Virtual and Augmented reality technologies have now shed the initial stigma attached to its acceptance. It is now particularly ready to be distributed among the masses and every tech behemoth wants a chunk of the ecosystem. Hewlett-Packard (HP) has finally decided to step into the game, but with an investment into The Venture Reality Fund (VR fund) rather than a product release.
The investment has been led by HP Tech Ventures, the company’s corporate venture arm. There is currently no information on the specifics of the financial backing. The VR Fund has steadily gained recognition as one of the most prolific investors in these new-age technologies such as VR, AR, MR and other related product offerings. This is, however, HP’s first stint with such technologies, which are about to become a necessity for our smartphones in a couple years.
Talking about their investment, Andrew Bolwell, Global Head of HP Tech Ventures said:
AR/VR is one of the most transformative categories in today’s technology landscape, and The VR Fund is one of the leading players in this ecosystem. We are excited to be an investor and look forward to working closely with The VR Fund to bring amazing new immersive experiences to market.
The Venture Reality Fund, for those unaware, is aimed at scouting innovative early-stage startups across a variety of categories such as hardware, application, and content among others. It provides guidance, monetary support and access to strategic relationships to help startups bring their cutting-edge augmented, virtual or mixed reality technologies to the market faster. It has further been added to their aim that,
The best way to predict the future is to build it, the second best way is to fund it. We believe in the transformative powers of this new medium and want to help make VR, AR, and MR happen in the best way possible.
While The VR Fund pumps capital into up and coming startups, as well as entrepreneurs in the aforementioned fields, it also provides partners early access to the same for commercial purposes. This means HP will also gain access to cutting-edge technologies before it actually lands into the market for use by all. It can then be used by the decades-old software giant to enhance the user experience of its apps in segments such as office, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and education. The funded startups, on the other hand, will benefit from HP’s resources, research and reach.
Talking about the fundraising round, Marco DeMiroz, co-founder and general partner of The VR Fund
We are excited to have HP Tech Ventures as a key investor in our fund and look forward to working closely with their team to introduce new applications for corporate innovation and productivity while enhancing the customer experience and product development.
As for the investments in AR and VR, the scene exploded after these technologies gained popularity in 2015. The previous year saw a massive 140 percent year-on-year uptick to reach $1.8 billion, with the number of deals approaching 171. This is a 14 percent increase over the prior year, making it the largest year of funding for this space, reports CB Insights.
These figures showcase the growth in the recent years, but how will the augmented and virtual market respond in the coming years? It has also been studied in a fresh research by Goldman Sachs, who believe that both of these platforms have the capability to become the next big computing platform. This will append the smartphone and PC market by creating its own new niche and carving out a space in existing markets. By 2025, it predicts 60 percent of revenues in AR+VR ecosystem will be driven by the consumers, while the rest will be taken care of enterprises and public sector use cases.