$793.5 million of C-level funding confirmed for Magic Leap
New investment also comes from Warner Bros. and tier-one financial institutions, including Fidelity Management and Research Company, J.P. Morgan Investment Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and Wellington Management Company.
The C-level funding will bring Magic Leap’s value to USD4.5 billion, yet no prototype was every shown to the public.
Founder, President, and CEO of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz expects the renewed investments to accelerate the maturation of the company’s Mixed Reality Lightfield technology, a retinal display technology that blends 3D digital content with the real world, brightly enough to feel real.
Alibaba’s consumer reach through its giant online retail platform could potentially reach hundreds of millions of customers, making the Chinese company a strategic partner of choice if ever AR was to reach consumers beyond their smartphones.
Sure the video demonstrations of Magic Leap’s 3D digital superimpositions are compelling, but will that necessarily translate into the massive adoption of augmented reality, let alone displacing all other competitors in the field?
Both Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR were reportedly sold out on the same day they were officially available for pre-orders (from unknown batch quantities), recently Google reported it had shipped over 5 million units of its very cheap Cardboard VR headsets in just over a year and a half.
Yet, that’s still small change compared to the smartphone industry where AR is only slowly picking up, whose trivial functionalities (mostly enhanced advertising aimed at consumers) are probably good-enough seen on smartphones or tablets and would hardly justify the expense of a fully immersive VR headset.
If VR and AR are to be limited to industrial applications, services, and gaming, then the returns on such heavy investments may be deceiving.
Visit Magic Leap at www.magicleap.com