Hardware revenues from VR headsets, peripherals and 360-degree cameras will reach over $50 billion by 2021, up tenfold from an estimated $5 billion in sales this year, according to research firm Juniper. This means there could be a big market for software and services to go with that.
Many of Finland’s VR and AR start-ups have gathered at Slush - a tech conference in Helsinki that attracts 15,000 attendees. It's quickly becoming an important event in Europe’s tech scene. One company present is Arilyn, an augmented reality start-up. AR refers to digital images superimposed on the real world, often via smartphones or a form of headset.
Arilyn recently closed a 500,000 euro ($532,000) funding round led by Superhero Capital and is expanding. The availability of talent is helping companies in the AR and VR space grow.
"There is a booming start-up scene in this area, there is a lot of talent and thanks to gaming companies and Nokia. There are a lot of people who have founded their own company or are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur so it’s an interesting situation,” Arilyn CEO Emmi Jouslehto, told CNBC in a phone interview.
The start-up recently did a campaign in partnership with Washington D.C.’s Union Station to use its technology to tell a story about the history of the building. Commuters could use tablets and look at certain parts of the station to learn more about its past.
Arilyn has immediately gone to the U.S. and this mindset is built in to Finnish entrepreneurs from the start. Anna Rosa Lappalainen, the co-founder of Finnish VR start-up Vizor, said entrepreneurs in the country need to quickly look at larger countries for expansion due to the smaller opportunity in Finland, particularly in virtual reality.