News (from Edinburgh Research and Innovation)

University student start-up company Two Big Ears joins Facebook

  • 26 May 2016
University student start-up company Two Big Ears joins Facebook

Two Big Ears, a start-up company formed in 2013 by two University of Edinburgh graduates, has been acquired by social media giant Facebook.

The company, which specialises in virtual reality (VR) audio solutions, was founded by Abesh Thakur, a former Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow, and Varun Nair, Resident Entrepreneur at Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.

As part of the acquisition, the firms flagship product Spatial Workstation will now be given away for free from Facebook, to get the innovative technology in hands of more people creating content for the quickly developing VR space.

Abesh Thakur, the firm’s chief executive, said:

“Our mission is to make VR audio succeed across all devices and platforms and continue to help creators make the best experiences for billions of people across the world."

While studying at the University of Edinburgh, Abesh and Varun received support from the robust enterprise ecosystem at the University, including support from Edinburgh Research & Innovation's student enterprise initiative, LAUNCH.ed, who provided investment, mentoring, training, and advisory support.

They also received help from the Business School's Entrepreneurship Club (eClub) and Informatics Ventures (IV).

Two Big Ears were part of LAUNCH.ed and IV’s inaugural summer entrepreneurship programme, and Abesh went on to represent the company to investors when he pitched at Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) in 2014.

As both Abesh and Varun were international students from India they also received the backing of LAUNCH.ed and the University of Edinburgh to gain their Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, to ensure they could stay in Scotland and develop their company.

Abesh and Varun recognised all the support they received in Scotland to launch and grow their company. They said;

“Thank you to our customers, partners and investors, including board members George Elliott and Neil Heywood, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and everybody who has been with us on this amazing journey. We look forward to advancing our mission – and continuing our work with you – from Facebook.”

Grant Wheeler, head of company formation at Edinburgh Research & Innovation, said;

"We’re thrilled for the Abesh and Varun; they have worked hard to develop a robust and exciting product and build a strong team to deliver on their mission. They made the most of all the support offered by the University and have turned their idea into something that will make real impact on the virtual reality space. We’re pleased that LAUNCH.ed and Informatics Ventures could be part of their entrepreneurial journey. They are proof that student start-ups make a difference and are worth investing in."

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