Viewpoints: June 2021 wrap-up

Welcome to this month’s curated digest of viewpoints, news and investment activity covering areas including XR, the Metaverse and the inevitable shift towards Spatial Computing. If you know of anyone else that would find this investment-focused digest useful then please pass it along!

Dave Haynes & Petri Rajahalme

Viewpoints EP #4 - Towards an Open Metaverse

For our latest episode of Viewpoints, Petri & I spoke to Ryan Gill, the CEO of Crucible and Jamie Burke, founder of Outlier Ventures. We discuss how they define the Metaverse and why they believe it should be both open and decentralized. We also touch upon everything from NFT’s and ‘Direct To Avatar’ to Web 3.0 and Metaverse-first brands. It's a great episode. Take a listen.

Investing Into The Metaverse

Matthew Ball has been one of the most vocal proponents of the Metaverse, calling it a "successor-state to today’s mobile internet, which will involve countless interoperable and persistent virtual worlds, richly integrated into the physical world, creating a new medium and economy for work, leisure, and innovation".

Now he's launched the Metaverse ETF to allow anyone to buy into the Metaverse mega trend through as basket of 50 publicly traded stocks that cover all layers of the Metaverse from compute to virtual engines to hardware -- including Unity, Roblox, Cloudflare, Tencent and Snap.

Fundraising Round-Up

VRChat raises $80m Series D to create its own digital economy and slice of the Metaverse. The round was led by Anthos Capital, alongside Makers Fund, GFR Fund and others.

Physna raises $56m from Tiger Global for 3D geometric search, bridging the gap between the physical and the digital world by codifying 3D models.

Ultraleap raises $50m in Series D funding, led by Tencent, for its haptic and hand-tracking technology widely used by XR headsets.

Multinarity raises $28m to develop mixed reality productivity solutions, but the Israeli startup remains in stealth.

XYZ Reality raises $20m to pioneer an engineering-grade AR helmet that projects detailed holograms of 3D building schematics in front of your eyes.

VividQ raises $15m to turn normal screens into holographic displays. The round was led by the venture investment arm for the University of Tokyo.

Virti raises $10m to develop its training platform to teach soft skills in VR. The Series A was led by IQ Capital and joined by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Tripp raises $11m to scale their VR meditation app. The round was led by Vine Ventures and Mayfield with participation from Integrated.

Obsess raises $10m to build out its virtual commerce tools and platform for fashion and beauty brands.

JigSpace raises $4.7m to expand their AR tutorial technology. Wth 4m+ users JigSpace was among the first to support ARKit and LiDAR for iPhone.

VR Education raises $9m from Octopus Ventures to fund growth and build its own professional metaverse, becoming “the Linkedin of VR”.

XRHealth raises $9m to expand sales and marketing initiatives to bring VR/AR therapy to patients throughout the U.S and Israel.

Pixieray raises $4.4m for glasses that adapt to what you're looking at on the fly. Investors included, Firstminute, David Helgasson and Ilkka Paananen.

Fast Travel Games raises $4m in a round led by Brightly Ventures. The team behind several hit VR games willl capitalize on the growth of the gaming market expecting to double its revenue again this year.

Other companies raising this past month include The Last Gameboard, Moth+Flame, Igloo Vision, ViveStudios, Raythink, Everseen

Exits and M&A

Unity acquires 3D data firm Pixyz Software. With Pixyz’s portfolio of products, creators in many industries can import 3D data into Unity and optimize any model for real-time 3D development.

Facebook acquires another VR gaming studio in BigBox VR. The studio is behind the popular VR battle royale POPULATION: ONE which launched just last year on PC VR and Quest, and has consistently ranked among Quest’s most popular titles.

Shopify acquires team from AR home design app Primer. The company makes an app that lets users visualize what tile, wallpaper or paint will look like on surfaces inside their home.

Verizon acquires precise positioning company Senion. Verizon can now offer customers additional precise positioning capabilities like indoor wayfinding, geofencing and location sharing.

Inpixon acquires Visualix for its AR, computer vision, localization, navigation, mapping and 3D reconstruction technologies.

Varjo acquires VR AEC collaboration platform Dimension10 as it announces the Varjo 'Reality Cloud'

Discord acquires AR cloud startup Ubiquity6.

NextNav will go public in a SPAC at $1.2bn value as it continues to expand usage of its 3D geolocation technology

Quick Links

Before we sign off for this month, here’s a few extra data points, news and opinion pieces we thought were worth a read:

  • Unity CEO predicts AR/VR headsets will be as common as game consoles.

  • Fascinating read on the premium eyewear industry and smartglasses

  • A new Lego AR app scans your bricks and tells you what to build!

  • This cartoon Snapchat lens was used by over 215m users with over 1.7bn views

  • Apple's announcements at WWDC show AR is still its ‘next big thing’

That’s all for now. Have a great July and please do send us your feedback, comments or interesting new startups in this space!