Blue Vision Labs takes in $14.5 mln Series A in GV-led round


Blue Vision Labs, a collaborative augmented reality company, has secured $14.5 million in Series A funding. GV led the round with participation from other investors that included Accel, Horizons Ventures and SV Angel.

PRESS RELEASE

London, UK (15th March 2018) — Blue Vision Labs, a collaborative Augmented Reality (AR) company, today announces that it has emerged from stealth and raised $14.5 million in Series A funding led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from existing investors Accel, Horizons Ventures, SV Angel and others. To date, the company has raised $17 million, following an earlier seed investment.

AR has reached hundreds of millions of people via mobile AR applications, but its potential so far has been limited. Current AR apps enable only single-user experiences, in which one user can interact with AR content on their phone or headset, but multiple users cannot interact and share the same AR experience together. This is because the connecting component – a shared AR cloud – has been missing.

Blue Vision Labs has developed cloud-based computer vision technology that overcomes this fundamental limitation, and in doing so has become the first company ever to enable shared AR experiences that show multiple users the same thing across their devices. By providing self-updating 3D maps of entire cities, the system can pinpoint a phone’s position with centimetre accuracy based only on the visual information from its camera. This technology allows developers to create city-scale, shared and persistent AR experiences for the very first time.

Developers can now download the easy-to-use Software Development Kit (SDK) for iOS and Android and build previously impossible multi-user AR experiences. Users can interact with each other in AR, store and overlay AR content on top of the physical world around them, show AR navigation arrows leading them to their destination, place digital AR comments, pictures, or video for others to see, and build shared and collaborative AR games. What’s more, since this new grade of technology is available on existing smartphones, it can be experienced at larger scale and lower cost than by using a dedicated AR headset.

This new technology has potential beyond AR. Blue Vision Labs’ always-updated maps serve as a digital copy of the real world which could be used to make robots and self-driving cars safer, more capable, and faster to bring to market.

Initially conceived in 2011 by Peter Ondruska, Lukas Platinsky, Hugo Grimmett, Andrej Pancik and Bryan Baum, Blue Vision Labs was formed out of Oxford, England. Its founders looked to enable the creation of city-scale collaborative AR experiences. In the past two years, the team has grown from five to 25, with team members comprising top AR academics, industry experts, and accomplished entrepreneurs and engineers. Two of the founders sold their last company for over $100 million. The now London-based company is starting to offer an early-access program to developers looking to build AR experiences in a number of cities including London, San Francisco and New York City, with the service expanding to new areas later this year.

Peter Ondruska, CEO and co-founder of Blue Vision Labs, said:
“The ability to create shared, persistent AR applications has long been the missing piece in an industry that’s estimated to be worth $83bn by 2021*. The concept for Blue Vision has been seven years in the making, and our launch is a pivotal moment for the future of augmented reality. We’re only just scratching the surface of what our technology could bring to countless industries and sectors, from gaming to self-driving car navigation, and today’s investment brings us closer to realising that potential.”

Blue Vision Labs will be using today’s investment for hiring, product development, and expansion. The company is actively recruiting engineers, researchers, and product experts, as well as building out its field operation teams in cities around the world.

As part of the investment, Tom Hulme, General Partner at GV, will be joining the board. He said:
“We are excited to invest in one of the best technical teams in London; a team that has a working product that can localise, persist and share in real time with a single smartphone lens. We look forward to seeing all of the new applications in augmented reality and autonomous vehicles that this unlocks.“