Magic Leap, a stealthy startup building a wearable device to deliver an “augmented-reality” 3D visual computing and entertainment experience, said it has completed a $542 million Series B financing round led by Google with participation from Legendary Entertainment, Qualcomm and other investors.
The financing was led by Google, with participation from Qualcomm Ventures, Legendary Entertainment — including a personal investment from CEO Thomas Tull — KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures and other investors. In February 2014, Magic Leap announced that it had raised $50 million in funding but didn’t identify investors.
“We are looking forward to Magic Leap’s next stage of growth, and to seeing how it will shape the future of visual computing,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps, said in a statement.
The Google-led funding in Magic Leap comes after Facebook acquired virtual-reality headset maker Oculus Rift this summer, in a deal worth $2 billion.
Magic Leap said it will use the funding to accelerate product development, release software development tools, expand its content ecosystem and commercialize its proprietary mobile wearable system. The startup hasn’t fully explained what it’s up to, but has previously said its proprietary human-computing interface technology, dubbed Cinematic Reality, will respond in a “biomimetic” fashion to make interactions more natural and intuitive. Its wearable device will project 3D, full-depth images into a user’s current environment (as opposed to a separate virtual-reality environment).
Richard Taylor, co-founder of VFX company Weta Workshop — best known for its work on the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies for Warner Bros. — and a member of Magic Leap’s board, has called the startup’s technology “a rocket ship for the mind” and “nothing short of remarkable and will forever change the way we interact with images and information.”
“The wearable technology they have developed is revolutionary in its ability to create amazingly immersive and fantastical experiences,” Taylor said in a statement earlier this year. “We are now at the threshold of giving people a dynamic image interface that harmonizes with their senses in a completely natural way. As a storyteller and as a person that loves creating and sharing imaginative worlds, it’s a very exciting time.”
With the funding, Pichai will join Magic Leap’s board of directors. Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm, and Don Harrison, VP of corporate development at Google, will join the board of Magic Leap as observers.
Magic Leap president and CEO Rony Abovitz founded the company in 2011. Previously, he was co-founder and head of development and technology for MAKO Surgical, a developer of human-interactive robotics for orthopedic surgery acquired by Stryker for $1.65 billion in December 2013.
“We are excited and honored to have such an extraordinary group of investors to help us bring our vision and products to the world,” Abovitz said in a statement. “Magic Leap is going beyond the current perception of mobile computing, augmented reality and virtual reality. We are transcending all three, and will revolutionize the way people communicate, purchase, learn, share and play.”
Magic Leap was founded in 2011 by Rony Abovitz and his band of modern wizards. Company is based in Dania Beach, Fla., with offices in Los Angeles; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Mountain View, Calif.; Seattle; Austin, Texas; and New Zealand.
Allen & Co. and Morgan Stanley served as financial advisers to Magic Leap in connection with the funding.