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Vancouver-based RealWear Gains Funding of $80 Million to Make AR Hard hat

Teradyne, an equipment firm based in Massachusetts, leading a group of 4 industrial companies, recently made an announcement regarding their $80 million investment to a Vancouver company which manufactures AR headsets cased within industrial hardhat frames.

RealWear has managed to raise a total of $100 million till date. Its devices, priced at $1,500, are utilised by various high profile industrial client organisations, including BMW, Shell, Exxon and Colgate.

This investment is one of the biggest for a Silicon Forest startup company in several years. It also gives the company one of the most well-funded startups in the region. The technology being used by RealWear revolves around a tiny computer running Google’s Android US. The computing system is equipped with a camera, a speaker, microphones and a small screen used for projecting information before the eyes of a wearer.

 

Using the screen, wearers can search and obtain information while on the go. The camera facilitates easy image transmission for workers, who can instantly share what they see with their intended recipients.

The hardhat from RealWear can be considered as a hands-free and durable smartphone. It works quite similar to the 2013 original version of Google Glass. However, the way it utilises the technology involved is quite different. The RealWear hardhat is being advertised by the company as a device meant for use by professionals dealing with manufacturing and repairs. These industrial professionals can use the device to instantly check out online manuals whilst on the factory floor. In addition, they can also seek the help of supervisors when face to face with a challenging situation.

Image source: realwear.com

Apart from TeraDyne, the investors in this round also include audio products manufacturer Bose Corp., smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm’s investment branch, Massachusetts-based mobile display firm Kopin Corp., and investment banking stalwart JPMorgan Chase.

Columbia Ventures, last year’s leading investor in RealWear, had contributed $17 million. The company has also participated in the current investment round, with Ken Peterson, it’s CEO, resuming as a part of the board.

Andy Lowery, CEO of RealWear, remarked that the company has got an investment team offering a lot more than just finances.

 

Lowery, an erstwhile U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, was responsible for finding RealWear several years back. Starting out as a Silicon Valley-based company, it eventually moves its head office to downtown Vancouver’s Officers Row in 2017.

The company revealed that a few of its objectives were providing better lives for its employees, lowering key operational costs, and providing more skilled workers.

RealWear operates with a team of 52 in Vancouver, and has a total workforce of 110. According to Lowery, the company has plans to hire 100 additional employees by next year’s end. The company had a revenue of $12 million during 2018, which is not an impressive figure. However, he expects the company’s sales to grow 400% or more during this year. Lowery also expects the company to break even by the current year’s third quarter.

Further development of headset’s features are expected in the future.

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