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Andre Lorenceau: Virtual Reality Meets Live Sports

Andre Lorenceau, BBA '13, founder of Livelike, looks away from the cameraAndre Lorenceau, BBA '13, founder of Livelike, which will offer a virtual reality live nationwide broadcast of the Texas/Oklahoma game Oct. 8 in partnership with Fox Sports. 

For the first time, this season, college football games are being broadcast live nationwide in virtual reality thanks to 26-year-old McCombs alum Andre Lorenceau, BBA '13. A few days after the first VR game aired — Ohio State versus Oklahoma on Sept. 17 — Forbes announced that former NBA commissioner David Stern and several other backers had invested $5 million in Lorenceau's fledgling company LiveLike.

The Red River showdown between Texas and Oklahoma Oct. 8 will be LiveLike/Fox Sports' next virtual reality football live stream. Viewers use Gear VR and Google Cardboard headsets — or a smartphone or iPad — to experience the game in VR.  

"The skyrocket to success has been nothing short of mind-blowing," says Lorenceau, recalling how it all started two years ago.  

"I had this visceral stomach lurching," he says, remembering the epiphany that launched his career. It was March 2014 when Lorenceau tried out an advanced prototype of a virtual reality game at South by Southwest. As he pulled down the joystick, he recalls the real sensation of centrifugal force: "My body was convinced I was going to take a 90-degree turn in a spaceship."

Immediately sensing the technology's commercial potential, Lorenceau realized that time was of the essence: "If I want to have a competitive edge in VR," he thought, "this is the moment."

He posted ads on VR forums that read, "I have a business degree. I’ll help anybody for free." This was music to the ears of a small but talented French-Korean animation VR storytelling studio called Innerspace, which took Lorenceau on as their business officer.  

For three months he lived in a six-by-six- foot apartment in South Korea, an hour from the office. He worked 12-hour days. "It was fantastic," he says.  

Samsung discovered the team and included its program in its first GearVR mobile headset. Within a year, he went from "the most un-hireable person" to owning LiveLike.  

"In frontier technology, you know and extend the edge of knowledge in no time," he says. "You study it for six seconds, and you know more than 90 percent of the population."

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