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The Augmented Reality Investment Leader of 2018 «Next Reality



People say that money gets the world moving. And in the world of augmented reality, that's no different.

If there is any doubt about the future of the AR industry, it does not seem that many venture capitalists or corporate investors share these doubts. According to Digi-Capital, investors have set a record $ 3.6 billion in the last 1

2 months by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

In 2017, the top 10 investment rounds in AR companies, including component manufacturers, development software platforms, app developers and headset makers totaled $ 1.8 billion. Magic Leap alone has accumulated more than $ 2 billion in its short history so far.

So this whole investment activity guarantees that the AR market will be a success? Well, wait. Let's not forget the notorious outbreak of the dotcom bubble of the early 2000s. However, the AR industry is slightly different than usual.

Investors are looking for ways to give them the best chance of a return. To this end, the corporate sector is the clearest path to AR revenue as companies are already prepared to buy expensive smart glasses that avoid a smooth aesthetic in favor of efficiency improvements between different job functions.

Investors of the NR30 are not only delivering the financial fuel that drives the augmented reality industry, but also paving the way for the business world to support a historic paradigm shift.

And while AR wearables have not yet gained a foothold on the consumer side, mobile AR also has its use cases, especially for marketing (an indirect revenue generator).

In addition, the resounding success of Pokémon GO is a beacon to developers and investors alike for financial success over AR games. Meanwhile, companies offering software tools for developing AR applications are in high demand.

Overall, investors in the NR30 not only provide the financial fuel for the augmented reality industry. They also sow the business world with the underlying framework to support a historical paradigm shift that can be greater than any technology before it. These early AR investors know that the time to invest is now before the new AR reality becomes widely visible to the rest of the investor community.

The industry does not exist without investors. These are the financiers who show the way.

Bob Iger – Disney

Augmented reality is not what Bob Iger (pictured above) made famous. His role as chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, arguably the most iconic media company in the world, places Augmented Reality in a strong position for mainstream use.

Iger is a graduate of Ithaca College's most powerful CEOs in business. Much of his legend is tied to his ability to navigate Disney's old-school brand through the modern waters of 21st-century digital media, keeping Disney's historic reputation as one of the most admired and respected companies in the US.

Under his leadership, Disney acquired Lucasfilm, Pixar and Marvel, amassing one of the most impressive content portfolios among media companies. The company's content and distribution universe will grow even stronger with the recent $ 71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

When it comes to making all of this intellectual property more immersive, Iger has preferred augmented reality to virtual reality when it comes to the company's theme parks. In addition, Iger has been a member of Apple's Board of Directors since 2011, where Apple CEO Tim Cook also repeatedly emphasizes that he prefers AR over to VR. Therefore, Iger's preference for AR is probably no coincidence.

Many Disney houses have already made their first Augmented Reality games on various platforms, but perhaps the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges made by Lenovo is the most visible headphone, lightsaber fights and holochess in the Jedi's living rooms. Brings hope. A similar product for Marvel's Avengers is also available.

If you see your favorite characters from Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney in Augmented Reality, you owe Iger.

These early investments in AR by Iger Aren are not usually included in well-fetched tech lists of funding rounds for AR startups, but the massive exposure to the technology will ultimately be just as, if not more, than 100 -AR startups pave the way for mainstream adoption. With revenue of approximately $ 55 billion in 2017, Disney is the 800-pound gorilla of entertainment that can move entire industries in one direction or another. With Igers bet firmly set on AR, it's only a matter of time before the rest of the industry comes in line and moves on.

Tipatat Chennavasin – The Venture Reality Fund

Complementary and Co-Founder of The Venture Reality Fund, Tipatat Chennavasin's contribution to the Augmented Reality industry, comes through funding specifically for critical early-stage finance that helps startups bring their ideas to the forefront can lead the way. The company started its activities by launching a $ 50 million fund in 2016.

Image of AWE / YouTube

Chennavasin knows the transformative power of immersive first-hand computers, credits virtual reality for healing his vertigo. Therefore, his company focuses specifically on the financing of augmented and virtual reality startups. He also advises startups through incubators and accelerators. He was co-founder of River, the first VR-focused accelerator program.

Companies in its portfolio include 8th Wall, a platform manufacturer that enables developers to extend the capabilities of ARKit and ARCore to unsupported devices. The company has raised $ 10.4 million over two rounds, with Chennavasin's company participating in both. Another financed company, the VR advertising agency Immersv, is ready to expand its platform to AR. In recent months, the Venture Reality Fund has also invested in PLNAR (an AR meter), Virtualitics (augmented reality data visualizations) and Facemoji (camera-driven avatars for live game streaming and video chat).

Over Over the last few years, Chennavasin has also established himself as an expert in the field of immersive computing, often talking with the audience about how it is changing the technology landscape. Another part of his arsenal is used in the Industry Landscape Database of the Venture Reality Fund, where he and his company are tracking companies that develop or otherwise use AR technology in their companies.

Chennavasin earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University, where he studied human-computer interaction. Later, he applied his knowledge to Rockyou, Reactrix, Penguin Computing, and AGCM Research before founding game developer Big Head Mode.

Last year, the company expanded its international reach and received new funding from HP Tech Ventures Yahoo Japan developed to promote the adoption of AR and VR technologies.

Tom Emrich – Super Ventures

It would be hard to argue that someone does more for the Augmented Reality community than Tom Emrich.

Image of AWE / YouTube

Emrich is founding partner of Super Ventures, the first fund for augmented reality. In addition, Emrich is an active investor in general tech start-ups in various categories and has been a mentor to the Techstars Toronto Accelerator, Orange Fab and Chinaccelerator.

His most visible role is co-producing the Augmented World Expo, an augmented reality conference that takes place annually in Silicon Valley, Germany, China and Israel. In its ninth year, AWE attracted more than 6,000 attendees, 400 speakers and 250 exhibitors for the 2018 edition in Santa Clara.

AWE also hosts AWE Nites, a series of monthly meetings of AR enthusiasts, with chapters established in Toronto, New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Overall, AWE has a network of more than 250,000 professionals worldwide. In 2018, We Are Wearables, the tech community founded by Emrich in 2013, was acquired by AWE

Emrich holds a bachelor's degree in English Studies from the University of Waterloo, augmented by disseminating reality and virtual reality through the media and social media. He has appeared as a speaker at TEDx, SXSW and TechCrunch Disrupt, and he also served as an expert source for technology pieces for The New York Times The Huffington Post CNN, and the BBC, among others.

We talked to Emrich about his views on the past and the future of AR. Below are his easily edited answers.

What is your favorite movie about the future of AR or VR?

I would say Blade Runner 2049 mainly because I found it refreshing that the film had no apparent focus on glasses (outside a VR and drone scene), but instead showed a future that was mainly through Projection of augmented reality was made possible. I love this idea of ​​a world full of holograms, though I'm still scratching at ("SPOILER ALERT") the "magic device" that allowed Joi the hologram to live out of the reach of a projector.

When was the moment you knew AR was the future?

It was definite when I became one of 10 Google Glass Explorers in Canada in 2013, which I wore for almost two years. One of the biggest reasons why I can not wait for top-heavy AR is to help me remember things – especially faces. While Google banned face recognition for Glass, there was a great app called Refresh that was linked to your social networks and your calendar, offering dossiers about people before the meeting to make you look like a superstar. Getting relevant, timely information on an equal footing to help me get over small talk and get straight to a more meaningful conversation was just one of many special moments with Glass that convinced me that this was the future.

What is the best? important thing that happened in AR in the last 12 months?

It is definitely the unanimous decision of all technology giants that AR is the next groundbreaking wave of computers demonstrated by the introduction of developer tools that will equip this critical group to start developing AR solutions for a device today that is already in everyone's hands – the smartphone. Of course, I'm talking about ARKit from Apple and Google's ARCore, as well as developer solutions from Facebook, Snap, Amazon, Adobe, Unity and more. Not to mention a few killer startups who have developed tools to create, analyze and monetize AR content.

Peter Rojas – Betaways Ventures

Like many of the leading players in the relatively new crypto and blockchain space, Peter Rojas comes to the AR startup world against an unlikely backdrop: media. John Rojas, known as co-founder and first editor of Gizmodo in 2002 (the beginning of the blog era), was later co-founder and editor Engadget as well as several other content-oriented media sites before joining 2013 came to AOL as Vice President of Strategy.

Picture of Euan Rannachan / Mobile AR Summit

Today, Rojas is a Partner at Betaworks Ventures (an investor in Giphy, Product Hunting, Medium, Kickstarter, Tumblr and others), where he devotes much of his focus to AR start-ups.

Earlier this year, Betaworks launched Ventures Visioncamp, a startup accelerator event focused on financing new businesses and ideas with augmented reality, computer vision, and camera-first products and services. The company's most recent AR investments include 8th Wall, Camera IQ and Streem.

Although Rojas and the Betaworks Ventures team have not yet achieved any significant AR breakout success, the first few days are in the air. The kind of start-up and community-building investment they are promoting will be critical to driving the future of AR not just from key players (Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others), but from a dynamic one The ecosystem of the smaller AR start-ups is building things larger companies have not yet considered.

Rojas, with the early demand to help blogs transcend commercial media, has already made part of the tech world one once thought co-founded a permanent niche category, only for hobbyists. Now he is embarking on a similar mission by identifying and supporting the AR startups that will shape the future of computing for the decades to come.

We asked Rojas about his inspiration for entering a new technology area on AR. Below are his easily edited answers.

The moment you knew that AR is the future?

Does the HoloChess scene in count Star Wars as AR? When I saw this as a kid, it showed me how we can use technology to improve and transform the world around us.

What do you like most about currently available AR hardware or software?

I'm Realistic As difficult as it is to build AR hardware, although it's tempting to complain about things like the tight FOV on headsets like the HoloLens, in fact it's the industry that is making progress and we will eventually come to where we want to be. It is like complaining in 2007 that the pixel density on smartphone screens is too low. I have to be patient

On the other hand, I was disappointed that we did not experiment with mobile AR games and apps. We have this all-new spatial dimension we play with, and most developers do not use it to explore what new types of user experience can be created. I know it will take time – it also took time on my mobile – but I would like to see more risk taking here.

If you did the entire NR30 list, who would you add?

Allison Wood of Camera IQ.

What is the most important thing that has happened in AR in the last 12 months?

The launch of ARKit with iOS 11.

Adario Strange and Tommy Palladino contributed to this report] Do not miss: NR30 – 30 People of the Next Reality Will Be Featured in Augmented Reality in 2018 [19659065] Cover Picture with Next Reality and Disney


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