VCs and investors poured $2.3 billion into VR and AR startups in 2016

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According to technology advisor Digi-Capital, venture capital and corporate investors have invested $2.3 billion (£1.84bn) into virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) startups in 2016, making it three times the USD $700 million investment of 2015.

AR hardware player Magic Leap raised $793.5 million at a $4.5 billion valuation at the start of 2016. Even when Magic Leap took the maximum money in the VR/AR industry in 2016, it accounted only for around $3 of every $10 invested in the industry. AR hardware players ODG raised $58 million and Meta raised $50 million. AR hardware took closer to $4 of every $10 invested.

The next largest sector in 2016 was VR/AR services/solutions, which took just under $2 of every $10 invested. The largest investment here was in graphics engine Unity, with its $181 million monster round at a $1.5 billion valuation. Neural VR platform maker Mindmaze raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation. VR/AR services/solutions sector was followed by VR video sector, which took over $1 of every $10 invested. NextVR raised $80 million, 360fly raised $40 million, and Baobab Studios raised $25 million.

Despite the presence of Facebook, Samsung and Google, VR hardware start-ups raised nearly $200 million, according to the research, while VR/AR peripherals and VR games sectors raised over $100 million each. Perhaps even more surprising was that VR/AR app developers, outside games, and VR/AR advertising/marketing start-ups each raised only around $80 million. The investment came from companies including Alibaba, Warner Bros, Google, Qualcomm, Fidelity, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, T.Rowe Price, Wellington, CIC, Intel, Amazon, Fidelity, CITIC, NetEase, Softbank, 21st Century Fox, MGM, Lenovo, Tencent, Comcast, Samsung, and HTC.

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