Confirming a previous Variety report, a new company called Meta View announced Tuesday that it has acquired the intellectual property assets of failed augmented reality (AR) startup Meta. Meta View won’t be selling Meta’s AR headset anymore, but said that it would continue to support existing users of the device.
Meta View is being led by CEO Jay Wright, who previously served as president and general manager of Vuforia, Qualcomm’s augmented reality division. The company acquired patents and trademarks from Meta’s lender earlier this year after the startup had run out of funding.
The deal was brokered and financially backed by Olive Tree Ventures and BSGN Capital, two of Meta’s early-stage investors. Variety was first to report in February that Olive Tree was involved in the purchase of Meta’s trademarks.
“We remain extremely bullish on the potential for spatial computing,” said Olive Tree Ventures general partner Mayer Gniwisch in a statement released Tuesday. “Our belief was so strong that we did a somewhat non-traditional VC deal to acquire the assets, start a new company and find a new CEO with a vision and focus we believed in.”
“The potential for spatial computing is intoxicating,” added Wright. “It has fostered a highly competitive and dynamic landscape that I’ve traversed for more than a decade. This experience and insight have equipped me to identify a different approach, and I couldn’t be more excited to build a
new company, a new product, and a world-class team to drive it forward.”
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The official announcement of the new company is the latest part of a turbulent saga around Meta and its AR headset. Founded in late 2012, Meta aimed to compete with heavily-funded Magic Leap as well as industry giant Microsoft to build a mass market for AR headsets.
But while the company and its CEO were good at marketing their vision, Meta struggled to sell more than a few thousand devices, and ran out of funding in 2018. The company first furloughed most of its staff in September, then laid almost everyone off in December. The company’s CEO still tried to secure additional funding, but one of Meta’s lenders ultimately pulled the loan, freeing the way for Olive Tree to purchase its assets.
Meta View has since hired over a dozen former Meta staffers, and maintains offices in both San Mateo, Calif. and Tel Aviv, according to a spokesperson, who said that the company was actively looking to hire additional staffers.
It’s still unclear what exactly Meta View aims to do with Meta’s assets. The company’s spokesperson told Variety that it was going to be “focused on a complete hardware and software solution for a specific use case,” but wouldn’t elaborate further. In it’s release, Meta View simply said that it had hired Wright as CEO to inject “fresh focus and experienced leadership to chart the new company on a new course.”