Walmart leaps into virtual reality, acquires start-up

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Walmart leaps into virtual reality, acquires start-up

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy - 02/06/2018
Walmart has made a move to strengthen its commitment to virtual reality.

The discounter’s innovation lab, Store No. 8, has acquired Spatialand, a small VR platform and content studio. The studio will be tasked with creating the foundation of Store No 8’s third portfolio company, according to a blog entry on Store No. 8’s website.

The new division will be tasked with developing and exploring new products and uses of VR through immersive retail environments. The plan is to incorporate solutions into all facets of Walmart, online and offline, according to the blog.

Spatialand’s CEO Kimberly Cooper and Jeremy Welt, chief product officer, Store No. 8, will head up the new venture. Cooper has pioneered VR / AR / MR (mixed reality) techniques in storytelling and technology. Under her leadership, Spatialand’s VR platform has created immersive content destinations as seen in projects with Oculus, Intel, Reebok and Linkin Park.

Prior to joining Store No. 8, Welt has played key roles, including helping to launch YouTube’s first-ever commercial deal, as well as working on the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of Maker Studios.

Katie Finnegan, principal and founder, Store No 8, will also join the team as interim CEO. This will be in addition to her role at the innovation lab, the blog explained.

“While it’s too early to share more about what the team will be working on next, we’re excited to get to work and share more in the future,” Finnegan said in the blog. “Together, we will continue to evolve this technology and develop new product exploration through immersive retail environments.”