The surprising acquisition…When Crowdfunding multi-billion-dollar company about to be owned by Facebook

Facebook Buys Oculus VR For $2 Billion

Facebook Buys Oculus VR For $2 Billion

Victor Luckerson| March 26, 2014 | Time – When Carlos Schulte contributed $300 on Kickstarter to an ambitious project called the Oculus Rift, he never expected this day to come. It’s doubtful anyone did—Oculus VR, the company behind the virtual reality headset, was only asking for $250,000 in its crowdfunding campaign during the summer of 2012. Back then, it was a scrappy startup with a small but passionate base of supporters. Now, it’s a multi-billion-dollar company about to be owned by Facebook.
The surprising acquisition announcement Tuesday left many of Oculus’s original backers stunned, and a bit disappointed.
“I felt a little used, I guess,” says Schulte, a 46-year-old gaming enthusiast in California who has backed many projects on Kickstarter. “Maybe I was naive. I thought it was more just like someone doing it for a hobby and just wanted to do something fun for the community. I didn’t know it was going to turn into a $2 billion deal.”
Supporters of Oculus are voicing their frustration at the company’s decision to sell itself to a tech giant on blogs, Twitter, Vine and even Kickstarter itself. They’ve risen like a group of livid shareholders who disapprove of a firm buyout — but Kickstarter donors have no say in a company’s financial decisions. The passionate online response against the Facebook purchase illustrates how the do-it-yourself ethos of crowdfunding sites can clash with the corporate world.
The Oculus deal is a huge win for crowdfunding because it proves the model’s validity. Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and his team had a lofty idea to bring true virtual reality gaming to the masses. They asked the Kickstarter community for help and were rewarded with $2.4 million in donations from more than 9,500 individuals. They parlayed that funding into a business that drew more than $90 million in venture capital funding in less than two years and a $2 billion valuation from the world’s largest social network.
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