8i, a company developing holographic technology for virtual and augmented reality, raised $27 million to support the launch of its new mixed reality app Holo.
The round, which brings total funding to $41 million, was led by Time Warner Investments, with participation from Baidu Ventures (its first investment in AR/VR), and also included Verizon Ventures.
Holo was launched in beta this week and gives people an “easy way to create mixed reality content with holograms of their favourite celebrities, brands, and characters”.
It also lets users add holograms to their real-world environments and take videos and photos.
The app provides an “innovative way for influencers across entertainment, music and sports to reach and engage their audiences, and drive a new form of user generated content around their brand”, the firm said.
According to Financial Times, the move is a sign that “media companies are looking to recreate the success of the mobile game Pokemon Go, but with the added realism of well-known actors being incorporated in their AR apps”.
CEO Steve Raymond believes that as more and more consumers are “augmenting, mixing and creating” new content on their smartphones, mobile presents an “unparalleled opportunity for distribution of holograms”.
8i is testing an early beta version of Holo on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro powered by Google’s Tango.
As part of the beta, the firm will test how users interact with the new technology and a limited selection of sample 3D holograms.
It plans to launch a new version of the app later this year on Tango-enabled smartphones and other mobile devices.
Time Warner Investments managing director Scott Levine will join 8i’s board.