Qualcomm-powered Chinese XR startup Nreal raises $40 million – TechCrunch
Nreal, one of the most watched mixed reality startups in China, has just received $ 40 million from a group of high profile investors in a Series B round that could potentially bring more adoption for its wearable advanced headsets.
Kuaishou, the arch-rival of TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin, led the round and marked another video platform to connect with Nreal after existing investor iQiyi, China’s own Netflix. Like other major video streaming sites around the world, Kuaishou and iQiyi have tried to create augmented reality content and securing a hardware partner will no doubt be vital to their early experiments.
There are other supporters in the round with ample industry resources GP Capital, which counts the state-run financial holding Shanghai International Group and the large Chinese film studio Hengdian Group as investors; CCEIF fund, founded by the state manufacturer of telecommunications equipment China Electronics Corporation and state-backed investment bank China International Capital Corporation; GL Ventures, the early stage fund of the well-known private equity firm Hillhouse Capital; and Sequoia Capital China.
That’s not it. In early 2019, Nreal brought the Xiaomi founder’s Shunwei Capital venture fund on board for its Series A financing of $ 15 million. As I wrote at the time, AR, VR, MR, XR – whichever marketing coin you prefer – are sure to be a key piece in Xiaomi’s Internet of Things empire. It’s not hard to see how Nreal’s phone titan gets smart glasses.
The other major partner of Nreal, a three year old company, is Qualcomm. The chip maker played an active role in the 5G rollout in China. Power supply Next generation phones from major Chinese phone manufacturers. It Deliveries Nreal with its Snapdragon processors, with which the startup’s lightweight mixed reality glasses can be easily connected to an Android phone.
“The closer partnership with Qualcomm gives the company access to Qualcomm’s network of customers, including telecommunications companies,” Seewan Toong, industry advisor for AR and VR, told TechCrunch.
The latest round brings in more than $ 70 million in total for Nreal and will accelerate the mass adoption of its mixed reality technology in the 5G era, the company said.
It remains to be seen how Nreal delivers on its promise of securing users on a large scale and not just being a figurehead for the mixed reality ambitions of tech giants. So far, doing business with major telecommunications companies is somewhat reminiscent of Magic Leap, which in one legally spat with nreal, although the Chinese company seems to be spending less money so far. The troubled American company is currently relying on enterprise customers to rely on it after failing to crack the consumer market.
“Nreal is patient and in no rush to show that they can start selling in bulk. It is trying to prove that there is a user scenario for its technology, ”Toong said.