Nreal, a Beijing-based developer of ready-to-wear mixed reality glasses, has raised an additional $16 million in funding to make its 3-ounce smart glasses into a powerful and immersive experience.
The money came from China Everbright Limited New Economy Fund, iQiyi, Shunwei Capital, and China Growth Capital. The latest round comes just one month after the company announced a $15 million round at the CES 2019 tech trade show in Las Vegas. That was where I saw a demo of the company’s high-quality mixed reality glasses.
Nreal will use the money to continue its research and development, expand its team, and ramp up its operations ahead of its plan to begin shipping in the third quarter of 2019.
First unveiled at CES 2019, Nreal Light was unique in that it had great display quality and a lightweight design, making it feel like you were wearing a pair of sunglasses.
“China Everbright Limited New Economy Fund has always been keen on the investment on those start-ups who are tech-driven and capable to commercialize its products,” said Victor Ai, managing director of China Everbright, in a statement. “In less than three years, we have been growing into an important force in private equity market, specializing in ‘AI+’ investment. The investment on nreal represents our mapping in AI and AR sector, on which we have been keeping a close eye. We deem that nreal has a great potential in becoming one huge giant in AR and VR field since the technology has a wide range of practices and realization in commercializing.”
Nreal Light has a remarkably wide 52-degree field of view (FoV) and high-definition 1080p resolution. Nreal said the glasses could be worn for hours at a time, since it only weighs 3 ounces, or 85 grams, or not much more than ordinary glasses.
“Everyone has their own perceived version of what an AR device should look like,” said Xing Meng, executive director of Shunwei Capital, in a statement. “We believe nreal is the company that is finally getting it right. We have strong faith in Chi [Xu, CEO and founder of Nreal]’s vision and we are excited to see nreal’s genius in building possibly the very first mass market AR wearable device by combining cutting edge technology with sleek vibrant design.”
Nreal is also unveiling its foldable temples. With foldable temples, a feature never-before-introduced in MR glasses, Nreal Light is now easy to tuck into your pocket or carry in a sunglass case.
“Foldable temples might seem trivial at first glance, but it’s never been achieved before due to its technical complexity and marks an important milestone for nreal,” said Xu, in a statement. “We’re pushing the boundaries to move MR hardware closer to mimicking the familiar sunglass form factor that people recognize, and ultimately closer to mass adoption.”
The company has 72 employees.