Google Ventures invests in London AR start-up
A London start-up which has developed technology that allows multiple users to share the same augmented reality (AR) experiences has raised $14.5m in a funding round led by GV, formerly Google Ventures.
Blue Vision Labs was initially conceived in 2011 by Peter Ondruska, Lukas Platinsky, Hugo Grimmett, Andrej Pancik and Bryan Baum and was formed out of Oxford.
AR has reached hundreds of millions of people through mobile applications, but the start-up argues that its potential so far has been limited.
Current AR apps enable only single-user experiences, in which one person can interact with AR content on their phone, but a shared AR cloud – which would allow multiple users to share the same AR experience together – has been missing.
Blue Vision Labs has developed cloud-based computer vision technology that enables shared AR experiences, where multiple users see the same thing across their devices.
"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," said CEO and co-founder Peter Ondruska.
"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."
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.
Blue Vision Labs will be using the investment for hiring, product development and expansion. The company is actively recruiting engineers, researcher and product experts, as well as building out its field operation teams in cities around the world.
Other investors including Accel, Horizons Ventures and SV Angel also participated in the funding round.