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Virtual reality data glove maker HaptX has raised $23 million to accelerate development of its next-generation haptic technology.
Based in Redmond, Washington HaptX brings the sensation of touch to virtual reality, making it more immersive for people so they feel transported to another world, CEO Jake Rubin said in an interview with GamesBeat. The quality of “presence” that touch can bring is widely considered one of the requirements to feel like you are in a metaverse based on VR.
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Haptx first launched its second dev kit about two years ago and launched its first product in early 2021. Companies use it for things like product design.
“In 2016, we started with the full body immersion vision,” Rubin said. “We continued this development. We had to choose a part of the market to bring the technology. The obvious place to start is with the hands, which are the most sensitive. This was the genesis of Haptx gloves.
AIS Global and Crescent Cove Advisors led the round, with participation from Verizon Ventures, Mason Avenue Investments and Taylor Frigon Capital Partners.
This investment brings HaptX’s total funding to over $58 million. Centerview Partners acted as financial advisor to HaptX.
Proceeds from this round will be used to fund the marketing of next-generation products that build on the success of HaptX’s award-winning HaptX DK2 gloves. Unlike other tactile gloves that are limited to vibration and force feedback, HaptX gloves physically move the user’s skin like a real object. They offer unprecedented realism, with more than 130 points of tactile feedback per hand. Fortune 500 companies and governments around the world have adopted HaptX gloves for the most demanding applications in training and simulation, industrial design and robotics.
Along with this transaction, HaptX has expanded its partnership with AIS Global, a portfolio company of KPS Capital Partners in New York.
“HaptX and AIS Global have built a deep and successful relationship dedicated to leading innovation in the high-growth global haptics market,” AIS Global CEO Joe Baddeley said in a statement. “AIS Global and KPS are pleased to provide the resources, commitment and expertise needed to support the aggressive scaling of HaptX’s commercial footprint.”
San Francisco-based Crescent Cove Advisors has significantly increased its investment in HaptX
in this round of financing after providing a $4 million credit facility to HaptX in 2021.
“HaptX has successfully generated great customer demand across a wide range of use cases,” Jun Hong Heng, chief investment officer at Crescent Cove Advisors, said in a statement. “We believe that HaptX will play a fundamental role in fulfilling the promise of the Metaverse as the immersive 3D successor to today’s 2D Internet.”
“We are proud of the commitment of partners like AIS Global and Crescent Cove
our efforts to create haptics so realistic that users cannot distinguish between virtual and
real,” said Jake Rubin, founder and CEO of HaptX. “This funding will
HaptX builds on the success of the HaptX DK2 gloves with exciting new products that will redefine
virtual and robotic interaction.
Regarding Haptx’s next-generation product timeline, Rubin said, “We’re not talking about specifics, but obviously it’s going to be pretty soon. And it’s going to be a big leap forward for our products and our technology.
The previous system was in the hands of a large number of customers and potential customers, and the company got a lot of feedback, Rubin said.
“All that learning carried over into the reviews, and their customers turned to these next-generation products,” Rubin said. “We’re showing a huge leap forward in capacity and scale going forward.”
The ambition is to eventually reach a full body suit capable of capturing tactile feedback, like the body suits in the sci-fi movie. A loan player. Rubin said the company is working on parallel research journeys, one to improve the glove product and the other to extend the feedback to other parts of the body.
The company now has about 50 people and plans to double that number next year.
“We’ve made an incredible amount of progress in R&D,” Rubin said. “I’m just incredibly excited to share everything we’ve done. We’re going to start tapping into more consumer-oriented apps.”
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