AR glasses maker Nreal nabs $200M funding in 12 months – TechCrunch

China’s augmented actuality startup Nreal is on a roll. The firm, which hopes to convey AR to the plenty by making bright-color, light-weight good glasses, has simply acquired $60 million in a Collection C extension spherical, bringing its whole funding within the final 12 months to a good-looking $200 million.

The brand new funding is led by Alibaba, which has traditionally been a extra hands-on however much less energetic company investor than its archrival Tencent. The Chinese language e-commerce large has a repute for buying controlling stakes in startups that may doubtlessly be a complementary piece to its large retail ecosystem.

Alibaba’s funding in Nreal, nonetheless, is solely monetary. In principle, the 2 may have generated strategic synergies. One may simply think about Alibaba hooking Nreal up with its gaming and video streaming items, and even having it develop good glasses for its tens of millions of meals supply riders — who lately started sporting voice-controlled helmets. However with the onset of China’s antitrust crackdown, the nation’s tech behemoths have little doubt turn out to be extra cautious with any funding that may be perceived as encouraging unfair competitors.

Plus, Nreal, which was based by Magic Leap veteran Chi Xu, already has a membership of notable companions. A few of its strategic traders are Chinese language electrical car upstart Nio, brief video app Kuaishou — TikTok’s nemesis in China and Baidu-backed video streaming platform iQIYI. Qualcomm just isn’t an investor however provides cutting-edge Snapdragon processors to the {hardware} maker and works carefully with it to construct a developer ecosystem. Nreal can also be backed by famend institutional traders, together with Sequoia China, Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital, in addition to personal fairness giants Hillhouse, CPE and CICC Capital.

Regardless of being China-based, Nreal hasn’t focused its dwelling market however has as a substitute first examined the patron urge for food in six abroad international locations, together with Japan and the U.S. The good glasses maker has relied on partnering with native carriers to tout its gadgets. Within the U.S., for instance, Verizon helps to promote Nreal’s blended actuality glasses Gentle, which has a comparatively inexpensive price ticket of $600 and could be plugged right into a 5G-compatible Android machine.

With the proceeds from its newest spherical, Nreal will lastly make a foray into China this yr. The funding may also be spent on R&D and rising its ecosystem of content material and apps, which will likely be important to consumer adoption.

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