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Disney-Backed VR Startup Jaunt Lays Off Significant Portion of Staff, Refocuses on Augmented Reality

San Mateo, Calif.-based virtual reality startup Jaunt XR is laying off a significant portion of its staff as it shifts its focus to augmented reality, the company announced Monday.

“Today we had to make some difficult decisions in an effort to realign Jaunt for continued success,” the company said in a statement sent to Variety. “We are restructuring the company, resulting in letting go of a significant portion of our staff.”

The company said that it would be focused exclusively on augmented reality and volumetric capture technology. It added in a Medium post that it would wind down most of its existing VR projects and content services in the coming weeks.

“It was a difficult day at Jaunt as we are losing some of the most amazing talent in the industry, each of whom have individually made groundbreaking contributions to the company and the industry as a whole,” the company said in its statement.

The layoffs come about a month after the company announced the departure of its CEO George Kliavkoff, who was replaced by Mitzi Reaugh, the company’s former vice president of global bizdev. Founding CTO Arthur van Hoff updated his Linkedin profile Monday to indicate that he will be leaving the company by the end of the year.

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Jaunt was founded in 2013, and initially focused on the development of VR capture hardware, including the Jaunt One, a $100,000 professional 3D VR camera. Following a $65 million round of funding in 2015 that was led by Disney, the company refocused on becoming more of a production and distribution hub for cinematic virtual reality.

As part of those efforts, Jaunt hired former Kliavkoff, who previously worked as president of Hearst Ventures, to lead the company. Jaunt also opened up its own studio space in Los Angeles to produce cinematic VR. Jaunt raised more than $100 million in funding, with backers including Disney, Evolution Media Partners and China Media Capital (CMC).

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