The Bagwan family talk about their new partnership, Neverland Virtual Reality.
Photo by: Dan Balmer
Interview by: Dan Mathers
How did you end up in West Chester? BRADY: I got my degree in computer science from the Virginia Military Institute and chose to join the Army. I was an infantry officer until 2006, which is how I met our business partner, Josh Smith. After I got out, our family moved around a lot, but in 2016 we landed in West Chester.
Josh was also in the Army? B: He and I served in the same unit, stationed four kilometers from the Korean Demilitarized Zone before being deployed to Iraq. There were only so many officers, so while we didn’t work closely, we knew each other. When we made it out of the Al-Anbar Province, they put us at Fort Carson in Colorado, and that’s when we got close.
Where’d your lives take you? B: He chose to stay in and work special ops while I got out and went into business. He stayed in another five years, then got a law degree from Penn State and went into commercial real estate. We kept in touch.
How’d the business idea come about? B: When my family moved here, he was in Hershey, so we were only 80 minutes apart, and we wanted a good excuse to hang out. We joke and say, “Our wives wouldn’t let us get together often enough, so we made a business to hang out more.”
Why a virtual reality arcade? LYNN: We took a trip to New York with our daughters—Brielle (6) and Brennan (8)—
and with so many activities, we had to pick and choose. We voted between Broadway and a VR arcade, and I alone voted for Broadway. We spent the entire afternoon at the arcade with all types of people: couples, families, kids. We were immediately like, “We should open one of these.”
Are you all gamers? L: We don’t even have video games at home. What was surprising to me when I delved into VR was
the array of experiences. You can fly to the moon with the crew of Apollo 11, and we put my daughter on the street in front of the house in Canada where we lived when she was born. Of course, there’s also boxing and shooting zombies…
B: Plus, there are applications in the worlds of education, real estate and even medicine, like treating anxiety or phobias.
What’s the equipment? B: We use the Vive Pro, it’s the best available, paired with high-performance, custom-built rigs. Even if you have a unit at home, it’s probably nothing like this. We also have racing simulators and a few other options.
How’d you choose the location? L: We live in West Bradford, but between our girls’ activities, or just going out to dinner, we’re in the borough four times a week, and we fell in love with it. Josh had never been here, but he and his wife walked the streets with us, and he was quickly sold on the location. He’s in the real estate business, and he saw the potential right away.
And what are the girls’ favorite parts of the business? BRENNAN: I like Beat Saber because it’s very active.
BRIELLE: I like Fruit Ninja because I like chopping, and it’s okay when I break things in the game.