AR wearables pioneer bags £20m for global expansion
Augmented reality firm WaveOptics has raised £20 million from existing backers and new investors.
The company, which has UK offices in Oxfordshire and East Sussex, designs and manufactures diffractive waveguides, the key optical component in wearable augmented reality (AR) devices.
The firm’s technology is designed to be used for immersive AR experiences in industrial, enterprise and consumer markets.
The round was led by Octopus Ventures and supported by other backers including IP Group, Robert Bosch Venture Capital and Gobi Partners, as well as new investors Goertek and Optimas Capital Partners.
“We have made excellent progress over the last year with our high performing, manufacturable, and versatile waveguides,” said CEO David Hayes.
“We are now working with a wide range of leading global OEMs and ODMs as they ramp up the development of their products.”
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The investment comes just two weeks after WaveOptics and Google supplier Goertek, which manufactures high-tech consumer electronics, agreed an exclusive manufacturing partnership.
The money raised will be used to scale up the business operations on a national and international basis.
WaveOptics is building a large volume manufacturing supply chain to meet customer demand from Asia and US markets. The business is also investing in its overseas infrastructure, having recently opened offices in Los Angeles and Taipei and plans to open a new office in Beijing in 2019.
Hayes added: “These additional funds will enable us to scale up rapidly around the world, particularly in Asia and the US.
“This will include our ability to manage and support an increasing number of customers across different sectors. The market is gathering pace with AR wearables expected to become available in volume by the end of 2019.
“Securing Goertek as a shareholder is a key strategic development for us and a major endorsement of our technology. Their global market position will significantly expand our reach.”
WaveOptics expects to secure further funding in the coming months and is currently in “advanced discussions” with potential new shareholders.
Simon King, principal at Octopus Ventures, said: “We are delighted to have led the first stage of this funding round, backing the fantastic team at WaveOptics as we believe the business is on track to become a leading UK-headquartered global tech business.
“WaveOptics has now established its position as the key optical technology provider to its global customers and partners. They are unique in their ability to build AR hardware solutions at scale to address the numerous opportunities in the emerging AR ecosystem.”