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Evolution of AR Technology

Evolution of AR Technology
February 15, 2021

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The use of augmented reality (AR) is continually expanding into real-world applications beyond video games, and the Pokemon Go craze of 2016 seems almost ancient with the unprecedented growth AR has had in the last few years. AR can actually be traced as far back as 1968 when American computer scientist Ivan Sutherland donned a head-mounted display system, but the term wasn’t coined until 1990 by Boeing researcher Tom Caudell.  

Businesses embrace AR
Organizations in many sectors from manufacturing, logistics, retail, and more are embracing the possibilities of AR. For example, Boeing has used AR to help technicians install electrical wiring on an aircraft. DHL announced AR glasses for a more accurate and efficient picking process. Ikea has been leveraging AR to help customers see their products in their homes before they purchase them. The latest to join the crowd and perhaps most anticipated is Apple’s AR glasses rumored to be out this year. 

Source: Mojo Vision

Startups in AR

  • When we look at startups in AR, most of them are often involved in developing the content for AR because the technology is useless without tailor-made content. Niantic is one of the well-known content creators of AR, responsible for the previously mentioned Pokemon Go hype that brought AR mainstream and continues to drive AR gaming growth. The company most recently acquired Mayhem Interactive to build out its social gaming presence.
  • zSpace is a technology provider specializing in learning through AR/VR by providing both hardware and content for learning. With the pandemic spurring virtual learning, schools are more eager to invest in technology that companies like zSpace can provide.
  • Magic Leap sells a head-mounted wearable device called Magic Leap One that leverages AR technology in order to superimpose visuals over real-world objects, an anticipated game-changer for technology leveraging AR. The company has raised multiple rounds of funding from Google, Alibaba, JP Morgan, and more, but so far, it has struggled to meet expectations. In 2020, the company was riddled with bad publicity, including large layoffs and canceled plans for a consumer product, ultimately dropping its previous $6BN+ valuation to $600MM. 
  • Mojo Vision is another wearable company that is getting a lot of publicity with its smart contact lens technology which it announced at CES 2021. The lens will allow you to see AR visuals without the need for bulky wearable tech.
  • Ultraleap, previously known as Leap Motion before its merger with Ultra Haptic, uses hand-tracking technology for augmented and virtual reality interactions. Because it is touchless and uses gesture control, it will most likely be a sought-after technology post-pandemic. 
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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
204,553 Companies | 181 Funding Activities | 169 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Pacific BioSciences of California raises $900MM led by Softbank Capital
Biotechnology • Debt • Menlo Park, CA

Day One Biopharmaceuticals raises $130MM led by RA Capital Management
Biotechnology • Round B • South San Francisco, CA

Alclear raises $100MM led by Enlightened Hospitality Investments
Biometrics Commercial Products & Office Supplies • Equity • New York, NY

Kong raises $100MM
Cloud Software & Internet Services • Round D • San Francisco, CA

SpectraWAVE raises $13.2MM
Biotechnology • Round A • Bedford, MA

Infinitus Systems raises $21.4MM co-led by Kleiner Perkins and Coatue Management
Data Centers Software & Internet Services • Round A • San Francisco, CA

Coterie Applications raises $11.5MM led by Intact Ventures
Insurance Services • Round A • Cincinnati, OH

OxeFit raises $12.5MM
Health Care Software & Internet Services • Round A • Plano, TX

Healthy Roots Dolls raises $1MM led by Backstage Capital
Consumer Products • Seed • East Lansing, MI 

Latitude Games raises $3.3MM
Video Games Software & Internet Services • Seed • Dover, DE

Age Bold raises $7MM led by Andreessen Horowitz
Health Care Software & Internet Services • Seed •  Los Altos, CA

BeyondID raises $9MM
Commercial Products & Office Supplies • Round A • San Francisco, CA

Scope Enterprises raises $2.3MM
Big Data Software & Internet Services • Seed • San Francisco, CA merges with Nebula Caravel Acquisition Corp for $325MM
Specialized Consumer Services • SPAC • Seattle, WA

Hormel Foods Corporation acquires Planters for $3.35BN
Industrial Products • Acquisition • Glenview IL

Tyler Technologies acquires NIC for $2.3BN
Consulting • Acquisition • Olathe, KS

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