Alibaba led a $60 million investment round in the Series C+ funding round for Nreal, an augmented reality glasses maker. The Chinese startup already developed a line of AR glasses, such as Light and Air. Users can literally fit these glasses in their pockets, potentially being a part of everyday life. Moreover, the company also has the tools to help developers build AR apps faster.
Nreal was founded in 2017, with Nreal Light as its flagship product. The company not only wants to provide the hardware, but they are also looking to bundle various experiences for the users. This is where the investment from Kuaishou and iQiyi comes in handy. The short video platform and streaming service can see a whole new horizon with the addition of augmented reality and mixed reality.
Besides that, the previous $100 million funding round saw other notable backers getting aboard this startup. Nio Capital, the investment arm of the Chinese electric carmaker, and also Sequoia Capital China were among the investors in September, pushing Nreal’s valuation to a whopping $700 million.
With Alibaba’s capital injection, the AR startup will ramp up its research and development activities. The $60 million will also help them make their move into multiple new markets in 2022. At the moment, Nreal already has its products in major markets such as Japan, Spain, South Korea, and the U. S.
However, the community is still speculating about Alibaba’s exact plans with this investment. Recently, Alibaba’s South China Morning Post has made its move into the NFT space and also the metaverse. In addition, Alibaba Cloud has also rolled out its metaverse solution, where it acknowledges the importance of AR and VR.
Alibaba now joins rival tech giants such as Tencent and ByteDance in a race into the metaverse. At this point, the competition should bring about faster innovation globally, integrating software and hardware to give us consumers more immersive entertainment.