Why is Virtual Reality hot for Venture Capitalists?

Why are Venture Capitalists (VC) bullish and heavily investing in Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies? We can easily wind-up discussing this with just one case: we have all ‘heard’ of the Magic Leap that raised a staggering amount nearing $1.4 billion from some of the world’s biggest companies and well known venture firms. What is this technology? Why is its product in beta nowhere to be seen? The Wired Magazine called them ‘The World’s Most Secretive Start-Up’ in ‘The Untold Story of Magic Leap’. We can hardly guess the valuation of the company which is still doing R&D for their first product, launch of which, as some critics claim, is nowhere near. But the valuation is leading to a staggering $4.5 billion at the least.

The main issue is the valuation of what the product is. While little is known, most critics and experts are betting on an AR tech wearable that the company is building. On the other hand, in this dry global economic scenario, money is pouring into their Florida office. What is it that makes it so worth in the eyes of investors? Google was one of the first to invest, followed by Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, and others.

This astounding sum is especially noteworthy because Magic Leap has not released a beta version of its product even to the developers. Aside from potential investors and advisers, few people have been allowed to see the gear in action, and the combination of funding and mystery has fuelled rampant curiosity. But to really understand what’s happening at Magic Leap, you need to also understand the tidal wave surging through the entire tech industry. All the major players—Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung—have whole groups dedicated to artificial reality, and they’re hiring more engineers daily. Facebook alone has over 400 people working on VR. Then there are some 230 other companies, such as Meta, the Void, Atheer, Lytro, and 8i working furiously on hardware and content for this new platform. To fully appreciate Magic Leap’s gravitational pull, you really must see this emerging industry—every virtual-reality and mixed-reality headset, every VR camera technique, all the novel VR applications, beta-version VR games, every prototype VR social world. (Source: www.wired.com)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Suneel Sharma (Director-Virtual Reality Program)

Dr. Suneel Sharma is a tech entrepreneurial spirit and educationist, after gaining a rich professional experience of over 20 years in multinationals and Indian top universities. Known for his visionary thinking, strategic insights and execution capabilities, Dr. Suneel earned many awards and recognition. He was nominated for Board of Directors (OAUG) at Oracle. He is educated in Engineering, Humanities, Science, Education, and Business Administration from BITS-Pilani, IIM-Bangalore, Stanford University and Lancaster University. He obtained Glider’s Pilot License and medals in swimming during his college days.


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