M&E Connections

AT&T Becomes Latest Investor in AR Startup Magic Leap

AT&T has become the latest investor in Plantation, Fla.-based technology startup Magic Leap as the companies signed a strategic deal under which the telecom giant will be the exclusive wireless distributor of Magic Leap consumer products in the U.S. AT&T didn’t specify how much it invested in Magic Leap, which previously received funding from tech giants Alibaba and Google.

In March, Magic Leap said it raised an additional $461 million in Series D equity funding with $400 million contributed by The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment arm, and the balance from new investors the company didn’t identify. That boosted its total Series D funding to $963 million, Magic Leap said. Earlier in the Series D round, the Singapore government-owned holding company Temasek became an investor as well. In all, the company had raised more than $2.3 billion as of early March, according to published reports.

Magic Leap has developed proprietary spatial computing and experiential platforms and its initial product is the Magic Leap One, Creator Edition, a lightweight, wearable computer headset that was designed to enhance real world experiences with digital augmented reality (AR) content. It’s scheduled to ship later this year to qualified designers and developers.

The deal with AT&T “combines Magic Leap’s focus on transformational technology and products with AT&T’s innovative network and distribution to usher in a new kind of contextually aware, intelligent, human-computer interactivity,” AT&T said in a news release.

“AT&T is excited to pair our pioneering technologies, unmatched network, content platform, and vast customer ecosystem with Magic Leap’s efforts to build the next generation of computing,” according to AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan, who has observer rights with Magic Leap’s board, AT&T said. “We’re designing and offering the future of entertainment and connectivity, and this exclusive arrangement — in combination with our 5G leadership position — will open up new opportunities and experiences,” he said in the news release.

Magic Leap selected AT&T because “we believe in a combined vision of expanding high-speed networks, edge computing, and deep integration with creative content,” Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap founder, CEO and president, said in the news release. He added: “Coupling the strength of the evolving AT&T network with Magic Leap’s spatial computing platform can transform computing experiences for people.”

When Magic Leap One becomes available for consumers, “AT&T customers will be among the first to experience it in select AT&T stores in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, with more markets to follow,” AT&T said.

At Magic Leap’s website, the company opened a Creator Portal, where developers are invited to register and download the company’s software development kit. Of Magic Leap One, Creator Edition, it says at the site: “We’re adding another dimension to computing. Where digital respects the physical. And they work together to make life better. Magic Leap One is built for creators who want to change how we experience the world.”