News: Investors Bet $8M on Former Google & Facebook Engineers' Platform-Bridging AR Development Tool

Investors Bet $8M on Former Google & Facebook Engineers' Platform-Bridging AR Development Tool

Augmented reality software maker 8th Wall has closed a Series A funding round of $8 million in capital to feed the growth of its development platform.

Founded by former Google and Facebook engineers, 8th Wall uses computer vision to enable six degrees of freedom tracking, light estimation, and surface detection capabilities for apps on iOS or Android. The 8th Wall platform also plays well with Apple's ARKit for iOS and Google's ARCore for Android and integrates into other development environments, such as Unity.

Image by 8th Wall/YouTube

While the emergence of ARKit and ARCore has made it easier for developers to add AR features to their apps, the population of devices that are compatible with the platforms is still relatively limited. This has left a vacuum, which companies like 8th Wall are happy to fill.

In related developments, uSens recently introduced its uSensAR tool that leverages the camera and sensors available on any Android handset for its AR capabilities. And late last year, Vuforia 7 released similar capabilities with its Fusion API.

Additionally, Unity is working on an interface that developers can use to build multiplayer AR experiences between iOS and Android users. Meanwhile, Apple has reportedly postponed its own multiplayer features for ARKit.

"Most people's first experiences with AR will happen on mobile, and mobile AR will undoubtedly be the catalyst for growth in a wide range of industries," said Erik Murphy-Chutorian, founder and CEO of 8th Wall, in a statement. "AR presents the chance to reimagine applications in a way never previously possible and will lead to user interactions that are much more natural. AR developers hold the key, but they need a new suite of tools and services to make it happen. We help them get through the door faster."

The investment round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, a seed investor in 8th Wall, along with the Venture Reality Fund, Shasta Ventures, and Sparkland Capital. In total, 8th Wall has received $10.4 million in funding to date. In conjunction with the round, Vab Goel, a general partner at Norwest Venture Partners, is joining the 8th Wall board of directors.

"8th Wall is accelerating adoption of AR and exploiting the potential of the technology," said Goel. "Erik and his team know what it takes to succeed in mobile development. Norwest Venture Partners is excited about 8th Wall's vision."

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Cover image via 8th Wall/YouTube

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