Ultraleap raises £60m to take on the metaverse

Ultraleap raises £60m to take on the metaverse

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

UK developer Ultraleap has completed its £60m ($82m) Series D fundraising round to accelerate the shift to the next-gen computing platforms including the metaverse VR environment promoted by Nvidia and Meta (formerly Facebook).

The round started with £35m ($50m) in June from Chinese giant Tencent and is the first for new CEO Tom Carter. This brings the total raised to around $170m.

“The metaverse concept is not new to Ultraleap. It has always been our mission to remove boundaries between physical and digital worlds. The pandemic has accelerated the rise of the term as more people now understand the power of enhancing the physical world with digital elements,” said Tom Carter, CEO and founder who took over form Steve Cliffe in August

“For Ultraleap, this new era is not constrained to VR headsets. Like the internet, it is a reality we will interact with in all parts of life: at home, in the office, in cars, or out in public. Our aim with this Series D raise is to accelerate the transition to the primary interface – your hands – because there are no physical controllers, buttons or touchscreens in anyone’s vision of the metaverse,” said Carter.

The company launched its fifth-generation Gemini machine learning hand tracking platform earlier across multiple platforms, camera systems and third-party hardware. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 chipset and Varjo’s VR-3 and XR-3 headsets have already shipped with Gemini built in.

With this investment round, Ultraleap will continue to bring Gemini to different operating systems and increase their investment in tooling to enable developers to build more applications using hands and boost R&D in California and Bristol, UK.

As the Automotive industry evolves, manufacturers are looking to differentiate on the in-cabin experience even more, as seen with DS Automobiles and Hosiden. The Series D round will enable Ultraleap to iterate faster on their automotive haptic platform and invest in R&D to drive forward the world’s only commercially available mid-air haptics solution.

“This raise doesn’t just give us greater resources to scale, but our investors provide us insights and access to our targets markets as well. The timing aligns with the demand we are seeing from our customers across key verticals,” said Carter.

Ultraleap employs more than 150 people across Europe, North America and Asia following the acquisition of Leap Motion in May 2019. It has become the first to offer the full vertical stack of software and hardware to enable spatial computing for the XR, out-of-home (OOH) and kiosks and automotive sectors.

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