Category Archives: Virtual reality

Harry Potter, the Platform, and the Future of Niantic

What is Niantic? If they recognize the name, most people would rightly tell you it’s a company that makes mobile games, like Pokémon GO, or Ingress, or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. But no one at Niantic really seems to box it up as a mobile gaming company. Making these games is a big part of what the company does, yes, but the games are part of a bigger picture: they are a springboard, a place to figure out the constraints of what they can do with augmented […]

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The definitive Niantic reading guide

In just a few years, Niantic has evolved from internal side project into an independent industry trailblazer. Having reached tremendous scale in such a short period of time, Niantic acts as a poignant crash course for founders and company builders. As our EC-1 deep-dive into the company shows, lessons from the team’s experience building the Niantic’s product offering remain just as fresh as painful flashbacks to the problems encountered along the way. As we did for our Patreon EC-1, we’ve poured through every analysis we could find […]

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Talking the future of media with Northzone’s Pär-Jörgen Pärson

We live in the subscription streaming era of media. Across film, TV, music, and audiobooks, subscription streaming platforms now shape the market. Gaming and podcasting could be next. Where are the startup opportunities in this shift, and in the next shift that will occur? I sat down with Pär-Jörgen “PJ” Pärson, a partner at European venture firm Northzone, to discuss this at SLUSH this past winter. Pärson – a Swede who now runs Northzone’s office in NYC – led the top early-stage investor in Spotify and led […]

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Alibaba acquires Israeli VR startup Infinity Augmented Reality

Infinity Augmented Reality, an Israeli virtual reality startup, has been acquired by Alibaba, the companies announced this weekend. The deal’s terms were not disclosed. Alibaba and InfinityAR have had a strategic partnership since 2016, when Alibaba Group led InfinityAR’s Series C. Since then, the two have collaborated on augmented reality, computer vision and artificial intelligence projects. Founded in 2013, the startup’s augmented glasses platform enables developers in a wide range of industries (retail, gaming, medical, etc.) to integrate AR into their apps. InfinityAR’s products include software for […]

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Epic Games buys 3Lateral, maker of super-realistic ‘digital humans’

Epic Games announced this morning that they’ve acquired Serbia-based 3Lateral, a game studio focused on designing more realistic computer-generated human characters. The team of 60+ will be continuing their work with existing partners and maintaining their presence in Serbia. 3Lateral founder Vladimir Mastilovic will lead Epic Games’ worldwide digital humans efforts, the company says. No details on a price or specific deal terms were given. The non-digital human team behind 3Lateral Epic Games, which operates Fortnite as well as the Unreal Engine game development platform, has worked with […]

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The 10 largest US venture rounds of 2018

Three U.S. companies raised more than $1 billion in just one funding round in 2018, a year in which total deal value for U.S. startups is expected to surpass $100 billion for the first time. For the most part, it was the usual suspects, and yes, SoftBank was an accessory in many of these rounds. Here’s a look at the 10 largest venture rounds of 2018. Epic Games: $1.25 billion The video game Fortnite Battle Royale was the star of the year 2018; more than 200 million players […]

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Can the startup building a Fortnite for VR become the Fortnite of VR?

Virtual reality hasn’t proven itself to be the lucrative escape of the every-man, but the medium has done a fairly good job enticing the gaming community and keeping that niche (mostly) happy. While a couple of big titles have gotten some halfway-decent ports to VR, for the most part VR users are confined to whatever indies can build or whatever Oculus can fund. BigBox VR has been trying to capture attention in the space by not building solo adventures that lead users to find themselves, but instead […]

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Virtual reality makes food taste better

In another example of VR bleeding into real life, Cornell University food scientists found that cheese eaten in pleasant VR surroundings tasted better than the same cheese eaten in a drab sensory booth. About 50 panelists who used virtual reality headsets as they ate were given three identical samples of blue cheese. The study participants were virtually placed in a standard sensory booth, a pleasant park bench and the Cornell cow barn to see custom-recorded 360-degree videos. The panelists were unaware that the cheese samples were identical, […]

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Pico nabs $24.7M to create VR hardware that challenges Facebook, Google

While there aren’t many VR hardware startups raising cash out there these days, there are far fewer that are securing investments to actually build the VR headsets themselves. Even as established tech giants are having a rough go-ahead with the headset market, Beijing-based Pico Interactive is looking to give it a go with a focus on standalone VR headset hardware that can keep up with the innovations of larger firms. Pico has closed a $24.7 million Series A led by GF Qianhe and GF Xinde Investment, with participation from […]

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Supermedium scores $1.1M in seed funding for its web-first vision for virtual reality

The world of VR has had its ups and downs, and yet there’s still plenty of activity from the world’s largest technology companies to build platforms that ultimately define the medium. Supermedium, a recent Y Combinator graduate, wants a more open future for virtual reality, one that’s built on the web. The company launched earlier this year and now it’s raising some seed funding as it looks to keep things moving along. The company just raised $1.1 million in seed funding from Y Combinator, General Catalyst, Boost […]

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