Magic Leap boosts Q1 AR/VR funding

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Augmented and virtual reality keeps on attracting vast sums of funding. $1.1 billion went to companies working on VR and AR solutions in the first quarter of this year, according to industry analyst CB Insights. In Q1’16 the biggest funding amount went to Florida-based AR company Magic Leap - a massive $793 million. This dwarfs the $100 raised by MindMaze, which brought the Switzerland-based company to unicorn status. Other notable AR/VR deals in Q1'16 involved mobile-based AR app Blippar and VR headset maker Baofeng Mojing.

In the first quarter of 2015 the VR/AV industry saw 35 funding deals to the value of $158 million compared to this year’s $1. 1 billion in 41 deals. The two outstanding quarters (Q14’4 and Q1’16) were both thanks to massive investments in Magic Leap. In 2014 Magic Leap raised $542 in a Series B round and this year its Series C round delivered an unprecedented $793 million, bringing the company’s total funding to nearly $1.4 billion. This is remarkable for a company that has been stealth mode for a long time.

In 2015 other large deals include Jaunt’s $65 million Series C, ANTVR’s $46 million Series B and the Movidius $40 million Series E.

The huge Magic Leap funding round in February means the overall AR/VR funding in Q1’16 grew 347% quarter-over-quarter even while deals dropped from 46 to 41. Other notable AR/VR funding deals were $54 million Series D raised by Blippar and the $34 million Series B raised by Baofeng Mojing.

With more than 20% of AR/VR funding going towards companies focused on content, more and more media companies are investing in VR as the next content delivery platform, reports CB Insights. Media players and their venture arms that have invested in AR/VR recently include: • Comcast Ventures • Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments • Legendary • Warner Bros. • Time Warner Investments • Axel Springer • Bonnier Growth Media • A&E Television Networks • The Walt Disney Company