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VR hand tracking firm Leap Motion raises $50m

“Natural input through full hand tracking is inseparable and fundamental to the future of VR/AR"

With Valve recently shipping dev kits for its "Knuckles" controller, more and more focus is being given to full hand/fingers tracking and presence in VR experiences. One company that's aiming to advance this technology is Leap Motion, which has just secured $50 million in Series C funding, led by clients advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. As part of the financing round, Lawrence Unrein, Global Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management's Private Equity Group, has joined Leap Motion's board of directors.

"Natural input through full hand tracking is inseparable and fundamental to the future of VR/AR, and Leap Motion is a principal driver of its widespread adoption," said Michael Buckwald, CEO and Co-founder of Leap Motion. "In much the same way as the touchscreen sparked the mobile revolution, Leap Motion is playing a transformative role in the development of human interface technology for VR/AR. As a result, the industry as a whole is on the verge of a similar moment of exponential growth."

Larry Unrein, Global Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management's Private Equity Group, added: "Virtual and augmented reality technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, drawing significant attention from investors. Leap Motion's suite of hardware and software designed for headsets falls squarely into this category, offering natural input through hand and finger tracking that can be integrated into any headset."

Leap Motion said that the infusion of capital will enable it to accelerate its global expansion, particularly into Asia. The company will be opening an office in Shanghai, China, and hopes that the money will also help it to more quickly launch new commercial and enterprise applications for industries apart from entertainment, such as education, healthcare, and industrial training simulation.

Leap Motion was originally founded in 2010 and its tech is currently used in prototype VR kits being built by Qualcomm. That said, the company said it's "currently partnering with major headset manufacturers to embed Leap Motion technology into mobile VR/AR products across the globe."

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