A fledgling augmented reality (AR) startup is launching out of stealth today with some big-name founders and backers in tow — and more than $50 million in funding.
Mojo Vision was founded out of Saratoga, California in 2015, but nothing was known about the company until today. We still don’t know much, in truth, but the startup did say it’s developing an “invisible computing” AR platform that will deliver “immediate, powerful, and relevant” information without the intrusions of today’s mobile devices.
What we’re talking about is hands-free, of course, which is pretty much in line with many other AR technologies of today. The company did not divulge the form factor or any other details around the look of its platform or technology.
While we may not know much about what the company is cooking up, we do know a bit about who’s at the helm.
Meet the founders
Mojo Vision is headed up by CEO Drew Perkins, who has previously cofounded three companies that were acquired and one that went public. One of those startups was Gainspeed, which specialized in improving cable network capacity, and which was snapped up by Nokia in 2016.
The founding team also includes CTO Mike Wiemer, who previously started a VC-backed solar cell company called Solar Junction, which appeared to have been bought out by a Saudi Arabian firm in 2015.
Completing the triumvirate of founders is chief science officer Michael Deering, who specializes in computer vision and 3D graphics and who has worked in several roles over the past four decades, perhaps most notably as a “distinguished engineer” at Sun Microsystems.
Although Mojo Vision is keeping its cards fairly close to its chest — even as it exits stealth — there has been a clear push toward “unobtrusive” computing interfaces, with AR playing a pivotal role. Amazon-backed North, formerly known as Thalmic Labs, recently launched its $999 Focals holographic smart glasses, and yesterday it opened its first retail stores to support the rollout.
Microsoft is also investing heavily in mixed reality via HoloLens, and the computing giant is pushing its use cases into multiple industries.
Mojo Vision’s overarching aim appears to be much the same: to make information technology blend seamlessly into our lives. Indeed, the company said its invisible computing platform will help people keep their “eyes up and focus on the information and ideas” that could improve their lives and businesses — without having to glance down at a screen.
“People want technology to deliver information faster and in more convenient ways, but in many cases the scale has tipped in the other direction,” Perkins said. “The instant access to information we enjoy today can also distract us from important parts of our lives. The very technology that was designed to improve communication is now often a barrier to fundamental personal connections. Invisible computing is about having faster and more natural access to information, but without phones, tablets, or other devices getting in the way; in the world of invisible computing, we will be able to focus on the people around us without the interruptions from today’s screens.”
In the three years since its founding, Mojo Vision has raised more than $50 million in seed and series A funding, with the likes of Khosla Ventures, NEA, Shanda Group, Fusion Fund, Liberty Global Ventures, 8VC, Dolby Family Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and Open Field Capital plowing cash into the venture.
The company plans to announce more details about its platform at a future date.