Market Reality: Niantic & WaveOptics Locate More Funding for AR, Cheddar Spreads to Magic Leap, & Tesla Files AR Patent

Niantic & WaveOptics Locate More Funding for AR, Cheddar Spreads to Magic Leap, & Tesla Files AR Patent

Investors continue to bet on augmented reality, both for short-term returns and long-term plays. This week, Niantic reportedly picked up another round of funding from Samsung and others, based on the success of PokémonGO and the prospects for future revenue. Likewise, investors see value in WaveOptics, whose waveguide displays could make consumer smaller AR smartglasses possible within the next year.

Speaking of financial news, "post-cable" news network Cheddar made a forward-looking move by launching an augmented reality app on the Magic Leap One. And Tesla, whose rockstar CEO Elon Musk spoke about his disdain for the Securities and Exchange Commission on 60 Minutes on Sunday, has filed a patent for a new method of augmented reality for enterprises.

Niantic Reportedly Scores $200M Funding from Samsung & Others

Although Niantic is already an augmented reality startup unicorn thanks to the success of Pokémon GO, the company has reportedly captured yet another round of funding.

Citing sources close to the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the AR gaming and software developer has closed a $200 million round of funding, led by venture capital firm IVP, with Samsung Electronics and aXiomatic Gaming participating as strategic investors. The funding would raise its valuation to $3.9 billion.

Continue reading to find out why Niantic is an attractive bet for investors, what Samsung's ulterior motive is for funding Niantic, and what this could mean for the future of the Niantic Real World Platform...

Image by Niantic/YouTube

REALITY BITES: Just in case there was any doubt about augmented reality's impact on the marketing industry, Mobile Marketer has named Michael Kors' AR ads, delivered via Facebook's AR platform, as the Campaign of the Year for 2018. The fashion company was one of the first to test sponsored AR experiences on Facebook's News Feed, followed by Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, and King.

WaveOptics Closes $26M Series C Round to Expand Internationally

Augmented reality optics maker WaveOptics has just infused its operations with a fresh round of funding to facilitate its objective of bringing consumer-grade smartglasses at a $600 price point to market in 2019.

On Tuesday, the London-based company announced that it has closed a Series C round of funding totaling about $26 million, which will enable the company to scale operations for mass production of its waveguide displays for AR wearables and expand to international markets, including the US and Asia.

Read on to find out who invested in this round, and what the investment means for the future of consumer AR smartglasses...

REALITY BITES: Capital Region AR VR Accelerator is looking for companies with working prototypes to participate in its 2019 session, taking place between Jan. 28 and April 13, 2019. Selected companies can receive up to $50,000 in capital funding. Deadline for submissions is Dec. 21.

Cheddar Spreads Its Financial News Video on the Magic Leap One

The team at Magic Leap just got a millennial-style boost with the announcement that financial news network Cheddar is coming to the Magic Leap One.

Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg revealed the news in a surprise tweet early Tuesday morning. Included in that tweet was a brief video from Magic Leap's YouTube channel that serves as a kind of commercial for what it will be like to watch Cheddar on the Magic Leap One.

Keep reading for details about the app and Cheddar's strategy for taking the Magic Leap plunge, as well as our hands-on experience with the app...

REALITY BITES: While augmented reality is a hot commodity in tech at the moment, not every company is finding financial success. Take Blippar, the beleaguered computer vision company, which appears to be heading for administration (the UK equivalent of bankruptcy), after a conflict between investors nixed a new round of funding, as The Times (paywall) reports. Sadly, Osterholt Design Group (ODG) may be facing similar troubles, with its patent portfolio and other assets listed for sale via Hilco Streambank.

Tesla's Patent for AR in Manufacturing Could Accelerate Smarter Enterprise AR

New documents reveal that electric car company Tesla has filed a surprising new patent that has nothing to do with batteries or autonomous driving and everything to do with augmented reality. Last week, the company's US Patent and Trademark Office patent application, titled "Augmented Reality Feature Detection," showed up online.

According to the patent documentation, which was originally submitted on May 31, 2018 and was surfaced by Forbes earlier this month, the technology uses computer vision to recognize objects based on the hues of the object appearing in the camera view and the location of the device. It compares the recognized image to a corresponding model from a library of 3D models, and overlays digital data on top of it.

Continue reading for more details on how Tesla might apply the technology in its plants, and how the patent could accelerate development of enterprise AR solutions...

REALITY BITES: We've established a new section on Next Reality that puts all of the news on the business of augmented reality in one place. So if you're craving news on investments, executive arrivals and departures, market analysis, and the like, check out our AR Business section!

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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Cover image via Niantic/YouTube

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