
The last time we had a virtual reality startup on the show was four years ago. Ya know why? Because nothing big has happened in VR since then. Well besides Facebook prematurely rebranding as Meta. We all know how that went. VR has been on the cusp of its big moment for … a decade.
But maybe that big moment is finally here. A week before this pitch, Apple announced the vision pro. Which could finally catapult this technology from the fringe, to the mainstream.
Big tech and VCs alike - they’re all looking for the killer use case for VR. And today’s founder thinks he’s discovered it.
Can he convince the investors that it’s finally time to immerse themselves in VR? Or will they be virtually uninterested in making this vision a reality?
I’m Josh Muccio, welcome to The Pitch. Where real entrepreneurs pitch real investors for real money.
Paige: Hi I’m Paige Finn Doherty, founding partner Behind Genius Ventures
Neal: Hey, I’m Neal Bloom, managing partner at Interlock Capital
Elizabeth: Hi, I’m Elizabeth Yin, general partner at Hustle Fund
Mark: I’m Mark Phillips, founder of 11 Tribes Ventures
Charles: Hi I’m Charles Hudson, managing partner, Precursor Ventures
The pitch for Wist is coming up after thist.
And if you want to watch the video of this pitch, go to pitch.show/youtube. Episodes premiere on Wednesdays at 7pm eastern.
Mark: Here we go.
Andrew: Do we shake hands? Or do we just -
Charles: You can do whatever you want. It's your meeting.
Neal: How you doing? Neal.
Andrew: Great to meet you.
Elizabeth: Hi Andrew. Elizabeth. Nice to meet you.
Mark: I'm Mark.
Andrew: Andrew. Good to meet you.
Charles: Hey. Charles. Nice to meet you, Andrew.
Andrew: I'm Andrew, still. And we are building an app that lets you step back inside your memories. I'm a new father, and so every day I'm just reminded just how important our moments are to us, that memories are our most valuable possessions. And so that's why we're creating Wist. With Wist, you still take the video to try to remember the moment, but you don't watch it again. You step back inside it using AR and VR across mobile and headsets. So we are starting with immersive memories. We're building out sharing and multiplayer and then building out the ability to upconvert any existing capture into our format. And then all of that sets us up really well to offer APIs and SDKs for other developers coming into the spatial computing space. Both my cofounder and I, we have years of AR/VR experience. I used to lead an AR/VR design and development group at Samsung. And yeah, our waitlist right now, we're like just, just under 11,000 and that's over the last few months. Beta is shipping on iOS, Quest and soon Apple Vision Pro. So today, hoping to close our $1.2 million round led by Long Journey Ventures, to bring immersive memories to my son and everyone else.
Elizabeth: I would love to try it.
Elizabeth: Is that okay?
Paige: Do it.
Charles: Do it.
Andrew: Have you used a Meta Quest before?
Elizabeth: No, I haven't. I don't have this one.
Andrew: Cool. So you should just be able to put it on, And if you look to your left, you should see my son's first ultrasound.
Andrew: It's like fully volumetric, so you can walk around it, you can walk up to it. Just like she might be like in the actual room.
Elizabeth: Oh my gosh, am I looking at your wife?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that's my wife.
Charles: Whoa cool.
Elizabeth: Oh! First laugh.
Mark: I hear someone.
Elizabeth: Oh, there's your baby.
Elizabeth: Oh, that's cute.
Mark: That's adorable.
Andrew: Yeah, and this was like the first time we were able to get him to laugh, too, and so it's - yeah -
Charles: That's so cute.
Andrew: - a really special moment.
Elizabeth: Okay. Wow. That's fascinating.
Charles: What did you use to capture the videos?
Andrew: All captured on iPhone, on pro model iPhones.
Elizabeth: So you just literally took this video with your phone?
Andrew: Yeah. So right now, we do use the lidar sensor on the uh iPhones and so that's what allows us to capture today.
Mark: So Elizabeth, is it immersive? Do you feel like you're in the room? Or is it still maybe 2-dimensional is how I would describe it.
Elizabeth: You definitely like it's immersive. Like, I felt like I was standing right next to his wife while she was getting her ultrasound done. It was a little bit grainy, to be fair. But you feel like you are there.
Elizabeth: For the graininess, I guess, with the advancement in AI, like do you think down the road, it could be more smoothed over, if you will?
Andrew: Oh yeah. Absolutely. So there's like low hanging fruit that we're tackling right now, um and then throughout this year, we're working on uh continual rendering improvements. But then there's also just artistic effects that make it feel a little bit more like - people have seen in like Black Mirror or Harry Potter or Minority Report.
Mark: Can you unpack the tech for a little bit? So you take these videos that were recorded on an iPhone. What makes Wist unique in the ways that you're uploading it to the VR platform?
Andrew: We encode the color data we get from one camera, we encode the depth data from another camera. We do a little bit of post-processing um just to package it up better for playback. And then, yeah, it's uploaded into our backend. Basically it's like instant - like if I capture something now it's on the headset.
Charles: Like, you can just capture it with the native camera? Or do you have to capture it with your app?
Andrew: No, not right now.
Mark: Do you see that changing? So I grabbed a video of my son with just the iPhone camera -
Mark: - and then I can upload that to the Wist app?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Mark: Can you get there?
Andrew: So that's our expectation for the end of the year, is to be able to ingest any existing 2D media. And that's everything from something you've captured recently to childhood videos.
Mark: I mean, is there a day that'll come where, hey, I've got this old VHS. I mean, we've all had that problem with our parents, right?
Andrew: Right. Yeah. So One of the prototypes we did is a moment of my grandmother reading to me when I was a toddler. Yeah. It's like rough, in part because it was a prototype, and part because, you know, it was like on a VHS, but. Yeah.
Mark: That's possible? Yeah. You'll get there.
Elizabeth: What is the business model that you're envisioning?
Andrew: Yeah. So that I think is a little bit open. So our expectation right now is on the consumer side that we will go for subscription.
Andrew: And then, I think on the API and SDK side, eventually when we're offering that to developers, that'll just be a pay per use.
Neal: Is there to the app that pulls this out of you, that kind of reminds you to film or anything like that? And I kind of ask cos there's a startup actually here in San Diego called Qeepsake, where every day they text you during pregnancy -
Andrew: With a Q?
Neal: With a Q. And every day they text you and they ask you a question. It's like, did you hear a kick. And it continues on after birth and you can send in a photo. Right, you can text back with a photo. So I was curious just how you're thinking about, you know, it's hard to kind of remember to capture these memories in the moment.
Andrew: Definitely. Yeah. I mean, I think the way we're thinking about it is like there are some like interactions that we would be interested in exploring, kind of like a prompt. But I think also our initial base is just like - these are the captures you're already - like you're already taking out your phone, you're already capturing. And so it's - instead of doing that in the native camera, it's in the Wist camera. And one way we also reduce switching cost is we automatically export a 2D capture into your camera roll and then if you view it in Wist, well, you're physically there again.
Mark: The timing of this pitch is relevant, given the news -
Andrew: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah.
Mark: Probably the hippo in the room. So can you talk to us about your perspective is on the Apple headset, and what that means for the industry.
Andrew: Yeah. It's like amazing. I think that personally it has been so validating. Like, Specifically for Wist. Apple thinks that spatial memories are so important that they added a hardware button. I think that Wist still stands differentiated, though, because we are on your phone, we are on the Apple headset, we're on the Quest headset, we're on like any device, because, in a really dark sense, like, you don't want the last moments of grandma stuck on single platform. And the - the Apple device is going to be out of most people's price range. Also, capturing with the headset is really awkward. We're just like take a video and then you're done. Like, you're there. It's extremely easy to use.
Elizabeth: So on that point, actually, that is probably something I think a lot about and sort of worry a bit about. Like, the Apple price point is really high, so that will limit, you know, at least initial sales for them. And then certainly for other reasons, VR headset adoption has been disappointing. Given that you are reliant, kind of, upon people having headsets to be able to enjoy this, like, how do you think about that? Because you're beholden to the headset market.
Andrew: So - in some ways I don't care what else you use your VR headset for. If you have it, then like you can use Wist. And there's - something around like tens of - tens of millions of Quests are out there. And so even if that's on the shelf today, you can charge it up and Wist is ready to go. So like it's not like we have to wait for that to roll out. We just have to have you plug it in.
Elizabeth: uh huh
Mark: Andrew, I'm curious, your why for the business.
Mark: Sounds like you were doing great at Samsung and now you've got a child, so there's added layers of stress in being an entrepreneur. But what was the inspiration for you to start the business?
Andrew: It comes from like a lot of places, really. You know, in middle school my grandmother died and eventually I realized that like the new people that I was meeting like my wife like she's never gonna be able to like really meet her. My why is like - yeah, is that memories are just like our most important thing at the end of the day and that this is an opportunity unlike any other to like build an app that - yeah, just like deeply resonates with people. It's not - it's not something that's throwaway. This is like you. And thinking like a little bit longer term too, like my son will be able to go back into all of these same captures and like see his parents be a lot younger and see himself be like a tiny little bean. it's wild.
Market: Yeah. That's great. Yeah. Technology that makes us more human right?
Charles: Do you have a sense of the overlap between headset ownership and your target audience? Are they in that sweet spot of people who are likely to have devices already?
Andrew: We're just like relying on the waitlist numbers and so if I remember off the top of my head, I think there's about like 20 to 40% of them have both an iPhone and one of the supported Quest headsets.
Paige: You mentioned that you were doing the beta testing. Can you walk us through kind of like what that groups looks like, and what questions that you're trying to answer through that beta testing.
Andrew: In our last release, we rolled out to 100 users. I think right now we have about 71 who went through the actual sign-up process. Those numbers are a little bit separated from each other because some of those people came in before the thing, but yeah, it's like -
Paige: Wait, what do you mean by that?
Andrew: Sorry, sorry. So yeah, basically like we have 71 people who have gone through the entire sign-up process. And like entered their data and they like create an account.
Paige: So you have 71 people who have entirely signed up.
Paige: Are they all actively using your products right now?
Andrew: I don't think we entirely know. We're still like working on the analytics reporting.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Neal: Can you tell maybe like how many have uploaded one video versus not even gotten to that stage?
Andrew: Absolutely. The data's there, we just like have to make Google analytics tell us.
Charles: I think I'm out on this one. Consumer is about half of what we do at Precursor. And the one thing I keep coming back to is the most successful consumer experiences we've invested in have relatively low friction to try and experiment with them. And I don't think this is a shortcoming of like your approach. I think just looking at where headset technology is and where capture technology is, I just worry that there's too much friction to really get a large number of people into the experience, and I think you're gonna need a large number of people in the experience to make the consumer subscription piece work. So that's where I landed. But the experience looked pretty magical. I just hope more people get a chance to have it.
Andrew: Yeah. Definitely. And totally respect that. And I think like it was very important to us that it feels as easy as taking a video. um And that's - that's where we are.
Paige: I think to bounce off what Charles said, I think the dependency on headsets is tough, especially as Apple has come out with their headset, and I feel like they've definitely been big on like spatial sound and photos. And so I'm out because I think that Apple start will like working on this in a really meaningful way in the next like five years.
Andrew: Sure. I think like the way we think about that is that, yeah, we're accessible on every platform, including Apple’s.
Andrew: Not, yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Cool. Thank you.
Neal: Yeah, I'm also out. And I think for me, I think we've all now learned how to capture moments. Right. We've got almost too many photos it's everything else that I don't think you - it doesn't sound like you've really started work on or even thought about. You're still focused on capture and show. But everyone else is focused on how do I capture something and remember to capture it now. And I just don't see a focus there at all. So. Appreciate it.
Mark: I'm gonna be out on this one as well. I think Neal's points are pertinent here. I think usage is just gonna be really important.
Mark: I would encourage you to start doing as much as you can to be tracking even those 70 people. How often are they capturing and then how often are they using? I think the idea of using technology to make us feel more connected to each other, to our family, to the people in the past is beautiful. So I wanna encourage you in that mission and journey, I hope you continue to build this. Just need to see a little bit more around - well, how often do people want to have that experience of going back and visiting grandma, So to speak. So really awesome mission, rooting for you, but it's gonna be a pass.
Andrew: Okay. Cool. Yeah. Thank you.
Elizabeth: Tell us a bit about your round. What are the terms?
Andrew: 1.2 million on a 10 post.
Elizabeth: And how much of that is accounted for?
Andrew: Ah, we have 342 remaining. So 858, right?
Mark: Good math.
Elizabeth: Right now, who is on your team besides you and your cofounder? Do you have other people? Or is it just -
Andrew: No. It's just us.
Elizabeth: Just the two of you. Okay.
Andrew: And honestly, yeah, like the round is to start staffing up. Expect to actually start the hiring process next week. So like writing out job descriptions and reaching out to people. Expect to hire two early on and then probably a third before the end of the year.
Elizabeth: When did you start the business?
Andrew: We started it in June of 2022. Last year When I left Samsung, I like, yeah, spent months just prototyping different spatial memory ideas. Built up the first alphas myself, and then yeah, met my cofounder then incorporated.
Elizabeth: Okay. Got it. Um... Hm... I'm in for 50k in this round. I would echo some things here though. I think that it is very understandable, it's just the two of you, that you don't have answers to a lot of things. But the one thing actually I do think you should have an answer to is of the 71 people, what are they doing?
Andrew: Oh, absolutely.
Elizabeth: I think it's really important to have that - I mean, you had the info -
Andrew: Right. Yeah. Yeah. At least it's captured.
Elizabeth: - so that dedication to having the tracking and monitoring the tracking, because you are an app that is contingent upon how people use this.
Andrew: Yep. Absolutely.
Elizabeth: So that's what I would encourage you to do as like a top priority. You can't improve what you're not measuring.
Andrew: Yeah. Absolutely.
Neal: Go Elizabeth.
Paige: Go Elizabeth.
Andrew: I'm so excited to have you. It's awesome.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Thank you.
Charles: Thank you.
Paige: Yay. Thank you
Mark: Thanks. Great job.
Elizabeth: It's very fascinating.
Mark: It is. What's the thing that really intrigues you?
Elizabeth: I do think now is the time for VR stuff. I didn't think that for many years. But I do think, although the Apple headset is really expensive, I think the price is gonna come down pretty dramatically pretty quickly. And I do actually think that this immersive thing, if everyone can get headsets or whatever is the future of that.
Neal: Maybe we should have all done the demo. Because you're the only one who did -
Elizabeth: Yeah. I actually was recently thinking I wish I could, you know - I don't know, have like a virtual world where I could go back into some of these memories and you know chitchat with my grandmother or whatever. I mean, cos you can. The pieces are there, right. You can create these virtual worlds based off of like so many pictures and videos of her and her voice and now you can add AI to basically create stuff she would say. It's a little uncanny.
Paige: I was having a discussion with someone about like how much of a percentage of the time in your mind you spend like in the future, the past, the present. I feel like for me I spend like 75% of my time like in the future, and then like maybe 20% in the present, and like a very small amount in the past. I don't know if that like changes as I get older. Because I journal, like constantly. But the times where I go back and look through it aren't that often.
Elizabeth: For me, that definitely has changed. So I journaled every week through high school. I've never read anything since then. But my kids are old enough now such that I feel like I'm at this point where I'm past the hard parts, but then I see them growing up so fast and then it's like, it's almost over.
Elizabeth: So it's like - I didn't watch any of the videos of them when they were a baby for years or anything like that. But more recently it's like, wow, they're almost out. So now I do watch those videos. Like, I'm the exact target demographic for him.
Neal: Yeah. That's awesome.
Josh: This is like not what I was expecting at all. I couldn't - you obviously - you were asking questions and you seemed interested, but I don't - like, watching - I'm not even entirely sure why you invested and particularly at these terms. I thought that you wouldn't be interested in this deal at all. I was thinking this would be a Charles or a Paige deal.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I think I see certain deals as partly a way to get my foot in the door and learn. Because I think this space is gonna be very interesting. I think he has some very interesting tech. And I wanna see - like, he doesn't have answers to like a lot of questions.
Elizabeth: But I want - for 50k, it's worth seeing where this goes.
Mark: That's interesting.
Charles: And the Long Journey people are - that's like a professional well run venture outfit.
Josh: Who do you think buys this?
Elizabeth: That's not something I usually think about.
Josh: You don't think about the exit?
Charles: I'm with Elizabeth.
Charles: Most of the companies we've sold, with a few exceptions, the buyer was not anticipated or known at the time of the investment.
Elizabeth: I mean, Facebook could buy this, right? Like, they're trying to go into these virtual world things. Right? This is a stepping stone into a true virtual world.
Josh: All right. Cool. Hopefully lunch is here. That was great.
Mark: Elizabeth's on a roll.
Paige: LET’S GO
That was a pitch to ~remember.~ Andrew got a $50,000 commitment from Elizabeth Yin at Hustle Fund.
When we come back, how do you diligence a deal, when there isn’t a business yet? The pitch fund has a mild existential crisis, after this.
Welcome back, to the future! After the show, Elizabeth Yin started digging into the business. Except in this case, there wasn’t much to dig into yet. There’s just a private app, with 71 beta users. So instead of cracking open the books, Elizabeth cracked open the headset.
Andrew: One of the big things she wanted to do for diligence on her side was actually try out the app, which makes sense.
Josh: Of course.
Andrew: Unfortunately, she did not have one one of our supported phones. So right now we're only on pro model iPhones.
Josh: I know famously, like, I think she's still on like an iPhone four or like six or it's like, it's old and she loves that thing. She swears by it
Andrew: right, yeah, yeah, and we’ll like, we’ll get there one day. And so she had to like borrow a friend's phone and, and use that and set up an account for them. uh she went and did some captures with her friend, and then she was like, Okay, cool. I'm, like, ready to try the the headset side.
Andrew: And so we issued an invite It never got to her, so we, like, uninvited her and re invited her to try to, like, re trigger that email. Then that didn't work. and so I like basically made this like special release channel just for her.
Andrew: So that she could, she could try the app. And then I think she, I think she maybe had like ran into like a headset update or something? She ran into like one more thing.
Andrew: And then we got the email and she was like, I'm gonna bow out.
Andrew: It's just like a little bit too hard for me to get in right now, and that was, I think, a bad signal for her that we might have like an onboarding issue
Josh: Oh my gosh. Because like her concern, even in the pitch room, was like, what's the data on usage? And then she goes to use the app and she can't figure out how to use the app.
Andrew: Has a hard time. Yeah, which looks like super bad on our side.
Josh: But at the same time it's outside of your control. This is Facebook’s product
Andrew: Totally. Right.
Josh: that didn’t properly send the beta user invite to her email
Andrew: Yeah, on one side it’s out of our control. and on the other side we should do everything we can to just make it work regardless.
Josh: I mean, how did that feel to have like -
Andrew: Oh, terrible! Yeah, I mean all of it's terrible. It's like, I think, I think she was like a really good candidate to come in, um, both from her experience and she was the person in the room to try it. the hardest thing during our raise was reaching out to people over video calls and just being like, hey, this video it is way more impactful if you are in the app and trying it.
Okay, so Elizabeth Yin was out. And as you may know, The Pitch Fund typically invests alongside the VC’s on our show. So in our minds, the deal was off for us too. Until…
Cyan: I have been searching for the killer use case for AR for a long time.
That’s Cyan Banister, general partner at Long Journey Ventures. She’s a bit of a legend in the valley. Having invested in companies like Postmates, Classpass, Uber, SpaceX, Pokemon Go. And now she’s the lead investor in Wist. So before writing off this deal entirely, Lisa & I figured it was worth hopping on a call with Cyan.
Josh: start at the beginning with Andrew's deal and with Wist. Like, how did you guys meet Andrew?
Cyan: We found him on Twitter. And it was because a bunch of people started sending me videos of his demo.
Lisa: oh, mhm
Cyan: And they said, um, have you seen this? You know, often I've asked mothers if there was one thing that you could grab out of the house if the house was on fire. What would you grab and it's pretty much the photo book. I've seen people lose it when they've lost photographs And you know right now I have one audio recording of my grandmother and it is a voicemail that she left me and that's all I have and I go back and listen to it over and over again and I'm filled with regret that I didn't record her or interview her in time and I think that if I could go back and see her sitting on a couch and relive a memory with her, wouldn't that be profound? And so that's where I think what he's doing is incredibly special. that's why I'm so bullish, you know I really do think that in the end. That's what's really gonna matter to people is the real connectivity they had with real human beings and wanting to relive those moments and experience them again.
Josh: Yeah. I mean, I think it is telling that as he's releasing these videos. They're going viral.
Cyan: Yeah, exactly.
Josh: Like people think it's crazy what this technology can do.
Cyan: It is crazy
Lisa: You brought me to tears, Cyan. Just talking about your grandmother.
Cyan: I love my grandmother.
Lisa: Mine is getting very old and confused right now. And so I think it just like hit home for me. Like, I think the time is coming and I've done the videos and I've done all the stuff. But even just the fact that I'm crying right now is like a testament to how powerful those memories are. And that, I think people will pay for that
Cyan: Yeah I spent two and a half years turning over every stone in AR, trying to find every investable opportunity I could find, and there just wasn't any. You know, there were a few really interesting goes at industrial uses, things like repairing tractors, educational things that I saw that were interesting, but this one is the one that really hit me. From a sentimental standpoint to where I was like, you know, you would have to pry this from my dead hands. You know, and there's just something really powerful about that. I would pay any amount of money to be able to relive some of the moments that I had with you know my grandmother and I do think it helps us process loss and grief and I would love for my children to be able to see her. I have no way of other than through my stories of telling them what a woman she was like.
Cyan: how cool would it be if many generations could feel it? if I can capture this and it ends up on Ancestry someday and someone can really understand who this person was in history. So I think what he's doing is incredibly important and it, it, it comes from a really earnest, honest place. He had a child and he started recording videos of his child and started realizing I want more than this. So that's the other thing I look for is when founders, what is their calling? What happened? What brought them to this problem in the first place? And is it from a genuine place, or is it just to make a quick buck? And so I feel like this is his life's calling right now
Cyan: If he executes well and if the timing's right and all of the pieces are lined up just right, you know, he's well positioned to have the killer app for AR. Like, I can't think of a better one, to be honest with you.
I have to say, going into that call. We were pretty sure we would NOT be investing in Wist. But after the call, we started to wonder if this really could be the killer use case for VR?
But how could we know for sure, if we hadn’t tried it ourselves. So I got together everything I needed: a pro model iPhone, the Quest 2 headset, and my gaggle of children. I fired up the Wist beta on my iPhone. Captured a few memories of my kiddos.
And then… I ran into a familiar problem.
Josh: I couldn't figure out how to get it working on my Oculus Quest. Or MetaQuest, or whatever they call it these days. Can you help me get it running right now?
Andrew: Yeah. It's the top level of tech support. Can you describe what you're seeing right now?
Josh: My app library.
Josh: Oh, look! There's Wist
Andrew: Sweet. That was easy.
Josh: What the heck? Earlier it wasn't there. It's there. Install WIST. Yeah. Okay, sign in. Whoa there's a baby.
Josh: Is that your baby?
Andrew: Yeah. Oh! He turns one today, also.
Josh: What?! Okay, we're up and running. Here are my memories.
I selected the memory of my youngest daughter chasing me the night before
Josh: Oh my gosh. Okay, yeah, she's coming towards me now. Ah! Okay, so, yeah, it's really interesting, you can, you can really see where the holes are depending on what perspective you're looking at.
Andrew: Right, where the camera, like, couldn't see some parts of it.
Josh: Yeah, can I just say this is a whole different experience versus viewing it on the phone.
Josh: Like, viewing it on the phone, I don't think that's better than just viewing a normal video.
Josh: but this is something else entirely.
Lisa: Did experiencing the memories in the headset change how you feel about investing? Does it, like, move the needle for you one way or the other?
Josh: So, my initial reaction was like, Oh, this isn't as exciting as I expected it to be.
Josh: and honestly my expectations were low going into it because what I captured it was just an average everyday moment like it wasn’t
Andrew: Those are good moments!
Josh: You’re right [sigh] ok can you help me.. cause I need to, I think I need to live in the future and I’m stuck right now.
Andrew: Yep. Come along.
Josh: What does this look like 2 years from now, I put on my headset, can you paint a picture of what this looks like
Andrew: Yeah. I would think about it like, you are just living your life. and your kids do something and you take out your phone and capture a moment. just like you always capture, except it’s in Wist. and then you put on a headset. it’s already there. you’re back in a moment, as though or as close as possible to that time you were there. Also, Our initial hypothesis is that this is about spatial memories, that that's the critical foot in the door kind of thing. But we build up all of this tech that's hard to piece together, and then we can open that up to other developers to include in their own apps for volumetric capture. Especially if we can get to that place where it's give us any 2D content. and we’ll give you back something lifelike.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah. That could be really powerful if you can get the technology working
Josh: I'll tell you why this is so hard for us. We are brand new fund managers. Yay, yay for us.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, also, congrats, like you've done a lot of work to get there. Like, yeah, yeah.
Josh: Thank you. Thank you. Yes
Josh: We've never evaluated an opportunity like this before where we're investing truly in technology. We're not really investing in a business yet.
Josh: Like there's not enough to evaluate on the business side.
Josh: So all we can evaluate is the technology. If I'm criticizing what it looks like right now, there's a lot to criticize in the product itself, right?
Josh: Like it's buggy and it's early. But I think as I'm connecting the dots in my head and realizing how much AI and some of the advancements there could fill in all of those gaps to make these immersive experiences actually feel truly immersive. Like, I feel like right now it's on the edge of immersive, but like, when you think about it, like this is raw data and you haven't even applied some of these other technologies to it yet.
Josh: it actually gets me really excited because then it's like, this could actually feel like I'm really in the room with this person and I'm really in this memory.
Josh: And that is really compelling [sigh] I don't think we can come to a decision on this call
Josh: uh, unless Lisa, what do you
Lisa: Why not?
Josh: Do you want to come to a decision on this call?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, Lisa, Lisa, what are you thinking?
Lisa: I don't know. Do you want me to say what I'm thinking? I'm supposed to be on another call right now. Like, I need to go.
Josh: What are you thinking? You should drop the mic and then go.
Lisa: I think we should invest in WIST.
Lisa: This is the point of... venture capital and investing at pre seed, like, it's to invest in technology. we're not gonna know, this is the moonshot pitch. And I think those are the pitches that you have to make the bets on. And it's, there's no way to de-risk it, there's no way to analyze the business. We're not analyzing a business. we're analyzing a team. so I feel like, what else can we have as a yes? Like, what other boxes do you check?
Josh: No, it's interesting, because it really takes us back to our fund, and...What is the thesis of our fund? Are we making moonshot bets? Or are we only investing in businesses that like, really show a predictable path to profitability, revenues, high selling multiples, all of that. And this is one where you're like, Yeah, I don't know, but uh, the technology is really cool, we think it's going to change the world, we want to be a part of it. So, is our fund something that invests in both of those things? Or do we just invest in the safer investments where it’s very -
Lisa: No! There’s no safe investment.
Josh: I know, I know,
Lisa: I know what you're saying, I know what you're saying.
Josh: Like, we have to have this conversation as a fund but, um, yeah.
Andrew: Which totally makes sense, like, and I, I would not assume your entire fund is going to be moonshots. But if you're looking for one, I think we're pretty good.
Josh: We are shooting for the moon. Pick us
Lisa: I have to go. Can I go?
Josh: Yeah yeah. Bye, Lisa.
Lisa: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry
Andrew: No, no. It's good talking.
Lisa: Yeah. Okay, bye.
Andrew: I, I entirely understand, Like I, I am also taking a risk on my, like, I could be anywhere else doing whatever, but like, this is worth betting my career on.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah… I think, uh, I think we want to invest in this. I think we want to invest in you.
Andrew: I would be happy to have you. Yeah.
Josh: Awesome. Yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.
Josh: Lisa, you're back?
Lisa: Yes. I don't know. I tried to get into the meeting. No one's there. And this was more exciting.
Josh: Okay. Uh, well, uh, it sounds like we're investing in Wist
Lisa: Are we? You decided we should as well? Yay!
Josh: Do you also want to do a syndicate that lets listeners invest?
Andrew: Yeah. I would be down.
Josh: Awesome! 100,000 on the Syndicate? See if we can fill that out?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, I think that sounds good.
Josh: Alright. Well sweet, Andrew. We're really excited to be on board with Wist.
Andrew: I'm also excited.
Josh: Thinking about the future of this, so [bleep]ing cool. We'll bleep it. We'll bleep the host. It’s fine. He needs to get his words under control.
Huh. So that’s what it’s like to make an investment decision on the spot.
And if you want to make the same decision, after some due diligence of your own, of course, go to pitch.show/wist. You get the gist.
For Pitch+ members this week, we published the full call with Cyan Banister. Her fund, Long Journey, is really different. For one, they have nine partners. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We may or may not have invited Cyan to join us at The Pitch Miami.
Next week on The Pitch…there’s something lurking in your shower curtain
Luke: It's covered in what's called a DWR - a durable water resistant, which is made PFA, which is a highly carcinogenic forever chemical.
Al: So you're telling me I'm gonna get cancer?
Beck: It's possible, Al.
We’ll see you next week in the pitch room.
Applications are open for next season of the Pitch! We’re gonna be in Miami in January. 18 startups will pitch the investors on our show. So if you or someone you know is raising pre-seed or seed, go apply at pitch.show/apply. Even if you’ve applied before, apply again. See you in Miami in January.
This episode was made by me, Josh Muccio, Lisa Muccio, Kerrianne Thomas, Anna Ladd, and Enoch Kim with casting help from Peter Liu
Music in today’s show is from Onders, Base Collector, VR Troupadours, Astronaut Club, Breakmaster Cylinder, and The Muse Maker
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The Pitch, Inc. and their respective employees and affiliates do not provide investment advice or make investment recommendations. The information provided on this show should not be used as the basis for making investment decisions. Listeners should conduct their own research and consult with their own investment advisors before making any investment decisions.
Investor on The Pitch Seasons 6–10
Elizabeth Yin is the Co-Founder and General Partner at Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund for software startups. Before founding Hustle Fund, Elizabeth was a partner at 500 Startups, where she invested in seed stage companies and ran the Mountain View accelerator. She’s also an entrepreneur who co-founded the ad-tech company LaunchBit, which was acquired in 2014. Her book is called Democratizing Knowledge: How to Build a Startup, Raise Money, Run a VC Firm, and Everything in Between.
Investor on The Pitch Seasons 9 & 10
Mark Phillips is the founder and managing partner of 11 Tribes Ventures. Prior to that, Mark was a strategy consultant focused on M&A between corporations and growth stage startups. He actively supported clients throughout the due-diligence and post-merger integration processes on deals totaling more than $750M.
Investor on The Pitch Seasons 2–10
Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner and Founder of Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies. Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a Partner at SoftTech VC. In this role, he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure.
Cofounder of Wist
Andrew R McHugh is the CEO and cofounder of Wist Labs, a startup that lets you step back inside your memories. Before Wist, Andrew led an AR/VR design+prototyping group at Samsung, building exciting (and secret) things. He previously founded a curiosity conference, wrote a children's book, received his MHCI degree from Carnegie Mellon, and his work has been covered by Vice and the Wall Street Journal.
Investor on The Pitch Season 10
Neal Bloom is cofunder and Managing Partner of Interlock Capital, an early stage investment fund and community of experienced business operators. Neal previously cofounded edtech startup Portfolium.com, scaled talent tech marketplaces and worked on the space shuttle program.
Investor on The Pitch Season 10
Paige Finn Doherty is a founding partner at Behind Genius Ventures and the author of Seed to Harvest, an illustrated book about venture.