Hey, VR, wake up!

Bernardo Montes de Oca

Can you imagine a world where you can inhabit another body or gain a new sense? It could also be a place where you can experience something that is completely impossible to you now? That's the promise of virtual and augmented reality and, even though we’ve known about it for some time, it's all over the news at the moment. 

This week, Apple showed its AR/VR headset (which is close to completion) to board members which will be the biggest competitor to the Meta Oculus which has been on the market since 2019 but has yet to be a global hit. So, we’ll not only have one of the most anticipated and exciting products in our hands at some point in the future, but the news lights a fire under Meta's ass. I see VR as technology that changes lives instantly, and there are millions of people out there who need it. Meanwhile, I don't think companies feel the same way I do sinceo company is taking the giant leap forward to create an inclusive product. All these big names should be focusing on developing this technology with everyone in mind: I'm talking about people with disabilities.

Going as far back as the fifties, this has been the promise behind VR for decades: from movies to books, people have touted VR as a way to democratize our access to new experiences. For example, the Sensorama, an arcade-like machine, emulated all the senses, including smell and vibration. In the sixties, the technology leaped forward with the implementation of head-mounted displays. This teleported us to new heights, but all these technologies have a flaw: they weren't inclusive, and they still aren't. 

Here's one example that barely scratches the surface: the use of a head-mounted display. This can be a challenge to those with muscular disorders and limited mobility. So, while there's a chance of immersing in a new world, it's not for everyone.  

Sure, the argument is there that technology can't suit everyone. I understand where it comes from, but VR has the potential to be inclusive from the start. The problem is that it doesn't seem to be going that way. So, tech companies, you need to start thinking about inclusivity before I find myself writing this piece again but next time in the Metaverse. 

When being Number One isn't all that good

From the outside, things were looking great for Klarna. The company is Europe's most valuable VC-backed company, reaching a $45.6 billion last June. As a result, the BNPL company from Sweden was riding high on rising VC investments. 

Fast forward to now, and things have changed dramatically. The world has gone through rattling economic changes, and Europe is no exception. Unfortunately, the factors are many, but rampant inflation and rising interest rates are among the most critical. So, it’s understandable that investors are holding back. 

This slowdown comes at a time when Klarna needs cash. So, the company is willing to take drastic action to get it. One plan includes cutting its valuation in a big way, lagging behind its main competitor. The problem is that it's not only about Klarna. In fact, this company might be a warning of things to come.

A free cap table template for your startup

I talk to startup founders all the time, and one of their biggest struggles is wrapping their heads around what will happen with their cap table. Probably the most challenging concept to grasp is that new shares of stock get issued/created instead of transferred between founders and investors. 

But I dive into that in this article where you can also download the free template. 

Check it out

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Pakistan raised $1 million a day only to watch it go somewhere else

In 2021, Pakistani startups raised over $365 million in investments, a funding boom in one of Asia's untapped gems. Companies broke records left and right. Airlift and Bazaar led the way with $85 million and $30 million. The trend didn't slow down in the first months of 2022, but there's more than meets the eye, and it's not positive. 

Most of the money never reaches Pakistan. This is because venture capitalists prefer to keep their funds outside the country. Thus, they avoid a devaluating rupee and burdensome regulations. Instead, they opt for destinations like Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries. 

One of Pakistan's biggest challenges is paying for operational transactions overseas. Unfortunately, with most VC funding in other countries, this becomes more frequent. So, Pakistan is in a vicious cycle where funds fail to reach those who need them the most. Could this mean that it will hamper its own potential? 

Bernardo Montes de Oca
Content creator in love with writing in all its forms, from scripts to short stories to investigative journalism, and about almost every topic imaginable.
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