Secretive augmented reality (AR) company Magic Leap has sealed almost $800 million USD from high-profile investors including Alibaba, Google and Warner Bros to produce their AR headset. The latest investment values the company at $4.5 billion USD. Alibaba’s executive vice-chairman, Joe Tsai, will also join the company’s board.
Magic Leap’s technology is as fantastical as it is secretive. The company has offered only glimpses of the beta headset, which appears to show highly-sophisticated 3D graphics interacting with offline spaces. A video released last year showed a robot hiding under a desk and a very detailed depiction of the solar system in the same office space.
The latest funding follows a $542 million USD investment in 2014 which valued the company at $1.2 billion USD. Other investors in the recent round include Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Qualcomm Ventures.
“Here at Magic Leap we are creating a new world where digital and physical realities seamlessly blend together to enable amazing new experiences,” said Magic Leap Founder, President and CEO Rony Abovitz.
It’s not clear what Alibaba’s interest in the startup is, though the technology could theoretically be applied in several of the Chinese giant’s most prominent sectors, including entertainment and e-commerce. “We are excited to welcome Alibaba as a strategic partner to help introduce Magic Leap’s breakthrough products to the over 400 million people on Alibaba’s platforms,” said Mr. Abovitz.
Magic Leap’s commercial product currently has no sale date in sight, though in an interview with the Financial Times Mr. Abovitz said the devices would be shipping “soon” following a series of test runs and modifications to the accompanying software, cloud services and applications.