Mixed Reality Innovators Make a ‘Magic Leap’ with Saudi Funding
According to reporting by tech news site Tech Crunch, the promising AR/MR wearable upstart Magic Leap has raised $400 million of Saudi-fronted investment money and an additional $62 million from independent investors in the company’s fifth round of venture capital financing. Following this latest round of investment, Magic Leap’s Series D funding stands at an impressive $963 million, for a total of $2.3 billion in capital raised to date.
The Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia’s government investing authority, provided the $400 million windfall to Magic Leap, following similar large-scale moves by the fund including prior investments in rideshare company Uber and international investment funds in a bid to diversify the Kingdom’s petroleum-based wealth, according to the Financial Times. In a recent statement on the deal, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz said:
“The Magic Leap team and I are happy to welcome The Public Investment Fund and the other new investors to the Magic Leap family. We look forward to having them join us on our journey to build an amazing future.”
The Plantation, FL-based Magic Leap has drawn increasing media hype in addition to its boon of venture capital. While the company has operated under the intrigue of strict secrecy and vague timelines, Magic Leap currently promises to deliver its headset this year, a revolutionary device that may be this decade’s most anticipated piece of new consumer tech. In contrast to existing AR technologies such as headsets and smartglasses, Magic Leap’s long-awaited headset aims to transform and popularize the technology by implementing its most ambitious iteration yet: projecting digital objects directly onto a user’s retinas rather than in front of the user’s eyes.
By using such a visceral method of projection in addition to advanced lighting technologies, Magic Leap aims to present users with the ability to see and interact with digital content that appears for all intents and purposes to be part of one’s environment, a technology often referred to as “mixed reality.” Magic Leap’s hardware “can inject life-like moving and reactive people, robots, spaceships–anything–into a person’s view of the real world,” according to Rolling Stone, which along with Pitchfork published rave reviews of the technology when allowed to preview Magic Leap’s working headset in 2017.
Thanks in part to its influx of funding, Magic Leap may be able to deliver on its technological aims as well as its 2018 launch target.