New Company — Who dis?

Alex Schwartz

Today is a huge day! I’m announcing that I’m co-founding a new company again!

It’s completely absurd to think back on almost 8 years of running Owlchemy Labs. SO MUCH has happened since originally co-founding the studio. We’ve gone from garage startup to Google acquisition and it’s been a wild, amazing blur. We played a huge part in launching VR! Job Simulator! Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality! It still barely feels real.

The most unforgettable moments for me were definitely the ones ripe with uncertainty. When we got our first Vive dev kit from Valve, we only had one week to build a prototype of Job Simulator. After our advisors told us that dropping everything to build for super-early VR hardware would be a death sentence, we did exactly this. We decided to have our then 4-person team meet up in Winnipeg at Devin’s house to make it happen. We had no idea if this experiment would lead to anything and we were even more terrified that the kit itself would end up stuck in customs and our whole trip would be for naught.

Clearly it all ended up ok. The Vive arrived and the Job Simulator prototype got made. We were just a bit cold.

Similarly, I’ll never forget when we rented a 3 bedroom house in Austin as our makeshift office during our first big growth spurt. We had tracked VR setups in almost every room and at one point were actually tripping over each other with 8 people working out of the house.

Once it was obvious we had outgrown ‘The VR House’ and neighbors started getting suspicious of alternate realities, we finally moved into a legitimate office.

Even though many of my favorite moments involved being a scrappy startup, the acquisition by Google is definitely one of my proudest achievements to date. An exit in the VR space is extremely rare but to have been able to structure a mutually beneficial deal with a company as prestigious as Google was a landmark moment for me.

Now, with Google as a partner supporting the studio, Owlchemy couldn’t be in a better spot and the team is in an incredible place, poised for even more success in the future. Devin and Andrew will be carrying the torch after my departure, who I’m confident will be amazing in their new roles (more info on this on the Owlchemy blog: https://owlchemylabs.com/announcing-new-leadership-at-owlchemy-labs/).

For me, creating a company that was building innovative products while sustaining itself over the long term was always the goal. Taking a leap to try to make something out of nothing engages me, inspires me, and invigorates me, occasionally to the point that it takes over my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Much like the leaps I took to get Owlchemy off the ground, I’m returning to this area of uncertainty and uncharted grounds to build something new.

You might ask “well, what is the new company?!” I’m super thrilled and absurdly excited about my next adventure but I’m not quite ready to share all of the details quite yet. But before starting on my new thing, I’ll be finally taking some actual time off (thanks Patrick Curry for the advisor/uncle-like suggestion!) and doing some traveling before jumping back in.

To new adventures and new beginnings! I can’t wait.

-Alex Schwartz

Alex Schwartz

Written by

VR / game developer. Previously Founder/CEO of Owlchemy Labs. http://itsalexschwartz.com

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