It’s not very often you see a demo that you think about for years. And yet that was the case with Parsec, the leading product for remotely accessing graphics intensive and latency sensitive applications from anywhere. I first met the team and saw the demo in 2017, soon after joining a16z. When I tried it, Benjy Boxer, the cofounder and CEO, was hosting a game on his desktop in New York and I was playing it in our offices in Menlo Park. Despite the physical distance, it felt as if I was playing the game locally on a beefy, gaming PC rather than from 3,000 miles away on my old, underpowered laptop. The responsiveness was unreal! Already then it had that touch of magic that typifies truly special products.
At the time, Parsec was primarily focused on consumers and gaming. Their goal was to provide the best remote gaming experience ever created. And in our view they did, and it resulted in a large, active, and loyal community around the product.
Having recently come from VMware, I was very much aware of—and impressed with—how significant the technical hurdles were that they had overcome, and that the technology could be broadly applied beyond consumer games. In fact, traditional remote desktop software was incredibly poor at exactly the type of applications Parsec was built for.
And so I wasn’t surprised to hear that Parsec was seeing adoption within the enterprise. However, what I was surprised by was how quick and broad the uptake was, with many of the world’s most creative companies becoming customers including EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and Square Enix, as well as leaders in film and TV production, animation, broadcast, and architecture.
The Parsec team continues to stay true to their gaming roots, and Parsec will always be the best way to play games remotely. But use of the product throughout the industry goes far beyond gaming to include movie editing, architecture, engineering, design, and so on.
In addition, companies were starting to embed Parsec into their games to provide remote access capabilities. Over the last few years, Parsec has truly become a horizontal enabling technology for remote display and interaction of the world’s most challenging workloads.
After years of tracking the team, using the product, and watching the business mature, I reached out to Benjy to ask whether he would be open to working together. Not only does a16z have a team focused on the gaming industry, we love horizontal layers built around deep tech. And so, I’m thrilled to announce that we’re leading Parsec’s Series B and I’ll be joining the board.
Of course, great companies come from great teams and great founders and it’s been a real pleasure getting to know Chris Dickson (cofounder and CTO) and Benjy throughout this process. We’ve been tremendously impressed watching them overcome both technical and business challenges over the years, and we’re incredibly excited to be able to participate in the journey. We truly believe that Parsec is the right technology for remote use of any app and the team is on their way to building an iconic company to support that.
Many of us at the firm have long been fans of Parsec. If you haven’t tried it out, you really should. I’m certain it will give you a good appreciation for why we are so excited.