Just 14 months after two local residents started Greenfish Labs, the virtual reality production company’s resume boasts projects connected to the Democratic National Convention and the pope.

 “I don’t want to say we’re lucky; it’s more opportunistic,” said President Sovanna Mam, 42, who co-founded the company with CEO Ben Duffey, 38.

 Mam, a Shippensburg University graduate with about two decades of experience as a media producer, said he started shooting virtual reality for fun, and the company grew out of that. Duffey, a Penn State grad, previously worked in higher education.

Greenfish, Mam said, has “perfected technology a lot of people are still trying out” and was fortunate to find organizations seeking a different, disruptive approach that gave the company a chance to prove itself.

 He wouldn’t have expected it, Mam said, but their first paying customer was Tree 4 Hope, a Harrisburg-based nonprofit that saw the immersive experience as a great way to reach supporters.

 Lancaster-based nonprofit Hope International was another early customer, along with the Hershey Bears, Lebanon Valley College football, American Music Theatre and the Pennsylvania Cable Network, for the PIAA Track and Field state championships.lives.”

 Greenfish wants to keep working with local companies, Mam said. But now that it can flaunt some star projects, the company is also having conversations with the likes of Dick Clark Productions — the world’s largest producer of televised events — about concerts, sports coverage and other big draws.

 Greenfish also saw another benefit of big-name projects when Nokia learned that of its project focused on Pope Francis and gave the company its new high-tech virtual reality video camera for free.

 “They said, ‘Hey, can you guys use our camera?’ ” Mam said.

 The pope project in Poland was great but exhausting, he said, with a team of 11 people working long hours for 10 days, navigating immense crowds and explaining its eye-catching equipment at a lot of security checkpoints.

 

About virtual reality

 The Greenfish website has 360-degree YouTube versions of its projects, which allow viewers to change perspective as the videos play.

 But those are essentially teasers. To experience the power of virtual reality, viewers have to don a headset that plunges them into a 3-D world to see the pope or life in Malawi.

 Mam spends a lot of time giving people their first taste of virtual reality and he keeps seeing them have their minds blown by how engaging it is, he said.

 That opens the doors for lots of brainstorming about how the concept could be used for marketing, for education, for health care.

 Jennifer Reiner, Greenfish director of business development, said the company’s working on an open house concept to go through that process with small groups of people.

 “There’s so many opportunities to be first right now,” she said.

 

Plan to expand

 Mam agrees, saying he expects the scope of virtual reality to expand rapidly in the coming months, particularly if Apple jumps into the field, as has been rumored.

 So he’s gearing up for fast growth, starting with the company’s recent move from The Candy Factory co-working space where it started, to its own leased space at 117 S. West End Ave. in Lancaster.

 It has another office in Philadelphia and is looking to establish a third in Las Vegas, he said. He expects to go from 11 to about 16 full-time employees by the end of the year.

 He declined to reveal the company’s annual revenue but said it was profitable in the first six months of this year.

 However, he did note that Greenfish got about $850,000 from angel investors so far, and he expects about the same in a second round of funding toward the end of this year.

Greenfish Labs is a disruptive multimedia company that produces interactive content and platforms that increase customer engagement. By combining advanced technical expertise with the art of storytelling, we create immersive media that enriches the way fans, followers and friends can experience brands they love.    To talk with us about your vision for a VR project email contact@greenfishlabs.com or call 267-600- FISH.

Author: Heather Stauffer

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Greenfish Labs is a disruptive multimedia company that produces interactive content and platforms that increase customer engagement. By combining advanced technical expertise with the art of storytelling, we create immersive media that enriches the way fans, followers and friends can experience brands they love.    To talk with us about your vision for a VR project email contact@greenfish.com or call 267-600- FISH.

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