Virtual reality company 8i is taking holographic videos mainstream with its ground-breaking new technology
Wellington-founded virtual reality company 8i says new mobile technology being developed by Apple and Google will help bring its holographic videos to the global mainstream.
The company, founded in May 2014, has developed a platform that enables users to create, experience and share lifelike 3D video using a virtual reality headset and holographic technology.
Chief executive Steve Raymond said it was an exciting time for the company with the launch of its latest product, Holo. "As consumers are augmenting, mixing and creating new content on their smartphones on a massive scale, mobile presents an unparalleled opportunity for distribution of holograms," Raymond said.
"[Holo is] a consumer mobile app that allows people to interact with our holograms in their own environments, and record and share the video experiences they create," he said. "We're excited about the potential for it."
The latest funding round was led by New York investment firm Time Warner Investments, with participation from Baidu Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Verizon Ventures, One Ventures, Carsten Maschmeyer's Seed & Speed Ventures, and existing investors.
Movie star Ashton Kutcher and Samsung were among a group of global investors that first backed the company in 2015, with the latest funding taking its total raised capital to $57m.
Kutcher is one of the most prolific tech investor in Hollywood, with seed and venture capital investments in a total of 70 startups. Time Warner Investments managing director Scott Levine, who joins the board of 8i, said the opportunities with the company were huge.
"With [virtual reality] and [augmented reality], we're seeing the very beginning of a new generation of immersive media," Levine said. "8i makes holographic human content a reality in this new era with its breakthrough volumetric capture technology, while lowering the barrier for creators," he said.
"We're excited to back this world-class team as they continue to push the boundaries of data compression and depth acquisition, and bring holograms to the mainstream with Holo on smartphones." Co-founder Linc Gasking began the company after trying an Oculus Rift headset and deciding he could enable users to generate content.
He earlier said possible uses for the headset included being able to virtually walk into an online store and view clothes and products.