If you're looking for the race to be the "Cardboard for AR," you might need to tune-in to ESPN2. There, you would learn that Mira has taken the lead. Later on, you'd find that Cappasity has joined the fight to establish a blockchain to support AR.
Meanwhile, on ESPN News, you'd learn that Mammoth VR has expanded its franchise with an AR subsidiary. You might also catch a glimpse of the prospects looking to break into the majors via Shasta Ventures.
After closing a $1 million seed plus funding round, Mira began shipping the developers edition of their $99 Prism headset and made the beta for their software development kit is available for download through their website.
Greylock Partners, Founders Fund Angel, and Macro Ventures led the latest round of funding. The company raised another $1.5 million in their initial seed funding round, with Sequoia Capital, Troy Capital Partners, S-Cubed Capital, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, music artist will.i.am, Jaunt VR founder Jens Christensen, and others.
The Mira headset is compatible with iPhone 6, 6S, 7, and 8, with support for additional models and manufacturers forthcoming. With Wikitude powering world tracking capabilities, the Prism headset comes with a Bluetooth remote for gesture input. The SDK supports the Unity 3D engine and enables developers to create multiplayer and shared experiences.
The reception we've seen for the Prism headset and our vision for enabling developers to create premium, shared AR experiences has been overwhelming, and we are honored to add the expertise of Greylock Partners, Founders Fund Angel, and Macro Ventures to the fold. We've already seen select developers build incredible experiences with our SDK, and we're eager to see what the wider community creates now that our software is more widely available.
The company plans to deliver a Discovery Edition Prism headset in time for the holiday shopping season, followed by a wider consumer release in 2018.
In Cappasity's ecosystem, content creators would earn ARTokens (ARTs) for making 3D content and selling or renting their products to developers and businesses for AR/VR experierences.
According to a news release, 70 percent of ARTs will go to crowdsale participants, with the remainder allocated to a founders' endowment and early contributors.
The new subsidiary will cover a wide breadth of use cases, including business functions like brand experiences, marketing, and data visualization and entertainment applications like cinematic AR and gamification.
"Augmented reality empowers us to shape our immediate world – to integrate ourselves with a symbiotic landscape that is simultaneously physical and digital," said the company in a prepared statement.
Shasta Ventures has opened a fund dedicated to companies developing augmented/virtual reality and computer vision technology.
The Camera Fund will provide pre-seed and seed funding to help companies develop their ideas during early stages when lack of scale can make it difficult to attract investors. They also promise a support ecosystem with networking events and access to platform partners.
"Camera-first technology is poised for astounding technical and market growth. At Shasta, our platform is capital and people partnership. We're launching the Shasta Camera Fund to give visionaries a turbo boost in building AR, VR, and camera-first Computer Vision applications," said Jacob Mullins, principal at Shasta Ventures, in a statement.
The firm has nurtured some notable names, with Dollar Shave Club, Mint, Nest, Nextdoor, and Smule counted among their alumni.
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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