In one of the largest venture capital deals on record, South Florida technology company Magic Leap announced the close of its $542 million Series B venture capital funding, a round led by Google and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm, film-finance company Legendary Entertainment and Paul Allen’s investment firm Vulcan, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The deal values the company at nearly $2 billion and the funding will be used for product development and commercialization.
Magic Leap, based in Dania Beach with more than 100 employees and led by co-founder and CEO Rony Abovitz, has been quite secretive, but the Wall Street Journal said the startup is developing its own eyeglasses-like device, different from Google Glass, designed to project computer-generated images over a real-life setting. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Abovitz said he believes Magic Leap will be a new interface that could replace the PC monitors and smartphone screens that define the modern era of computing. In earlier reports, Abovitz said the company was working on “cinematic reality,” which isn’t virtual reality of augmented reality.
Sundar Pichai, the head of Google’s Android, Chrome and Apps businesses, will join Magic Leap’s board, and Don Harrison, the company’s head of corporate development, will become a board observer.
Magic Leap’s mega-funding round alone is quite a bit larger than the amount in VC funding – $418 million – all companies in Florida received last year. The company raised $50 million in venture funding in February.
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Abovitz was most recently co-founder and chief visionary officer of Mako Surgical, which sold for $1.65 billion last year. Abovitz founded Magic Leap in 2011 and has been quietly assembling a huge team, including from the film and comic book realm. In August, Magic Leap announced that "Guardians of the Galaxy" comic writer Andy Lanning joined Magic Leap as “Comic World Ambassador” and Dave Gibbons, co-creator of the “Watchmen,” joined as Creative Advisor.