Play Labs, a Summer Accelerator at MIT, Announces First Class of VR/AR/Playful Startups and Demo Day

First class on the MIT campus to showcase 13 startups across a mix of gaming, enterprise VR, esports, AR technologies

Cambridge, MA -- June 21, 2017 -- Play Labs @ MIT, a summer accelerator hosted at the MIT Game Lab, has announced its first batch of startups that have been admitted to the program.  The first batch runs from June-August, and the Demo Day will be on August 15, 2017 at 6:00 pm EDT at MIT in classroom 10-250. The Demo Day will be open to investors, members of the MIT community, and the general public. In addition to the physical event, Play Labs Demo Day will be streamed live on the web for those not in the Boston area.  

Sign up to watch Demo Day in person at MIT or online at

The overall focus of the accelerator is on startups that employ “playful tech” in a variety of industries.  The first batch of startups was selected with a concentration on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), as well as online gaming and esports.

The first batch consists of  startups spanning a wide breadth of categories, including:

  • VR pets & games (2 startups)

  • VR business applications (2 startups)

  • AR/MR  Applications/Tools (2 startups)

  • VR/VRWeb/360 development tech (3 startups)

  • eSports (2 startups)

  • Machine Vision and Deep Learning (2 startups)

  • Online Games (2 startups)

“We are excited at the quality and breadth of startups that we have in our first batch,” said Rizwan Virk, Executive Director of Play Labs @ MIT. “Being on campus at MIT gave us access to many innovative entrepreneurs and technologies, and while we had many applicants, the startups we selected in this first class represent the best applications of playful technology. I’m personally inspired to help the next group of MIT startups go on to great success.”

“The inaugural class began with teams of creative, passionate and determined people. This is history in the making,” said Tuff Yen, President of Seraph Group and Partner at Play Labs @ MIT.

The following is a list of the startups in the first batch (in alphabetical order):

  • Coresights:Coresights measures and reduces stress to improve wellness. The platform combines virtual reality with wearable devices to make training engaging and track progress through real-time data.  (

  • Datavized:   Datavized brings another dimension to enterprise and big data for enhanced productivity and effectiveness. Combining the immersive power of virtual reality with the seamless delivery of the mobile web, the software enables cross platform collaboration with interactive visualization for any device, from 2D to 3D and VR. ( )

  • Empathy Box:  Empathy Box creates story-driven interactive experiences that move you, challenge you, and transform the way you see the world. We combine over 10 years of interactive storytelling expertise with proprietary story-creation technology to achieve the unforgettable.  (

  • Escape Labs: EscapeLabs uses Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (AR/MR) to create holographic experiences for escape-rooms, team-building exercises and room scale puzzle games. Our goal is to transform ordinary physical spaces into high quality 4D experiences using holographic content.

  • Esports One: Esports One is a revolutionary esports company, comprised of esportspedia, one of the largest esports information resources in the world, and providing an advanced computer vision and real time data analysis platform for esports.

  • Hidden Switch: Hidden Switch created an AI-powered content generator for competitive video games. Based on research from the MIT Media Lab, this technology exponentially increases the amount of content in a game and personalizes it to each player. Our demo game, Spellsource, is the first of many applications towards our mission: to make an unlimited video game.

  • Minda Labs: Minda is using virtual reality and AI to build the next generation of corporate learning tools to address sexism and bias. Our training simulations allow employees to practice principles like empathy, active listening, and empowerment, with feedback from an AI that's trained by professionals. It's empathy coaching, at scale. (

  • RidgeLine Labs: Ridgeline Labs is creating an AI architecture to bring VR and AR characters to life. We create emotionally significant VR/AR experiences by creating artificially intelligent virtual characters. We are currently using our proprietary AI technology to build RoVR, an adorable VR dog simulator where players can raise, explore, and build an emotionally significant bond with their own VR dog. Using our modular AI, we are creating immersive experiences with virtual companions whose friendships will be truly cherished. (

  • SavvyStat: Deep learning and predictive tools and dashboards for managing virtual economies and virtual goods

  • Team Future: Typically, playing in VR means isolation. Team Future brings asymmetric gameplay beyond the headset to engage people around the VR user . We shipped Black Hat Cooperative last year on PC, are launching a new title on Playstation VR this fall, and will be building additional properties with our cooperative hacker-heist mechanics. (

  • Total Respawn: Total Respawn uses augmented reality to create real-life first person shooter games for action sports arenas.  Our product lineup will feature experiences ranging from gunning your way out of the zombie apocalypse to a real life version of Call of Duty on Steroids. (

  • VRemedy: VRemedy Labs is creating a VR experience designed to give you the opportunity to live your childhood superhero movement fantasies without nausea! Their proprietary adjustable comfort level system developed at MIT helps mitigate nausea through carefully designed locomotion systems and customized training sequences. (

  • Wonda VR: Wonda VR develops intuitive tools to turn 360° videos into engaging VR experiences. It provides a simple drag & drop interface and a one-click publishing solution that puts the power of experiential storytelling in the hands of every video creator. (

To learn more about these startups, to attend Demo Day or view it online, visit or contact the Play Labs contacts below.

About PlayLabs

Play Labs ( is an incubator/accelerator at MIT which invests and mentors startups that are utilizing playful technology in a variety of industries.   The focus of the first batch will be Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies and applications, though the incubator will also consider startups using other playful tech, including 3d modeling, rendering, streaming, gamification, artificial intelligence. The applications of playful technology can be in any industry, including online/mobile/VR gaming, esports, entertainment, education, healthcare, finance, etc.

Play Labs is run by by Bayview Labs (, and its executive director, Rizwan Virk, an MIT alumnus (MIT ‘92 BS Computer Science & Engineering), and a prolific Silicon Valley angel investor, advisor and mentor, in conjunction with the Seraph Group (, a seed stage venture capital investment firm founded by Tuff Yen.

About Ludus, The MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media

Ludus, the MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media, coordinates the efforts of MIT labs and research groups exploring games and play with a community of member practitioners. Research groups include the MIT Game Lab (; The Education Arcade (; the Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory (; the Trope Tank (; the Creative Communities Initiative (; and the Open Documentary Lab (

Media Contacts:

Play Labs
Rizwan Virk

Kate Pietrelli for Play Labs
+1 760-518-2633

MIT Game Lab and Ludus
Rik Eberhardt

Investor Contacts:

Play Labs
Tuff Yen