High-flying augmented reality startup Magic Leap is trying to raise $500 million at a $6 billion valuation, according to a report in Bloomberg.
The Florida startup has already raised $1.3 billion to fund its AR glasses, which have been the subject of much speculation because they can reportedly create animations over the real world that are of a very high quality. Magic Leap has been working on its wearable device for years, and it appears it needs more money.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported that Temasek Holdings, an investment company owned in part by the Singapore government, is considering taking part in the new financing round. If true, it’s another sign that Asian investment companies are interested in acquiring Western technologies in the AR, virtual reality, and gaming markets. We’ve asked Magic Leap for comment and haven’t heard anything.
Magic Leap has already drawn investments from Alibaba Group Holding, Qualcomm, and Google. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is on Magic Leap’s board. The previous round reportedly valued the company at $4.5 billion.
Bloomberg said that the latest investment round hasn’t closed, and that Magic Leap hopes to ship a device in the next six months. That headset will reportedly cost $1,500 to $2,000. The first device would be bigger than a pair of glasses and smaller than VR headsets such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift. On top of that, Magic Leap’s device would require users to carry a puck-like device that would provide processing and information to the glasses.
Magic Leap has raised a lot of money for AR since 2014 — more money than just about every other AR company combined. But the tech company started getting negative news in the publications such as The Information in December 2016, when doubts rose about whether Magic Leap could pull off its ambitious project. The task is huge because Magic Leap, which has more than 1,000 employees, has to make its own hardware, software, and initial content. The company is reportedly using a type of light-field technology to superimpose 3D imagery on the real world.
Magic Leap’s large financing needs and the long gestation of its product are due, in part, to its ambitious goal: Developing its own hardware and software along with costly electronic components required for the device. Magic Leap is being closely watched by just about everybody in games because of its potential to create a new gaming platform.