Chinese augmented reality (AR) startup, Nreal, has reportedly raised $60 million in its latest Series C extension round, bringing up its total raised amount to over $200 million in the past twelve months.
The investment round was led by e-commerce giant Alibaba, hinting at the retailer’s entry into the metaverse sector.
The startup, which produces lightweight AR smart glasses, was founded in 2017 by Chi Xu, who previously worked with American AR startup Magic Leap. It will be using the funding in R&D as well as advancing its ecosystem of content and apps that are compatible with its products for better user adoption.
Even though it is based in Beijing, Nreal has not yet released its glasses in China, but instead in six overseas countries, including South Korea, Japan, and the United States, where it has partnered with local carriers for selling. In ISA, for instance, Nreal partnered with Verizon to sell its mixed reality glasses, Light, which are compatible with 5G Android devices and are relatively affordable at $600.
Now with the fresh injection, the startup will venture into its home market this year.
Nreal’s list of investors includes EV firm Nio, video-sharing app Kuaishou, and video-streaming platform iQIYI, along with institutional investors such as Alibaba-founder Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital, and Sequoia China, and private equity firms CICC Capital, Hillhouse, and CPE.
Although not an investor, wireless tech major Qualcomm supplies Nreal with its Snapdragon processors and is also working closely with it to create a developer ecosystem.
Recently, Nreal launched a new line of ultra-thin smart glasses, Nreal Air, in Japan via online and offline partnerships with the country’s two leading telecom operators, KDDI and NTT DOCOMO. Similar to its predecessor Nreal Light, which sold out within the first day of launch in the US, Nreal Air can be plugged into the smartphone, but are lighter in weight and more comfortable.
Source credit: https://techcrunch.com/2022/03/29/nreal-200-million/