Verizon Acquires Augmented Reality Startup Jaunt XR

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Verizon has acquired software, technology, and unspecified "other assets" from augmented reality (AR) startup Jaunt XR. Jaunt announced the news through a press release on Monday. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, so it's unclear whether Jaunt will keep operating separately.

Jaunt, formerly a virtual reality (VR) startup, was founded in 2013. The company quickly established itself as a top player in the sector. Beginning as a hardware company that made a 360-degree VR camera, it soon began developing software, tools, and apps for creating high-quality VR content. Jaunt's roster also includes a Netflix-style library of VR video. But just when VR had started gaining some traction among the audience, a major restructuring last year saw the company shift its focus from VR to AR.

Jaunt has raised over $100 million in venture funding from the likes of Disney, Google's venture arm GV, Evolution Media Partners, CMC, Highland Capital Partners, and Redpoint Ventures, CNBC reports. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, California.

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Jaunt's co-founder and chief technology officer, Arthur Van Hoff, joined Apple earlier this year.

Verizon doubles down on AR and VR

Verizon's interest in AR and VR is not new. The telecom giant has been producing AR and VR content for a while. In 2015, Verizon established an XR arm called Envrmnt. The division offers production services for business-to-business (B2B) and B2B-to-consumer (B2B2C) AR and VR content. A year later, it acquired a VR video company called RYOT. The acquisition of Jaunt now further reiterates the company's interest in these next-gen technologies. Jaunt's tech fits perfectly in Verizon's plans.

In the press release, Jaunt described itself as a leader in the immersive industry, claiming it enables the "scaled creation and distribution of volumetric video through machine learning." Jaunt said it will be assisting Verizon with the "transition of select portions of the software and technology for a brief period of time."

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"We are thrilled with Verizon's acquisition of Jaunt's technology," said Mitzi Reaugh, President & CEO of Jaunt XR. "The Jaunt team has built leading-edge software and we are excited for its next chapter with Verizon."

Verizon's acquisition of Jaunt comes at a time when it had just scaled back its media ambitions. Earlier this year, Verizon Media Group cut down seven percent of its workforce. The division, formerly known as Oath, includes media properties, advertising, and technology. Some of the popular properties under the umbrella include Yahoo, TechCrunch, HuffPost, and Tumblr.