A Bat Mitzvah is more fun with zombies, and a Mars landing can spice up a company holiday party. At least that’s the idea behind Event Horizon VR, which brings the excitement of virtual reality to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, birthday parties, and corporate events. As guests use the special headset and controllers to explore virtual worlds, their friends can watch the action on a large screen and cheer them on.
Mendel Bakaleynik’s path to founding the company was not an easy one. At first, he wanted to create a virtual reality arcade, where customers could use the expensive equipment just as they had once flocked to play Pacman and other arcade games. But setting this up required a huge investment, and there was no telling if a VR arcade would quickly be made obsolete by home use of the technology, just as traditional arcades had been.
Instead, Bakaleynik tapped into his local Jewish community and began offering virtual reality at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. He has branched out to summer camps, organizations, and even parades. “By providing an excellent experience for all my participants I was continually recommended for other events,” he says.
Bakaleynik’s SCORE mentors advised him against his initial idea of creating a VR arcade, which was risky in an untested industry and would have required a huge investment. They also helped him determine his target audience and price point.
Bakaleynik says, “My mentors have had a significantly positive impact on my business and myself, as an entrepreneur. They helped walk me through the idea stage and encouraged me to take the leap and launch my business. They helped guide me away from major errors and provided excellent suggestions for various worries and concerns. I have immense gratitude for the kind service they have provided me with, purely out of the goodness of their hearts.”
Bakaleynik navigated the somewhat cryptic world of online virtual reality enthusiasts, successfully researching a product about which there was very little information available online. By doing one-on-one demonstrations and taking part in events, he was able to build the connections necessary to become well-known in his local community. He is now running a successful business with a growing client base.