Magic Leap: The mystery startup valued at $1bn

Silicon Valley startup Magic Leap is valued at over $1 billion. It just announced today the close of its $542 million (£338 million) Series B, featuring investors led by Google, Inc., and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm and Legendary Entertainment. But there's a catch: no one quite knows what it is.

We love a good "mysterious startup" story at ITProPortal, and Magic Leap has set our mystery senses tingling. The website for the startup is suitably vague, featuring only a beautiful animation of a tiny pint-sized elephant rearing and trumpeting out of a person's cupped hands. And a trippy picture of a whale flying over a beach (pictured).

"So what is Magic Leap?" it asks. "Magic Leap is an idea. An idea that computing should be shaped and forged to work for us: our life, our physiology, our connected relationships. That exploring human creativity is as great an adventure as exploring space."

"It's an idea based in the belief that people should not have to choose between technology or safety, technology or privacy, the virtual world or the real world... With our founding principles our team dug deep into the physics of the visual world, and dug deep into the physics and processes of our visual and sensory perception. We created something new. "

So basically we still know just about nothing about it. The site goes on to say that Magic Leap has "dug deep into the physics of the visual world, and dug deep into the physics and processes of our visual and sensory perception. We created something new. We call it a Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal™ (you can call it a Digital Lightfield™). It is biomimetic, meaning it respects how we function naturally as humans (we are humans after all, not machines)."

So... magic? CEO Rony Abovitz has spoken to the press in equally vague yet tantalising terms.

"If you think about what mobile computing is right now, it's portable, it's great, and I call it 'making your hand happy,' in that you can hold it and it's great," Abovitz said.

"Your hand is happy, but your eye is not. What I mean by your eye is not happy, if you step outside your office and look at San Francisco Bay, it's just this visual feast, and there's no movie theater, there's no television display, there's nothing that will ever match the grandeur of what our own brains can create in terms of visual experience."

Stay posted for more updates as they come, and check out the site's blog while you wait (though there's not a whole load up there).

So what is Magic Leap? Altered reality? A Google Glass rival? Let us know what you think in the comments section below, or stop by for a chat with the ITProPortal team and other readers on ITProPortal's tech talk live chat.

Topics