With would-be unicorns Magic Leap and Niantic among its investments, Google is an active investor in augmented reality technology. This week, the search giant experienced both ends of the investment cycle, with an exit via Lyft's acquisition of Blue Vision Labs, and a funding round for Resolution Games.
Meanwhile, Samsung and others have backed a startup founded by former Google employees that emerged from stealth with an AR remote collaboration app this week, and Epic Games achieved a high score with its own funding round.
Not all AR business news was good news this week, though, as Leap Motion and exec Keiichi Matsuda parted ways.
Lyft Picks Up Blue Vision Labs & Its AR Cloud Platform for Reported $102M
On Tuesday, Blue Vision Labs, one of three Google-backed companies working on AR Cloud platforms, announced its acquisition by ride-sharing company Lyft.
The ultimate destination for the acquisition is autonomous vehicles, with Blue Vision becoming Lyft's London office and joining the company's Level 5 division dedicated to developing self-driving technology.
In the near term, though, Blue Vision's platform offers augmented reality possibilities for Lyft's mobile app; continue reading to learn how...
REALITY BITES: Outgoing Snap COO Imran Khan has such big shoes to fill that the company has hired two people to replace him. Recode reports that former Amazon global ad sales head Jeremi Gorman will assume a similar role with Snap as chief business officer, while Jared Grusd, currently CEO of Huffington Post, will oversee partnerships, content, and corporate development as the company's chief strategy officer.
Resolution Games Powers Up with $7.5M Funding Round
Fresh off shipping an augmented reality game for Magic Leap, Resolution Games has farmed another $7.5 million in funding through a Series B round.
The round was led by MizMaa Ventures, with new investors including venture capital firms GP Bullhound and Fly Forever, as well as Unity founder David Helgason. Existing investors participating in the round include GV (Google parent Alphabet's investment arm), Partech, Bonnier Ventures, Creandum, and Sisu Game Ventures.
Read on to learn more about what makes Resolution Games an attractive AR investment as well as what other AR companies are in Google's investment portfolio...
REALITY BITES: AR design app maker WiARframe was among the 10 tech startups that participated in the inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator facilitated by Techstars. Executives from Universal Studios, Universal Theme Parks, DreamWorks, Comcast Business, Strategic Development, Comcast Ventures, and LIFT Labs, as well as the teams that build XFINITY products and services, served as mentors for the event.
Samsung Among Investors in $8M Seed Round for Spatial's Remote Collaboration App
Emerging from stealth on Wednesday, startup Spatial introduced its eponymous app that turns any room into a virtual workspace where co-workers can interact with virtual content remotely via the Magic Leap One and the HoloLens, as well as VR headsets Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Spatial already has one high profile customer: Ford X, an internal technology incubator at Ford, is deploying the app in a pilot program to connect its distributed workforce.
In addition to unveiling its app, Spatial announced that it has closed an $8 million seed funding round, with iNovia Capital, Garrett Camp with Expa, Samsung Next, Joi Ito, Mark Pincus, and Andy Hertzfeld among the investors.
Read further to learn more about Spatial's app and how it represents the next generation of enterprise AR software...
REALITY BITES: Before the European edition of the Augmented World Expo (AWE) wrapped up last week, the conference's organizers took the time to recognize the best technology on display. Vuzix and XMReality were among the winners of the third annual AWE EU Auggie Awards.
Leap Motion Says Goodbye to VP Keiichi Matsuda
After a little more than a year at motion tracking technology maker Leap Motion, Keiichi Matsuda has resigned his position as vice president of design and global creative director, the company announced on Wednesday.
A designer and filmmaker (and NR30 member), Matsuda is perhaps best known for his video, titled Hyper-Reality, which depicts a future of augmented reality overkill.
Keep reading to find out more about Matsuda's contributions to Leap Motion and how the rest of the augmented reality industry may benefit from his transition...
REALITY BITES: Developers, do you have an great idea for an augmented reality app? Mapbox wants you to put your code where your mouth is. In partnership with Amazon Web Services, the company is running the Vision Developer Contest, with a grand prize of an all expenses paid trip to AWS:ReInvent in November. The first 500 participants will get $50 in AWS credits.
Epic Games Raises $1.25B on Strength of Fortnite & Unreal Engine
While these days it is better known for the cross-platform gaming sensation Fortnite, Epic Games also makes Unreal Engine, one of the top development environments for 3D content and, in turn, augmented reality and virtual reality experiences.
As a result, the company has managed to close a staggering $1.25 billion funding round, with KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners participating.
Continue reading to find out why Epic Games is a smart AR bet for investors...
Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.
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