Movie studios, media companies and smart money VCs are all investing heavily into AR/VR. We mapped out the startup landscape.
Funding to AR/VR startups reached an all-time high in deals and dollars last year. But with few exciting deals in the past few months and an absence of positive news or apparent progress from stealthy AR headset startup Magic Leap, interest in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology seemed like it could be heading to the “trough of disillusionment.”
More recently, however, the tenor of the discussion has changed. PlayStation said its PSVR, a $400 headset released in October, was on track to sell over 1M units before April (the iPhone 1, for reference, sold 1.4M in its first 3 months and is regarded among the best tech releases ever). It also came to light that Apple allegedly has 1,000 engineers in Israel working on an AR headset.
With AR/VR hype back on the upswing, we used CB Insights data to create a market map of startups in the space, with a new approach that categorizes companies by where they sit in the full tech “stack,” starting from hardware all the way down to distribution.
Note: While some companies may fit into multiple categories and parts of the stack, we mapped companies based on their primary use-case. This market map is not meant to be exhaustive of companies in the space. Click to enlarge.
The category breakdown is as follows:
Hardware / Enablement
Headset Makers—companies developing dedicated headset technology. Magic Leap, with $1.4B in funding, is far and away the most well-funded private company. The company’s headset, still unreleased, employs retinal projection to superimpose images mapped onto the wearer’s surroundings.
Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking—startups working on tracking hardware that is embedded in AR/VR headsets or mobile devices. Companies like Eonite Perception and Occipital make physical sensors, as well as computer vision software that can be embedded in AR/VR rigs (mobile or headset) to track users’ orientation.
Mobile Hardware & Enablement—startups providing head-mounted displays or other technology for mobile AR/VR. Many of these companies, like Merge VR, sell head-mounted displays (HMDs), mobile hardware, or software enablement for AR/VR apps. Wikitude, for example, makes vision software for AR mobile apps.
Video Processing & Engine—image stitching, processing and game engines for VR. Game engines like Unity have vast application outside of AR/VR in gaming, but are increasingly being applied to VR. Graphics company OTOY helps render digital content and has attracted investments from corporates including HBO, Disney and AutoDesk.
Dev Tools—tools that aid the development and computing behind AR/VR applications. Fish Bowl VR provides usability testing, and Sixa, a high-performance cloud computing company, is aiming to make the VR experience wireless (many headsets today require a tether to a high-spec PC rig).
Camera & Capture—companies working on light field video or 360° capture. Lytro is a well-funded startup developing light field capturing cameras for VR content, and EmergentVR focuses on mobile 360° video capture.
Content Platforms—platforms and apps where content is delivered (or indexed). Jaunt, Within, and NextVR are well-funded players in the space. (Also, media corporates are quite active here, and we’ve previously detailed where media companies are investing in AR/VR.)
Social—platforms for shared user experiences. Sequoia Capital and First Round Capital recently backed social platform Against Gravity. And LiveLike allows users to watch sports together in a virtual living room.
Ads—companies dedicated to advertising for the new computing platform. Startups like Vertebrae are working to natively integrate advertising into the VR ecosystem.
Education—startups applying AR/VR to education and academia. Nearpod, for example, uses mobile VR for interactive lessons in classrooms.
Commercial / Retail—enterprise AR/VR is taking off in real estate, furniture, and retail just to name a few. InContext Solutions, for example, helps imagine retail floor plans using VR. And Matterport facilitates real estate viewings using VR captured walk-throughs.
Healthcare—medical training and other medical applications. MindMaze is a well-funded company focused on AR/VR for neuroscience. The company develops HMDs, motion capture, and gesture control technology (for both AR and VR) with the goal of helping rehabilitation after stroke, spinal cord injury, and amputation. Psious uses VR for exposure therapy to overcome phobias.
Heavy Industry—headsets and mobile AR specifically tailored for industrial settings and field service. Daqri and Atheer are well-funded headset makers that focus on enterprise and industrial settings. Others like Scope AR do similar work in field service using mobile and tablets, employing AR to highlight parts on industrial equipment while connected to support experts in real-time.
- Arcades & Experiences—venture-backed companies like Two Bit Circus are putting AR/VR into consumers’ hands via pop-up arcade installations, while Dreamscape Immersive aims to bring VR to the multiplex. Dreamscape Immersive garnered investment from Hollywood mainstays like MGM, 21st Century Fox, IMAX, and Steven Spielberg. In addition, Comcast, the most active media corporate, made a bet on Spaces, which focuses on VR in theme parks.
See the full list of startups below:
|Immersv||CAA Ventures, Foundation Capital, Frontier Tech VC, Technicolor Ventures, Vive X||Ads|
|Omnivirt||Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Larry Braitman, Start Fund, SV Angel and Y Combinator||Ads|
|Dreamscape Immersive||21st Century Fox, Bold Capital Partners, IMAX Corporation, MGM, Steven Spielberg, Warner Bros., Westfield Group||Arcade & Experiences|
|Phantom VR||Hejun Capital, Magical World, TipCat Interactive||Arcade & Experiences|
|Spaces||Boost VC, Canyon Creek Capital, Colopl, Comcast Ventures, Sinovation Ventures, The Venture Reality Fund||Arcade & Experiences|
|Zero Latency||Carthona Capital, Contango Asset Management, Regal Funds Management, Thorney Investment Group||Arcade & Experiences|
|Two Bit Circus||Foundry Group, Intel Capital||Arcade & Experiences|
|The Void||Shanda Group||Arcade & Experiences|
|Virzoom||iTulip||Arcade & Experiences|
|Virtuix||Maveron, Radical Investments, Western Technology Investment||Arcade & Experiences|
|Bubl Technology||J-Tech Capital, Kickstarter, Samsung Ventures||Camera & Capture|
|EmergentVR||Accel Partners, Frontier Tech VC, Google Ventures||Camera & Capture|
|Lucid VR||17 Miles Technology, Indiegogo, LAB360, S2 Capital, TEEC Angel Fund, Wistron||Camera & Capture|
|Pinscreen||Colopl, Lux Capital||Camera & Capture|
|Lytro||Andreessen Horowitz, Allen & Company||Camera & Capture|
|Augment||Salesforce Ventures||Commercial / Retail|
|IrisVR||Azure Capital Partners, Emergence Capital Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Techstars, Valar Ventures||Commercial / Retail|
|Matterport||BoxGroup, Felicis Ventures, Frontier Tech VC, Greylock Partners, Lux Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, Y Combinator||Commercial / Retail|
|SpaceView||Sprint Accelerator||Commercial / Retail|
|Total Immersion||Elaia Partners, Intel Capital, iSource Gestion, KDDI Corporation, Partech Ventures||Commercial / Retail|
|VividWorks||Finnvera, Vendep Startup Fund||Commercial / Retail|
|Blippar||Barclays Bank, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Lansdowne Partners, Qualcomm Ventures||Commercial / Retail|
|InContext Solutions||AMD Ventures, Beringea, Hyde Park Angels, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Plymouth Ventures||Commercial / Retail|
|Archiact Interactive||G-Mei Network Technology||Content & Game Production|
|Baobab Studios||21st Century Fox, Comcast Ventures, Horizons Ventures, HTC, Peter Thiel, Presence Capital, Samsung Ventures||Content & Game Production|
|CCP Games||General Catalyst Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Novator||Content & Game Production|
|Felix & Paul Studios||Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, Comcast Ventures, LDV Partners, PHI Group||Content & Game Production|
|First Contact Entertainment||Undisclosed Investors||Content & Game Production|
|Kite & Lightning||Boost VC, Comcast Ventures, Courtside Ventures, Jason Rosenthal, Outpost Capital, Social Capital, The Raine Group||Content & Game Production|
|Niantic||Alsop-Louie Partners, Cyan Banister, Fuji Media Holdings, Google, Lucas Nealan, Nintendo, Pokemon Company International, Scott Banister, You & Mr. Jones||Content & Game Production|
|Owlchemy Labs||Capital Factory, Colopl, HTC, Qualcomm Ventures, The Venture Reality Fund, Vive X||Content & Game Production|
|Penrose Studios||8 Angel, Suffolk Equity Partners, Sway Ventures, TransLink Capital||Content & Game Production|
|Reload Studios||Barunson E&A, Frontier Tech VC, World Innovation Lab, YK CRCM RS||Content & Game Production|
|Resolution Games||Bonnier Growth Media, Creandum, Google Ventures, Initial Capital, Partech Ventures, Presence Capital||Content & Game Production|
|Survios||Danhua Capital, Dentsu Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Gen Isayama, Lux Capital, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Michael Chang, Shanda Group, Shasta Ventures||Content & Game Production|
|WEVR||Deep Fork Capital, HTC, Joi Ito, Mission Ventures, Palantir Capital, Samsung Ventures||Content & Game Production|
|NeoBear||GGV Capital, Haitong Kaiyuan Investment Co., Liuhe Capital, New Horizon Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Sinolink Securities Co.||Game & Content Production|
|Jaunt||Frontier Tech VC, Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Sky, SV Angel, The Walt Disney Company||Content Platform|
|NextVR||China Assets Holdings, CITIC Guoan, CMC Holdings, Comcast Ventures, Dick Clark Productions, Formation 8, Formation Group, Founder H Fund, Ironfire Ventures, Madison Square Garden, NetEase Capital, Peter Gruber, Peter Guber, RSE Ventures, SoftBank Group, Spectrum 28, Time Warner Investments, VMS Investment Group||Content Platform|
|Sliver.tv||Advancit Capital, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, CAA Ventures, DCM Ventures, Green Pine Capital Partners, Greycroft Partners, GVR Fund, Hollywood Media, Sierra Ventures, Sparkland Capital, The Venture Reality Fund||Content Platform|
|Within||21st Century Fox, Andreessen Horowitz, Annapurna Pictures, Freelands Ventures, Legendary Entertainment, Live Nation Entertainment, The Raine Group, Tribeca Enterprises, Vice Media, WME Ventures||Content Platform|
|SpaceVR||Shanda Group||Content Platform|
|Sketchfab||Balderton Capital, Borealis Ventures, David Cohen, FirstMark Capital, Partech Ventures, Techstars, Techstars Ventures||Content Platform|
|GAUDIO LAB||Capstone Partners (South Korea), Korea Investment Partners, LB Investment, Softbank Ventures Korea||Dev Tools|
|Sixa||Y Combinator, Horizon Capital||Dev Tools|
|InstaVR||The Venture Reality Fund||Dev Tools|
|Fish Bowl VR||ViveX||Dev Tools|
|Nearpod||Krillion Ventures, Reach Capital||Education|
|WaveOptics||Robert Bosch Venture Capital||Headset Makers|
|Lumus||Alibaba Group, Crystal-OpTech, HTC, Jerusalem Global Ventures, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Quanta Computer, Shanda Group||Headset Makers|
|Magic Leap||Alibaba Group, Andreessen Horowitz, Legendary Entertainment, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Vulcan Capital, Warner Bros. Entertainment||Headset Makers|
|Meta||Alexis Ohanian, Comcast Ventures, Danhua Capital, ENIAC Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, Horizons Ventures, VTF Capital, Y Combinator||Headset Makers|
|Osterhout Design Group||21st Century Fox, O-film Tech Co., Vanfund Urban Investment and Development Co.||Headset Makers|
|Psious||Caixa Capital Risc, DreamIt Ventures, Frontier Tech VC, Rothenberg Ventures River Accelerator||Healthcare|
|STRIVR Labs||Advancit Capital, BMW i Ventures, Presence Capital, Signia Venture Partners||Healthcare|
|Surgical Theater||HTC, OurCrowd, Shanghai Creation Investment||Healthcare|
|Vicarious Surgical||Frontier Tech VC, Rothenberg Ventures River Accelerator||Healthcare|
|Marxent Labs||Detroit Venture Partners, Stage 1 Ventures||Industrial|
|Scope AR||IDrive Ventures, New Stack Ventures, Presence Capital, Susa Ventures, Y Combinator||Industrial|
|Human Condition Safety||American International Group||Industrial|
|Upskill||CNF Investments, GE Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Salesforce Ventures, SineWave Ventures, Work-Bench||Industrial|
|Ubimax||Atlantic Bridge Capital||Industrial|
|Atheer||Fang Group, FundersClub, Indiegogo, Lab IX, RONA Holdings, Shanda Group, Signatures Capital, Streamlined Ventures||Industrial|
|AlterGeo||Almaz Capital Partners, Intel Capital||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|ANTVR||Gosuncn Technology Group, Kickstarter, Kunlun Worldwide, Sequoia Capital China||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Baofeng Mojing||Aisidi, CITIC Capital Private Equity, Green Pine Capital Partners, Huayi Brothers, Tian Yin Music||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Merge VR||645 Ventures, Cowtown Angels, Frontier Tech VC, Geekdom Fund, New Ground Ventures||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Metaverse||Loic LeMeur, Michael Eisner, Mike Jones||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Wikitude||Gamma Capital Partners, Konica Minolta, Tecnet Equity||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Wonder||8VC, David Stern||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Remoria VR||Invitalia Ventures, LVenture GroupMobile Hardware & Enablement||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|VR Case||O-film Tech Co, Cowin Capital, China Growth Capital||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Banuba||Larnabel Enterprises and VP Capital||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Zappar||Hargreave Hale||Mobile Hardware & Enablement|
|Actronika||Agoranov, Seventure Partners||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|Eonite Perception||Lightspeed Venture Partners, Presence Capital, Signia Venture Partners||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|Fove||2020 Ventures, Colopl, Kickstarter, Rothenberg Ventures River Accelerator, Samsung Ventures||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|Intersense||Anchor Capital Advisors, Chase H&Q, Claflin Capital, Dominion Ventures, Furneaux & Company, Kodiak Venture Partners, Parthenon Capital Partners, U.S. Department of Defense, Vitec Group plc, Zero Stage Capital||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|Leap Motion||Andreessen Horowitz, Bill Warner, Brian McClendon, Founders Fund, Highland Capital Partners, Max Woon, PROfounders Capital, SOSventures||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|Nod Labs||Atlantic Bridge Capital, Menlo Ventures, Nautilus Venture Partners, Point Guard Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Walden Riverwood Ventures, Walden Venture Capital||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|Occipital||eBay, Foundry Group, Grishin Robotics, Intel Capital, K9 Ventures, Kickstarter, Shea Ventures, Techstars||Position, Eye & Gesture Trackingg|
|uSens||Chalor Capital, Chord Capital, ChuanCheng Fund, Fortune Venture Capital, Fosun Kinzon Capital, Fulcrum Capital Partners, Great Capital, IDG Ventures USA, iResearch Capital, Lebox Capital, Maison Capital, Morningside Ventures, Oriental Fortune Capital, Stone Capital||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|WorldViz||Intel Capital||Position, Eye & Gesture Tracking|
|AltspaceVR||Promus Ventures, Startcaps Ventures, Streamlined Ventures, SV Angel||Social|
|Against Gravity||Sequoia Capital, First Round Capital||Social|
|Fringefy||Super Ventures, Presence Capital||Social|
|LiveLike||Courtside Ventures, David Stern, Dentsu Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures, Evolution Media Partners, Techstars, Techstars Ventures||Social|
|VRChat||Brightstone Venture Capital, Frontier Tech VC, GREE International, GVR Fund, HTC||Social|
|8i||Advancit Capital, Andrew Hendricks, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Boost VC, Horizons Ventures, Inevitable Ventures, Jeremy Stoppelman, John Hendricks, Kevin Wall, RRE Ventures, Samsung Ventures||Video Processing / Engine|
|GIROPTIC||360 Capital Partners, Aloe Blacc, C4 Ventures, Finorpa, HAX, Kickstarter, Oleg Tscheltzoff, Partech Ventures, SOSventures||Video Processing / Engine|
|High Fidelity||Google Ventures, Kapor Capital, Linden Lab, True Ventures, Vulcan Capital||Video Processing / Engine|
|Improbable||Amadeus Capital Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, LocalGlobe||Video Processing / Engine|
|Infinity AR||Alibaba Group, Management Buyout (MBO), Public, SUNCORPORATION||Video Processing / Engine|
|Kudan||Undisclosed Angel Investors||Video Processing / Engine|
|OTOY||Autodesk, Discovery Communications, Disney Accelerator, George Gilder, Home Box Office, John Mack, Liberty Media, Taylor Frigon, Yuri Milner||Video Processing / Engine|
|Pixvana||Madrona Venture Group, Mike Galgon, S. Somasegar, Vulcan Capital||Video Processing / Engine|
|The Future Group||Aker Holding, Ferd Capital, Ross Video||Video Processing / Engine|
|VideoStitch||Alven Capital, Daniel Marhely, Errol Ginsberg, Kima Ventures, Laurent Asscher||Video Processing / Engine|
|Visbit||Amino Capital, Colopl VR Fund | Colopl Next, Eversunny Limited, Presence Capital, ZhenFund||Video Processing / Engine|
|Unity||DFJ Growth||Video Processing / Engine|
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