Deep technology company VividQ, a leading software and IP developer for holography, has announced a seed extension round of £11 million.
The Cambridge-headquartered business’s computer-generated holography is used in the development of next-generation digital displays and devices by manufacturers in the US, China and Japan.
The company will double its current workforce of 36 by 2023, hiring across its engineering, product, and customer support teams, and will scale its operations in the APAC region and in the US.
The latest investment was led by UTokyo IPC, the venture investment arm for the University of Tokyo, joined by Foresight Williams Technology, a joint collaboration between Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering, Japanese Miyako Capital, Austrian APEX Ventures, and Silicon Valley’s R42 Group.
Previous investors University of Tokyo Edge Capital, Sure Valley Ventures and Essex Innovation also participated, with the firm having raised more than £17m in funding to date.
It will be used to scale the team, expand in APAC and further product development, including HoloLCD, which turns consumer-grade screens into holographic displays.
Founded in 2017, VividQ has made cutting-edge developments that achieve real-time Computer-Generated Holography and address many failings of 3D displays and today’s AR devices.
The company collaborates with key providers to bring this technology to everyday applications. VividQ has already worked with Arm, demonstrating mobile holographic display for the first time, and other partners include Compound Photonics, Himax Technologies, and iView Displays.
“Scenes we know from films, from Iron Man to Star Trek, are becoming closer to reality than ever,” said CEO and co-founder Darran Milne.
“At VividQ, we are on a mission to bring holographic displays to the world for the first time.
“Our solutions help bring innovative display products to the automotive industry, improve AR experiences, and soon will change how we interact with personal devices, such as laptops and mobiles.
“Our team has taken the technology that used to require immense amounts of computing power and found solutions to implement Computer-Generated Holography across consumer electronics.
“This new investment allows us to complete the next, critical phase of implementation projects and supports further innovation efforts to bring holography to new display applications.
“We’re incredibly excited to see what’s next with our customers.”
The funding round will further advance the adoption of VividQ’s solutions for Computer-Generated Holography, across three applications. The first is an Automotive HUD, developed in collaboration with partners, with the first target customers in the Chinese market.
This holographic HUD powered by VividQ will be ready to go to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) early next year.
Secondly, VividQ is working to improve experiences offered by head-mounted displays (HMDs) and smart glasses. Acceptance of AR wearables has been limited by the bulkiness of devices and eyestrain. These issues are resolved by VividQ’s Computer-Generated Holography that projects actual 3D images with true depth of field, making displays more natural and immersive for users.
This is a critical advance in the path to AR mass adoption. In 2020, the company was awarded a Smart Grant from Innovate UK for the development of the HMD system which showcases VividQ’s solutions in a holographic display, for an enhanced AR visual experience.
Finally, during 2020, the company discovered a way to turn LCD screens into holographic displays, meaning digital screens, from in-vehicle displays to gaming laptops and television, will provide interactive 3D holographic projections mid-air. This funding will be used to support the prototyping of HoloLCD systems.
Speaking on behalf of Foresight Williams Technology, Chris Willes of Foresight said: “It’s very rare that we come across an entrepreneurial team which has the technical and commercial skillset to truly revolutionise a global industry.
“We look forward to leveraging the full capabilities of Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering to help the VividQ team on the next stage of their development.”
Hermann Hauser, APEX Ventures’ advisor and co-founder of Arm, added: “Computer-Generated Holography recreates immersive projections that possess the same 3D information as the world around us.
“VividQ has the potential to change how humans interact with digital information.”