Member Spotlight: Ryan Chapman, CEO

Laura Ryu Marketing Manager of VRARA Vancouver caught up with VRARA Vancouver member Ryan Chapman, CEO of, to discuss location-based AR, how to get people engaged in immersive tech, and the Vancouver VR/AR community!


Tell us about yourself! Who is Ryan Chapman and where does fit into the VR/AR space? 

Hi! I'm Ryan Chapman, CEO of I've been working in the tech industry for 20 years, with stops including Microsoft, TiVo, and a handful start-ups. Currently I'm CEO and tech lead of where we're building a platform that streamlines the development of location-AR apps and games.

How did you get involved in VR/AR? 

We've been working in the location-based augmented reality space since 2009. We started as RocketChicken Interactive and released a location-based spy game called CodeRunner in 2012. With CodeRunner we focused really heavily on first-person narrative and created some unique technology that allowed us to tell a compelling story that adapted to the player's surroundings no matter where they were playing.

Tell us about your most recent project? takes the lessons we learned from building CodeRunner and turns them into a platform that anybody can use. Not only are you getting a platform that's been developed, tested, and refined for over five years, you're also getting close to a decade of our own experience crafting location-based AR experiences.

What piece of work that your team has produced are you most proud of? 

The Motive platform is by far the product that I am most proud of. It's an incredibly complex system with hundreds of moving parts. I'm also extremely proud of the team that we've built, all of whom have pushed through some pretty challenging times with incredible humour and resilience.


It seems like has created a handful of app focused on location-based technology, is there a particular reason why? 

We've always been fascinated by the potential to create meaningful engagement with the real world through technology. We started working in the space in the early years of smartphones and felt that many of the elements that made these devices unique were being ignored by developers. Everybody was starting to carry, in their pocket, a device that had access to the boundless resources of the Internet and at the same time knew exactly where you were and what was going on around you. CodeRunner was our first attempt to push the boundaries of a whole new form of entertainment and we haven't looked back since! 

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced at so far? 

I think our biggest challenges are the same ones that a lot of small companies and start-ups face: learning about your market and surviving long enough to get a product ready that fits it.

The public interest in immersive technology seems to grow and fade. What do you think will change the attitude of those who still have reservations about VR/AR technology? 

I think people need an entry point into immersive experiences that feels familiar and inviting. This is really one of the key values that we're trying to create. gives people compelling, immersive experiences using a device that they already carry with them every day. As people get comfortable with these sorts of apps and games, they will naturally start to see the potential for VR and AR and will start looking for more depth and interaction.

What are you throught on the VR/AR industry in Vancouver? How can companies, communities, and institutions help foster growth and adoption? 

I'm beyond thrilled about the VR/AR industry in Vancouver. Our history as a gaming and film hub positions us perfectly to be a pioneer in VR and AR.

As a member, what do you wish people knew about the VR/AR Assocation, especially in Vancouver? 

In Vancouver in particular, I'd really love more people to know just what a vibrant technology scene we have, and especially how well represented we are in one of the hottest technology trends of the day. The Global Summit in September is testament to the incredible work that everyone in the industry here has done to push us into a position to be recognized as a global leader.

What can we expect from this year? 

We are launching open access to at GDC later this month! We're thrilled to finally get this in the hands of developers looking to create location-AR and we have a huge stack of features that we'll be adding throughout the year. Stay tuned!