Magic Leap hasn’t launched a product since its first augmented reality (AR) headset, the Magic Leap One back in August 2018. But the Florida-based startup is still alive and kicking. The company Monday announced that it has raised $500 million in funding at a $2 billion valuation. It is planning to launch the second-gen version of its AR headset, the Magic Leap 2 next year. The new product is already available to “select customers” as part of an early access program, the company said. It will be available generally in 2022, though we still don’t have an exact launch timeframe.
“This investment is an important step in advancing Magic Leap’s mission to transform the way we work,” said CEO Peggy Johnson. “With ongoing support from our existing investors, Magic Leap will have greater financial flexibility and the resources needed to continue our growth trajectory as we expand on our industry-leading AR technology.”
Johnson joined Magic Leap as CEO in August last year after an extensive career at Qualcomm and Microsoft, spanning over three decades. Earlier in April, she revealed that the company is on track to launch the Magic Leap 2 in “limited quantity” later this year, followed by a broader availability early next year. The latest announcement essentially reiterates that.
In an interview with CNBC earlier this week, Johnson unveiled (via The Verge)the Magic Leap 2 which, she says, is an “all-day” device thanks to its smaller, lightweight built. It is said to be the industry’s smallest and lightest AR headset yet. All this, while also improving on usability and functionality. The upcoming model doubles the field of view over its predecessor. The company also promises “image quality, color fidelity, and text legibility” improvements. A background dimming feature helps make it easier to see digital the AR content.
Johnson suggested the Magic Leap 2 is tailor-made with feedback from enterprise customers. The company is hoping this device to “increase business adoption of AR.”
Magic Leap 2 is focused on business customers
Founded in 2010, Magic Leap has received funding from some of the biggest names in the tech industry. Over the past decade, companies like Google, Alibaba Group, and AT&T have all invested in the company. It achieved a valuation of $6.4 billion in 2019.
However, Magic Leap has failed to keep up with the industry pace and by June 2020, its valuation had dropped to $450 million. The company laid off 1,000 employees last year as the coronavirus pandemic hit hard. Co-founder and CEO Rony Abovitz also left the company last July before Johnson took over the helm.
Magic Leap has now shifted its business focus from consumers to enterprise solutions. The upcoming Magic Leap 2 is seemingly purpose-built for enterprise customers. Time will tell whether this worth half-a-billion AR headset is a success.