Insights

The Largest AR Hardware Fundraise in Europe Sets a View for the Future.

WaveOptics, the world-leading designer and manufacturer of diffractive waveguides used in Augmented Reality (AR) wearables, is on track to become a leading UK-headquartered global tech business following a $26m fundraise led by Octopus Ventures.
WaveOptics technology is designed to be used for immersive AR experiences in industrial, enterprise and consumer markets. The Company aims for its waveguides to be the core optical component used in all AR wearable devices, driven by its unique technology and expertise.

The Tech

AR wearables, such as smart glasses, allow users to see computer-generated images overlaid on top of the real world. There are two key elements that allow these images to be seen; a light source such as a minute projector and a means of transferring the image from the projector into the user’s eyes. WaveOptics’ waveguide technology delivers crisp, undistorted text and stable imagery.

Unique Ability

“WaveOptics has now established its position as the key optical technology provider to its global customers and partners. They are unique in their ability to build AR hardware solutions at scale to address the numerous opportunities in the emerging AR ecosystem,” said Simon King, Octopus Ventures Principal. “The business is on track to become a leading UK-headquartered global tech business.”

Customer Demand

The fundraise was supported by other existing shareholders including IP Group, Robert Bosch Venture Capital and Gobi Partners, as well as new investors Goertek and Optimas Capital Partners. WaveOptics and Goertek have agreed an exclusive manufacturing partnership that will enable the global mass production of waveguides capable of meeting customer demand from Asia and US markets. The business is also investing in its overseas infrastructure having recently opened offices in Los Angeles and Taipei and plans to open a new office in Beijing in 2019.

“These additional funds will enable us to scale up rapidly around the world, particularly in Asia and the US. This will include our ability to manage and support an increasing number of customers across different sectors. The market is gathering pace with AR wearables expected to become available in volume by the end of 2019,” said David Hayes, WaveOptics CEO. “We have seen a recent surge in interest from potential shareholders and strategic partners and anticipate closing further funding in the coming months.”

The Future of Industry

WaveOptics is a portfolio company at the heart of Octopus Ventures’ ‘Future of Industry’ focus. Along with ‘Future of Money’ and ‘Future of Health’, this structure is purposefully designed to discover and attract the next generation of pioneering entrepreneurs, such as the WaveOptics team. The Future of Industry ‘pod’ specifically addresses the bleeding edge developments happening in AR, intelligent robotics , AI and advanced materials and the world-changing operations developing and marketing them. WaveOptics’ latest advance towards the global stage reaffirms a specific, in-depth focus on the next iteration of industry coming out of Europe.

Want some help asking the right questions to help your business to succeed? Get in touch with our experienced team at Octopus Ventures.

 

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