Tucked away from the humid, subtropical climate of the Nanshan district in Shenzhen, Martin LaBrecque is quietly becoming Toronto’s next billionaire.
He’s in the right place. Shenzhen is the premiere incubator for aspiring billionaires in China. Why? It’s where the country’s most elite PhDs choose to manufacture 90% of the world’s electronics.
After all, when you’re just 15 minutes away from Hong Kong’s aquarium of savvy VC’s, validated prototypes can become full-fledged products in no time.
So what is the chief executive officer of Breqlabs up to?
Resurrecting Virtual Reality
Virtual reality was supposed to be the next big thing awhile ago. Too long ago, actually.
The success of Niantic’s Pokemon GO proved that an immersive, action-oriented, full-body experience was what mixed reality was sorely missing. Full embodiment is, after all, one of the most crucial gatekeepers of Flow.
It’s not enough to see that we’re in an altered reality—we need to feel like we’re in an altered reality. So what have the VR visionaries come up with so far to solve this problem of full embodiment?
So far, all the Goliaths have to show for their efforts are shiny pointers. Google’s best effort is called Daydream. It’s a pointer. Samsung’s best effort is the Gear VR Controller. It’s a pointer, too.
Here’s the thing: I don’t point for a living. I do, however, use my hands a lot. My hands are typing this sentence right now. I eat pizza with these hands. I play with my girlfriend’s hair with these hands.
I wish someone would just let me use my hands.
One Glove to Rule Them All
There are a few solutions that claim to duplicate the capabilities of Martin’s revolutionary ExoGlove. A closer look easily refutes these promises.
The CaptoGlove is a powerful solution that raised $100,000 by building a solid community of backers on Kickstarter. Breqlabs, on the other hand, is backed by HTC’s $12-billion dollar VR fund.
Manus VR, one of the Martin’s fiercest and most established competitors, partnered with Flexpoint for their tracking capabilities. Breqlabs, in stark contrast, invented their own, in-house. How? Martin just happens to have a PhD in Processor Architecture specializing in FPGA-Based Software Packet Processing.
If that wasn’t enough to scare off his competitors, he has the lowest bill of materials in the game. That helps when you’re mass-producing hardware.
The Billionaire Dollar Business Plan
PhD-notwithstanding, it’s Martin’s business savvy that will propel Breqlabs into orbit.
Unlike most entrepreneurs, his plan is not to become a household name. Instead, he’s going to white label the ExoGlove. That means he’s about to sell it to everyone, letting them rebrand it any way they choose.
That’s why he’s in Shenzhen. He’s surrounded by mentors and VC’s who’ve been there, and done that, many times over.
And don’t think for a second that this is just some kind of pie-in-the-sky roadmap, either.
The largest smartphone and headset manufacturers in the world got in touch with Breqlabs years ago when they realized they wouldn’t catch up in time. After all, Martin and his team were the first to crack 3D tracking for mobile VR.
When he unleashes his ExoGlove onto the global marketplace, who’s to say the BodyGlove won’t be next? At any rate, Martin and his team have proved, once again, that time between ideation and physical manifestation has never been shorter.
Michael Jagdeo is an entrepreneur in Toronto.