CastAR Raised $15 Million Series A Round Led By Andy Rubin
CastAR, the Mountain View, California based AR startup known as Technical Illusions in Seattle as a research project at Valve. CastAR had recently raised $15 million Series A round led by Playground Global Ventures.
CastAR is a part of Technical Illusions, a company that first started as a research project by Valve technologists Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson.
Playground Global Ventures, a hi-tech venture founded by one of the founding fathers of Android platform, Andy Rubin, who left Google in October, 2014.
According to Business Insider, Rubin had raised $242 million for Playground Global Venture earlier this year back in April.
In CastAR’s own words, CastAR Augmented Reality glasses allows users to see and interact with 3D virtual objects with others. According to CastAR, Everything that you are seeing from the video demos are not just conceptual, the technology is ready to be experienced today!
“There’s a company called CastAR which I think has the best opportunity for the next big thing.” Atari founder Nolan Bushnell
“But Rubin’s investment brings a very important ally into CastAR’s camp, as Rubin has a lot of money as well as a ton of connections in the tech world.” ( via Game Beat )
“Everyone talks about games being ‘high-resolution’ or ‘eye-popping, what happened to the word ‘fun’? It’s a central tenet for us. We’re just having fun, and we think our customers will, too.” CastAR CEO Henkel Wallace ( via Re/Code )
“With seasoned veterans from gaming company Valve Software, the startup has built a working model of the glasses, a reflective play surface and six games, including a marble run and light saber challenge. Players don the clear glasses, which weigh about as much as a large apple and have dual projectors and dual cameras built into the frames.” ( via WallStreet Journal )
“Our vision is that Christmas day Grandma has bought these for the kids, they tear open the paper, they open the box, they’re eight and ten years old, they put down the game board and within a minute they’re playing. That’s where we want to get to.” CastAR CEO Henkel Wallace ( via Game Industry Biz )
“One thing you look for investors is what kind of network they have. It’s really a different kind of firm. They’re very focused on hardware businesses, and they have a model where they’re kind of an incubator. We just closed this deal and we’re already finding them useful.” ( via Venture Beat )
“Among all the confusion about what separates AR from VR, what’s lost is fun,” said Henkel-Wallace. “People want a simple, accessible, fun solution that they can just pick up and play with their friends, without dealing with a bulky, uncomfortable headset, much less being tethered to a big computer. Our goal is to see CastAR on store shelves across North America, aligned with some recognizable brands in tabletop and interactive gaming. Playground’s support will help us get there.” ( via Prnewswire )
“A $1,000 gaming PC to go with your lenses isn’t a consumer product,” Henkel-Wallace said. ( via Venture Beat )
“Based on feedback and what we’ve learned from our own research, we plan to ship next generation hardware to all our backers and any interested developers starting early next year,” CastAR CEO David Henkel-Wallace tells Gamasutra via email. “The funds we have raised will be used to make sure the hardware is great, to improve software support for Unity and Unreal projects, and to support developers more closely.” ( via GameSutra )
The CastAR smart glasses has two built-in projectors, one for each eye, along with shutter lens and tracking sensors. The smart glasses will need to be used with a special reflective surface sheet to project 3D, holographic images.
CastAR’s augmented reality or mixed reality technology might remind you of Microsoft’s Hololens, but in fact, CastAR’s glasses came and was announced earlier than Microsoft’s Hololens. CastAR’s smart glasses made its debut with a highly successful Kickstarter campaign!
CastAR’s augmented reality smart glasses came a long way since its Kickstarter campaign launched on October 15, 2013. The Kickstarter campaign received over 1 million of funding from 3,863 pledged backers. It is one of the most successful AR / VR related Kickstarter campaigns to date!
The estimated delivery for backers is Q4 2015. CastAR is planning to have the AR glasses ready for consumer market by early 2016. If you are a developer, you can contact CastAR at firstname.lastname@example.org for the possibility of acquiring a developer’s kit.
If you missed the Kickstarter campaign, the CastAR, the smart glasses is now available for pre-order at $400, which includes This package includes the castAR glasses with its built in tracking system, a wand controller, and the 1 meter by 1 meter reflective surface sheet.
Content Source: CastAR, Re/Code, Venture Beat, Game Sutra, Business Insider