Kirin Sinha is one special woman. Not only is she building a cutting-edge technology company, she’s also one of the most dedicated, hard-working and no-BS founders we’ve encountered. We’re incredibly excited to announce today that Unusual Ventures has partnered with Kirin and her company, Illumix, to begin to illuminate the many worlds around us and mix them together through augmented reality gaming.
Illumix is building a platform that blends content and AR technology in a new, sophisticated way. In particular, they’re driving toward understanding what people actually enjoy doing in AR worlds so that they can build products around those preferences. Illumix will use these insights to create two environmentally intelligent, world-scale first-person games. As Kirin and team continue to grow and build the new gaming world of tomorrow, Unusual is thrilled to support their journey as advisors, thought partners and, most important of all, cheerleaders.
Now back to the extraordinary Kirin. While doing graduate work in computer vision, she ran a nonprofit that helped middle school girls with a high likelihood of dropping out better learn and engage with math. This experience inspired her to investigate how to use AR to teach students by creating immersive experiences geared toward learning. This was the genesis of what would become Illumix. She wanted to bring more magic and fantasy into students’ everyday lives. She wanted to take a simple room and reimagine all the things it could be and all the layers she could add to life. This is why Kirin is such a perfect fit for Unusual. She thought so far outside the box that she was able to bring us a vision for the future that nobody has yet imagined.
When she decided to go to business school at Stanford, she already knew she wanted to start an AR company, so she was selective in choosing her courses. She only took classes where she could fold in some aspect of what she was already trying to build. And she did all of this while pushing through on only 4-5 hours of sleep per night. She was committed to getting Illumix off the ground. And while she describes this time as extremely difficult, she persisted and managed to snag her MBA and her first round of funding for her budding startup at the same time.
Kirin attributes much of her love of building other worlds, dreams of fantasy and dabbling in magic to J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular Harry Potter series. She shared with me one of Rowling’s tweets from the 20th anniversary of the original book that perfectly sums up how she feels about the work she is doing at Illumix:
“20 years ago today, a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It's been wonderful.” – JK Rowling
Here at Unusual, we want to open the doors for as many brilliant, imaginative entrepreneurs as we can. Here’s to Kirin and the Illumix team on a successful launch and a supportive partnership — we know you’re going to build something truly, and wonderfully Unusual.