8th Wall announced today that it has raised $8 million for its AR developer platform in a Series A funding led by Norwest Venture Partners.
The company has launched an augmented reality platform that works not only on specific smartphones but any iOS and Android smartphone. The AR platform works efficiently with Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit platforms.
Founded in 2016, 8th Wall is basically focused on providing developers with all the required functions they need to build an AR based game or app.
The startup’s XR Software tools allow developers to easily add full-scale tracking, surface detection, camera overlays and lighting estimation to their projects. The company plans to add more tools to its AR platform that can seamlessly deal with cloud management, measure persistence and computer vision.
“The key thing is that we haven’t seen any of the cool things planned for mobile AR yet,” said 8th Wall CEO Erik Murphy-Chutorian. “In mid-year of 2018, we’re going to see such an influx of applications in the space that it’s really just exciting.”
With an increasing rate of innovations rising in the AR space, 8th Wall as well hopes to up its game and therefore has raised $8 million in its latest funding round. The 8th Wall team currently comprises of 9 full-time employees and aims to triple in size over the next 18 months.
The funding will be utilized by the company to help a broad range of smartphones get access to AR applications. Google’s ARCore support is only open to selected devices while Apple’s ARKit is opened to iPhone 6S and later. Many smartphones including earlier Apple devices do not have AR tracking support. However, 8th Wall has now rolled out tracking support for all the smartphones. With 8th Wall, 2.5 million smartphones can now run AR apps.
“We support this idea of graceful degradation, where you can target the newer smartphones but still have the same application working on older devices,” Murphy-Chutorian said.
“We heard from developers that there just weren’t many phones available, or about 15 percent of phones with native AR libraries. We can enable about 95 percent of smartphones to do AR.”
The all-smartphones idea isn’t really perfect when it comes to the relationship between the smartphone’s camera and IMU sensor, as different smartphones possess different cameras. Nevertheless, it does offer a great help for developers who want a wider user base for their AR apps and games. So, in that case, something is better than nothing.
Murphy-Chutorian hopes 8th Wall can attract more and more developers on its AR platform by carefully observing their needs and delivering updates accordingly.
Venture reality fund Shasta Ventures and Sparkland Capital also took part in the funding round. Vab Goel, General Partner, will be joining 8th Wall’s board of directors.