Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ubiquity6 nabs $10.5 million from top investors to build a deeper augmented reality

Smartphone AR is available on hundreds of millions of devices but it doesn’t really seem like many of those devices are making regular use of the feature. A lot of people in the industry see this as representative of the platform’s technical shortcomings especially in regards to enabling social experiences.

Ubiquity6 is approaching some of the tech problems that make shared augmented reality experiences a possibility. The team was founded last year by alums from Metamind, Facebook, Tesla, Twitter and Stanford. The startup’s co-founder and CEO Anjney Midha previously was a founding partner at KPCB’s emerging tech-focused EDGE fund where he focused specifically on AR, VR and computer vision.

The small team announced today that they’ve raised a $10.5 million Series A led by Index Ventures, with participation from First Round Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Google’s Gradient Ventures, LDVP, A+E and WndrCo.

In a very ethereal blog post, the startup detailed that they want to turn the smartphone camera into something that lets “you edit reality together with the people you care about, in physical spaces that matter to you.”

In a more technical sense, the team is working on many of the hard problems that several other backend augmented reality startups are looking to solve, namely ensuring that objects stay put in the same physical spot long after sessions have ended and that users can easily sync up and see the same AR objects in the same places. Once these things have been solved in a smooth capacity, a lot more becomes possible but AR needs this for repeatable, social experiences to really feel worthwhile.

In addition to tackling the mapping and syncing challenges noted above, Ubiquity6 is also going after more general object recognition challenges so that your phone will know what your bed and table and door look like and will have the intelligence to know what to do with that data.

“We believe that augmented reality holds the key to unlocking a new atomic unit of communication — a creative medium that can bring people together in and around the physical spaces they care about,” First Round Capital’s Phin Barnes said in an emailed statement.

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