I get excited when it comes to startup tech companies with disruptive concepts. These days, that means I’m getting excited a lot – almost every time I get a news alert about the latest major Series B going down somewhere in the world. With that said, if I had to pick one technology startup that has excited me most thus far in 2014, Magic Leap is that company. Cloaked in secrecy, this tech startup has attracted the ultimate roster of early-stage investors.
Google Invests Half a Billion Dollars in Magic Leap
The first thing that dropped my jaw about Magic Leap was the fact that Google Inc. dove head-first into the company by investing half a billion dollars. The wires recently reported that the company raked in $542 million dollars in early stage funding and was valued at near $2 billion during the exercise.
My amazement wasn’t merely at the size of the investment, which is massive for an early stage tech company nonetheless, it was more about the fact that it came out of nowhere. Magic Leap, likely intentionally, has been keeping its story very quiet up until this point.
Unlike most startups, who preach about their technology from mountain tops, the founder of Magic Leap has been quite reclusive. I suspect Google has known about Magic Leap for a year or two. And the startup and tech giant have likely been in talks for several months.
The abruptness of this deal was not by mistake. Google is known for keeping technology projects it works on and invests in very hush-hush.
The second thing that set the company’s story apart from other great 2014 startup stories (Oculus, for example) is that it isn’t trying to improve upon existing technology. Magic Leap appears to be thinking way outside the box. It is creating a leap in human imagination. If you want the definition of disruptive technology, just look at Magic Leap. Its technology could change several industries at once.
What Could Magic Leap’s Technology Do?
Magic Leap, I believe, could change the face of anything that needs a display to interact with a user; and I am not just talking about devices… I am talking about entire industries. From entertainment and media, to the advertising industry and even education and medicine, Magic Leap could transform it all.
Imagine advertising the next Transformer movie with a 3D building size image towering over traffic on Broadway…
Imagine what you could do with augmented reality tech from Magic Leap in the defense industry. Generals might be able to map out all their defense assets in the war room as they watch them attack the enemy 3000 miles away – and they would look real and in three dimensions. Imagine what you could do in the healthcare field! Right now 3D scans in medicine are presented in 2D format. With Magic Leap, that gargantuan impediment could be removed. Doctors might be able to present 3D scans in 3D space.
What about entertainment? What about Virtual Reality? And all the things that could fit under the wide banner of augmented reality.
With this augmented reality technology, there may be no need for clunky big screens sitting on a desk, no matter how flat they are made. All we would need is the necessary equipment to project imagery into thin air. With Magic Leap’s tech, we could have a 3 dimensional view of, well, anything. As Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz puts it, “…the world is your new desktop…”
Follow the Venture Capital
It’s not just Google that has bought in to this two billion dollar holographic startup, either. There is also Legendary Pictures, and its CEO who invested in this round. Other eager participants in the early-stage funding included Qualcomm, KPCB and Andreessen Horowitz (this VC firm seems to be involved in every great tech startup in 2014).
The list of investors that rounded out this table are the who’s who in Silicon Valley, with a touch of Hollywood. That alone should make you want to keep a keen eye on how this plays out.
Magic Leap’s technology is still under wraps; everyone involved is being very secretive about what’s going on. That’s how you know this tech startup has true transformative potential in our society. And that’s why Google invested half a billion dollars in this startup without revealing virtually any information as to why they did it.