HaptX // DK Launch: PR + Influencers

HaptX co-founder Dr. Bob Crockett presenting at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle to support the launch of the HaptX Gloves Development Kit.

HaptX co-founder Dr. Bob Crockett presenting at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle to support the launch of the HaptX Gloves Development Kit.

In the month preceding our HaptX Gloves Development Kit announcement, we demoed and interviewed with several journalists under embargo. On launch day TechCrunch, Axios, VentureBeat, GeekWire, Road to VR, Forbes, Upload, VR Scout, and VR Focus wrote first-hand accounts of experiencing our gloves. We also shared HaptX Gloves with leading virtual reality influencers, and encouraged them to share their experience on our launch day.

We executed a bicoastal launch with two simultaneous events: The Future of Storytelling Summit in New York City and the GeekWire Summit in Seattle.

All of this activity worked together to build a critical mass, raising awareness and driving demand for the HaptX Gloves Development Kit.

HaptX Gloves Development Kit Launch: Press Coverage

“I have tried several other VR gloves, and this is definitely the most complete solution.”

“I have tried several other VR gloves, and this is definitely the most complete solution.”

“It was surreal… the feeling was more fine-grained in terms of sensations”

“It was surreal… the feeling was more fine-grained in terms of sensations”

“In the short preview I was able to experience, you couldn’t help but think about where realistic and immersive haptic technology is headed in the future.”

“In the short preview I was able to experience, you couldn’t help but think about where realistic and immersive haptic technology is headed in the future.”

HaptX Gloves Development Kit Launch: Influencer Support

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HaptX // Wall Street Journal Profile

The Wall Street Journal is the pinnacle of business reporting in the United States. When we visited New York City for the Future of Storytelling Summit last fall, I met with WSJ technology reporter Sarah Needleman to share our story and give a demo of our technology. This meeting led to a terrific piece in the WSJ's quarterly magazine, The Future of Everything.


This article was a long-term bet. I originally connected with Sarah two years earlier, when she replied to a tweet about our company (then known as AxonVR). She described our tech as, "so Ready Player One!"

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It's fitting that Sarah waited to share our story until a few days after the film's release. That way she could attach it to a broader narrative about the real life technology that's making Ready Play One a reality. We received similar coverage from VarietyForbes, and IDTechEx.

This shows how closely intertwined social media, public relations, events, and mass media narratives work together in marketing.

HaptX // Smarter Every Day

I worked with Smarter Every Day (SED) creator Destin Sandlin to coordinate a visit to HaptX's San Luis Obispo engineering lab. SED has a base of 5.6M subscribers, many of whom are engineers.  This was an opportunity to drive recruiting and build awareness among a tech savvy audience.

The opportunity came with considerable risk: Destin is a vocal skeptic of virtual reality. He'd be doing an on-camera demo of our VR glove prototype, so there was a possibility he'd trash our technology in front of his 5.5M subscribers. However, we believed our glove would turn Destin into a VR believer. Turns our we were right.

The video skyrocketed to the front page of r/videos and to the front page of YouTube. It wound up being the #7 trending video for the day. Some outlets even covered the video, highlighting that the HaptX Glove turned Destin into a VR believer. Right now the video is hovering at 2.4M views.

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Destin liked the video so much, he did something unprecedented for his channel: he released a follow-up video about our company. 

His follow up video featured another one of our demos, and interviews with members of our engineering team. It received over 600K views. 

HaptX // Launch: Public Relations + Influencers

Telling a unified story through an integrated media campaign

You’ve probably heard of owned, earned, and paid media. We use a similar framework, but as a scrappy startup that looks to maximize every marketing dollar, we do little-to-no paid media. Instead we group our efforts into three categories: owned, earned, and events.

Owned: This is what we say about ourselves. Our new websitelaunch videosocial media channelspress release, and our new visual identity. Throughout these materials, we told a story about why touch is fundamental to virtual reality, and showed how we can simulate touch more convincingly than anyone else. More about our owned media launch here.

From HaptX’s photoshoot with Wired // Kelsey McClellan

From HaptX’s photoshoot with Wired // Kelsey McClellan

Earned: This is what other people say about us. We spent months sharing our demo with media and influential members of our industry to earn third-party endorsements that validate our claims. We launched with positive coverage in EngadgetRoad to VRGeekWireIEEE SpectrumWIRED Magazine, and several other outlets.

Events: This is where we engage with people directly. We decided to publicize this announcement in advance of a busy events season. We had three events in the two weeks following our launch:

  • I/ITSEC – the world’s largest modeling, simulation, and training event

  • GeekWire Gala – the local tech outlet’s year-end celebration. This year, GeekWire recognized HaptX as one of the Seattle 10 – their annual list of the hottest startups in the region

  • VRX – a leading senior level VR industry event

Left:  Kent Bye interviews Jake Rubin, HaptX Founder and CEO for the Voices of VR Podcast.  Right:  HaptX was recognized as one of the Seattle 10 by GeekWire.

Left: Kent Bye interviews Jake Rubin, HaptX Founder and CEO for the Voices of VR Podcast. Right: HaptX was recognized as one of the Seattle 10 by GeekWire.

Nicole Lee wrote detailed review and published  this video  to Engadget’s YouTube and Facebook profiles.

Nicole Lee wrote detailed review and published this video to Engadget’s YouTube and Facebook profiles.

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Reverend Kyle’s video with the HaptX Glove. He wrote a glowing review of the experience on his website.