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Ogmento, a New York, N.Y.-based gaming company in the augmented reality scene (a technology that allows users to see virtual data superimposed on views of the real world) has raised $3.5 million dollars in a first round of institutional funding.
The company plans to use the money to build up its bi-coastal team, build its technology, and release a couple of games this year on iPhone and Android phones as well as computers and game consoles. The company has already developed projects for Orange Telecom, SAP and Penguin Publishing, among others.
The funding was led by Chart Venture Partners with participation from CNF Investments and private investors. Chart Venture’s Matthew McCooe and CNF’s Joe Del Guercio will join Ogmento’s board of directors, along with founders Brad Foxhoven, Brian Selzer, and Ori Inbar, who is the CEO. Chart partner Cole Van Nice will join Ogmento’s management team in a CFO/COO position.
“Cole is really a superstar, and we are happy to have him on board. He will take over the operations and our financial planning, coming up with a financial strategy,” says Inbar, adding that the money will give Ogmento enough cash to operate for the next 18-24 months.
Inbar is the author of a leading blog on augmented reality, and co-founders Brad Foxhoven and Brian Selzer have a background in the gaming and entertainment industries. Foxhoven and Selzer have set up companies together before, gaming company Eruptor Entertainment in 1999 and computer-generated animation company Blockade Entertainment in 2007. Foxhoven has also worked for Bioware/Pandemic and IGN Entertainment, well-known companies in the gaming world.
Augmented reality is still a niche technology, but Inbar hopes to see that change soon. “We hope we’ll see the first significant adoption of AR in games this year and will appeal to both hardcore and casual, or even non-gamers. Both the hardware and software have matured, and the technology is ready to go. As far as AR becoming a mainstream technology outside of gaming, though, I think it will be a couple of years. But when it does, it will take over everything we do on devices,” says Inbar.
Ogmento currently employs eight people. Its technical research and development team resides at its New York headquarters, and its creative studio is located in Los Angeles.