The close of the second quarter of 2021 brought about a flurry of merger and acquisition and financing activity in the augmented reality industry, headlined by the acquisition of Ubiquity6 and JigSpace's new multimillion-dollar funding round.
The week in AR news also saw activity in partnerships, including Viber getting closer to Snapchat AR and the US Army making progress in testing its military-grade HoloLens 2 from Microsoft.
Finally, a marketing promotion featuring Megan Thee Stallion for Cash app may serve as a muse for the presentation of future smartglasses to consumers...
Discord Acquires AR Cloud Startup Ubiquity6
The herd of augmented reality cloud startups that emerged in 2018 have been hunted to near extinction, with Google-backed Ubiquity6 the latest to move from an independent entity to a wholly-owned asset.
On Monday, the company revealed that it has been acquired by Discord, the seemingly ubiquitous chat platform for gamers.
Keep reading for more details on the deal and to find out what happened to the rest of the AR cloud's Class of 2018...
REALITY BITES: Multinary, an AR startup led by PrimeSense founder and former Magic Leap Israel general manager Tamir Berliner, emerged from stealth with a $28 million seed funding round, reportedly the biggest ever for an Israeli startup. PrimeSense licensed its depth-sensing technology to Microsoft for use in the Kinect before Apple acquired the startup and integrated the same tech into the TrueDepth camera for iPhones and iPads. Taking cues from its Apple and Magic Leap pedigree, Multinary is keeping its product a secret for now.
JigSpace Closes $4.7 Million Funding Round
The startup JigSpace, which was among the first apps to support ARKit and LiDAR for iPhone augmented reality apps, has capitalized on its early mover status by innovating within the space.
On Wednesday, JigSpace closed a $4.7 million Series A round of funding, led by Rampersand with Investible, Vulpes, and Roger Allen AM participating as well.
Continue reading to learn how JigSpace will use the funding and how it has benefited from Apple's AR ecosystem as well as Snapchat's AR platform...
REALITY BITES: Nextech AR has completed its acquisition of Threedy.ai, a startup specializing in AI-assisted 3D modeling for e-commerce. In conjunction with the deal, Nextech issued more than 3.8 million shares worth a total of $9.5 million.
Snapchat's AR Lenses Find a New Home in Viber App
On Wednesday, Rakuten Viber flipped the switch on an update that brings Snapchat's popular AR Lenses to many users of its Viber messaging and voice communications app.
Viber users will now have access to 30 Lenses at launch for augmented video messaging and photos created in the app, but the selection will expand over time, with Rakuten Viber planning to add 50 to 70 Lenses per month, resulting in up to 300 Lenses by the end of the year. Viber will also offer Lenses sponsored by other brands, with the World Wildlife Fund, FC Barcelona, and the World Health Organization among the early adopters.
Read further to see what the Snapchat experience looks in Viber and learn how to access the Lenses, then continue reading for some Fourth of July Lenses from Snapchat itself...
REALITY BITES: Startup VividQ closed a seed funding round totaling $11 million. The funding will help the company expand its technology, which is capable of turning traditional LCD displays into AR displays without the need for wearable accessories.
US Army Shares Photos from HoloLens 2 Army Edition Testing
It's all fun and games until the technology is actually put into use and you realize augmented reality is now part of Death Star.
That's what some AR insiders may be thinking once they get a look at the latest modified HoloLens 2 images released by the US Army.
Keep reading to see the military-grade HoloLens 2 in action and learn more about its current development status...
REALITY BITES: Chinese automotive AR company Raythink has closed a Series A round of funding worth "tens of millions of yuan." The financing round was led by Meihua Venture Capital, Qianhai Master Fund, Yecao Venture Capital, and Dongfang Fuhai. The company will apply the funding toward research and development and expanding production capacity.
Cash App & Megan Thee Stallion Show How to Make Smartglasses Cool
No, Jack Dorsey's Cash app isn't about to launch an augmented reality device (er, I don't think...), but its latest outing is about as close as we've come to full confirmation that the wearable AR age is upon us.
The popular payments app loved by the clout-chasing and the famous alike, which is owned by Square, recently rolled out a flashy new marketing video (see below). And while AR isn't the star, it's worth unpacking the major cultural cues contained in the spot.
Continue reading to learn how culture and celebrity may be the key to making smartglasses mainstream...
REALITY BITES: WXR Fund closed this week with $5 million in funding. The only fund of its kind, the WXR Fund invests exclusively in women-led enterprises in AR and AI, with more than 50% participation from investors who are women.
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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