Light Monster jazzes up AR startup Nreal with $15M funding

Augmented actuality headsets have been round for years, however not one of the market gamers has actually expanded past the techy demographic and damaged into the mainstream. An AR startup hopes to alter that by partnering with an eyewear vogue model.

Nreal, the well-funded Chinese language AR headset maker that’s been making aggressive international growth, stated Thursday that it has raised $15 million from Korean sun shades model Gentle Monster’s mum or dad firm, IICOMBINED.

The funding, which got here simply 5 months after its $60 million Series C extension, boosts its complete raised to $240 million since its inception in 2017.

The recent capital will allow Nreal to speed up its international growth and double down on the corporate’s client enterprise within the U.S., the corporate stated.

Neither Nreal nor Light Monster stated a lot about how they may work collectively, however it’s nearly sure that the single-investor capital infusion marks a step towards a strategic partnership. It received’t be stunning that Nreal’s glasses — which have aimed to be trendy and light-weight from the outset — would hit the cabinets of Light Grasp’s international retail shops sometime.

Certainly, Nreal’s co-founder Peng Jin stated the agency’s objective for the subsequent twelve months is to “scale and attain extra audiences and aggressively develop adoption for AR expertise beginning with our newest AR glasses, Nreal Air.”

Nreal has already carved out a worldwide distribution community, a lot of it by way of its enterprise partners like Qualcomm and LG, in nations together with the U.S., U.Okay., Japan, South Korea, Spain and Germany. It solely debuted in China, the place it’s primarily based, in August.

Nreal’s demand is at the moment the best within the U.S., Japan and Korea, although the corporate expects China to develop quickly to be one in every of its high markets.

Earlier this week, Nreal unveiled an array of its merchandise, together with AR glasses reminiscent of Nreal Air and Nreal X (Chinese language model) and an AR adapter for Apple units in its house market.

“Vogue and design shall be necessary elements sooner or later growth of AR glasses as we proceed to broaden the sector’s client base,” stated Jin. “As such, having Light Monster as our investor will open up fascinating alternatives not only for Nreal, but additionally for the broader AR business as an entire.”

Light Monster, which entered China in 2016 and partnered with Huawei in 2019 to make sensible glasses, opened its seventeenth retailer in Beijing in early August for additional growth in China.

“This funding is thrilling for the mixture and exploration of the boundary of vogue and tech,” stated co-founder of Light Monster and CEO of IICOMBINED Hankook Kim. “We’ll leverage each events’ energy and make joint efforts to create extra prospects.”

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