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Record-breaking VR/AR start-ups raised over $3.6bn in last 12 months

Video games one of only two sectors to secure more than 10% of investment deals

More than $3.6 billion was raised by start-ups specialising in virtual and augmented reality over the past 12 months - setting a new record for a financial year.

The news comes from research by Digi-Capital, which reports that the growth was driven in part by an overall shift towards AR rather than VR, thanks to the lower friction for users and advances in mobile AR.

The firm also reported that over $750m has been invested in such start-ups since 2018 began.

A significant portion of the money pledged by investors and venture capital firms is still going to larger, more established companies. For example, Magic Leap raised more than $1 billion in the last fiscal year.

Games firms remain among major earners with Improbable raising $502 million, Niantic taking $200 million and Unity securing $400 million.

Looking at start-ups, Digi-Capital reports that the five biggest deals accounted for over $1.8 billion.

One third of the $3.6 billion went to firms working on AR and VR technology, while another third went to smartglasses projects. Of that final third, the games segment was identified as one of the most significant, along with navigation, medical, photo/video, social and peripherals.

Games were also one of other two sectors to account for more than ten per cent of all investment deals, although not investment dollars. Tech was the only other category to achieve this.

Investment in virtual and augmented reality is expected to continue to grow, although more investment is likely to go into AR rather than VR in the short-term.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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