Apple’s Vision Pro headset is causing a stir in the technology community, particularly among entrepreneurs developing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. Investors are now more willing to invest in artificial intelligence (AI), making it easier for these startups to raise capital than in the past.
The Vision Pro, Apple’s ambitious ‘mixed reality’ device, is being heralded as the start of a ‘new era’ in ‘spatial computing’, and the company claims it will be as transformative for mobile computing as the iPhone once was. Investors have found this claim to be true, which has helped them to recognize the huge potential in the augmented and virtual reality sector and motivated them to back start-ups in the field.
According to statistics from PitchBook, June saw a big spike in funding for AR, VR and Mixed Reality (XR) companies in the US. A staggering $208 million was raised in the month, almost double the amount raised in the previous three months. Only Anduril Industries, a Mixed Reality related military technology company, secured a staggering $1.48 billion in funding over the same 12-month period, surpassing this astonishing investment frenzy. Anduril Industries raised this amount in December of the previous year.
However, in the months leading up to Apple Inc.’s Vision Pro release, investment declined as investors were reluctant to take on the world’s largest company. However, the 5 June event proved to be a major turning point for the industry. According to Ori Inbar, founder of augmented reality company Super Ventures, the event “created a tremendous amount of energy in the industry”, establishing the commercial demand for mixed reality and demonstrating that it is more than just a passing trend.
Despite the current surge in interest and investment, the massive $31 billion that flowed into US AI startups in the first half of the year still dwarfs funding in the sector. However, the current passion for augmented and virtual reality starkly contrasts the difficulties faced by companies in the sector in the past.
After all, the Apple Vision Pro headset has acted as a catalyst for improvement in the augmented and virtual reality space. Once apprehensive, investors are now eager to explore the untapped potential of mixed reality, encouraged by the reassurance that comes with Apple’s backing. The increased interest points to a bright future for the XR business, suggesting a long-awaited shift from dissatisfaction to optimism, even if investment levels still lag behind AI.