Matterport has raised $30 million in growth funding from Qualcomm and Singapore’s GIC to expand its virtual reality and augmented reality content creation platform.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Matterport makes a $4,500 Pro Camera that can capture an environment in 360 degrees. It also makes the cloud software to stitch the content into a virtual reality or augmented reality experience. The target market has been realtors looking to show off homes for sale in 3D.
“We have gone through a growth period and we are looking to further fuel that growth,” said Bill Brown, chief executive of Matterport, in an interview with VentureBeat. “We’re making very good progress on our applications platform.”
The VR videos are easy to embed in any web site. When someone clicks on it, they see a still image that captures the view from a particular part of a home or tourist location, akin to Google Street View. But you can move on to another point inside the location quickly, just by clicking on the environment.
Matterport began selling the application platform for realtors in July 2014. So far, Brown said that the company has sold thousands of VR cameras to real estate agents, and those videos are getting about 1.2 million unique views per month. Most of the major brokerage companies are customers.
Over time, Brown hopes to reduce the cost of content creation and eventually enable consumers with 3D-sensor-enabled smartphones to record and publish their own virtual reality visual experiences. A consumer could, for instance, create a virtual tour of their own home.
Matterport has raised $56 million to date, and it now has more than 80 employees. And Brown said the company is starting to target other markets for its technology, such as e-commerce, advertising, retail, architecture, travel, construction, insurance, entertainment media, and journalism.
Brown said that the macroeconomic environment for raising money for a virtual reality company is strong.
“It’s the development of a new medium, and it’s important to establish a position within that ecosystem,” Brown said.
Existing investors include Lux Capital, DCM Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Greylock Partners, Navitas Capital, AMD Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, iGlobe Partners, Rothenberg Ventures, Sling Media founder Blake Krikorian, and Crate & Barrel founder Gordon Segal.
Matterport Spaces, as the VR experience is called, works on VR platforms such as Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard, as well as through its browser-based app, called 3D Showcase, which allows all of Matterport’s immersive content to be viewed today on PC and mobile.
I’ve seen how it looks, and it definitely gives you a feeling for what a place looks like. If you want to see the inside of a house, Matterport can save you a trip. But it can also take you some place you’ve always dreamed of going. If Matterport can build on that, then it could have a bright future.
The company is also on the cusp of enabling more user-generated immersive content. These types of trends — and the frontier nature of VR and its cousin augmented reality — are why Matterport has gotten such a large round of funding.
Since early 2014, Matterport has been a partner on Google’s Project Tango and separately with Intel on RealSense, and it has collaborated with several mobile technology providers and tech equipment makers.