DAQRI, the Los Angeles-based AR headset company known for its enterprise-focused Daqri Smart Glasses, is shutting down.

The company announced the shutdown via email recently, stating that it is taking part in an asset acquisition that will “put an end to [Daqri’s] industrial wearables business and begin the wind down of the company.”

As per the email, Daqri says both its Smart Glasses and Worksense cloud solutions will be retired at the end of September.

Since its founding in 2010, the company has garnered a total of $275 million in investment funds, the most recent of which brought in $260 million in 2017. In addition to its Smart Glasses, the company also previously produced its enterprise-focused industrial Smart Helmet.

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TechCrunch report cites former employees and “sources close to the company,” maintaining that Daqri has now shuttered its HQ and laid off many of its employees.

TechCrunch also notes that the company’s 18,000 ft² (~1,670 m²) headquarters is currently up for rent.

The company’s Smart Glasses, which initially launched in late 2017 for $5,000, connected to a discrete body-worn miniature computer and featured a 44-degree field of view.

Image courtesy Daqri

Much like Microsoft HoloLens, Daqri’s Smart Glasses were created for use by enterprise costumers including manufacturing, field services, maintenance and repair, inspections, construction, etc.

Daqri isn’t the first AR startup to find itself in troubled waters lately. Meta, the makers behind the Meta 2 AR headset announced its insolvency last September and subsequent sale to the newly formed IP holders Meta View earlier this year.

Osterhout Design Group, the AR headset startup which took in $58 million in investment funds since its founding in 1999, also closed its doors this year after failed acquisition talks with Magic Leap, Facebook and others.

Outside of the email announcing its shutdown, Daqri hasn’t made any further public statements.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • johann jensson

    Doesn’t surprise me. I doubt gamers have interest in AR, and for enterprise i guess it’s hit or miss. In most cases Quest like devices with a good pass-through quality should do the job all the same.

    We are a long way from AR devices that would look like normal lightweight glasses, and that’s the only thing normal consumers would accept for everyday wear and use.

    • Jan Ciger

      Well, the biggest problem for many of these devices is that “enterprise” is only an euphemism for “it costs so much that nobody else would buy it”, not that there is any intrinsic value for the enterprise in it. Especially given that their products were on the uber expensive end of the scale ($5k!) and less capable than e.g. Hololens.

      And then when it comes to enterprise, the gadget is only the start. A company doesn’t care about your gadgets, they need something that solves their problems. Buying glasses that do absolutely nothing out of the box and then having to pay another company to develop a solution makes zero commercial sense. So only few are ready to invest into something like that.

      Not to mention when the hardware is not only expensive but also unusable (ehm, Epson Moverio comes to mind … – $3k, no tracking, ancient Android, no usable sensors on board …)

      “Quest-like hw with a good pass-through” is an oxymoron. Camera-based pass-through is never going to be good, simply the lag is too much for head-worn hardware. If only the overlay jitters and lags (like e.g. on Hololens), it is not such a big deal but when the entire image is delayed, you are going to have problems.

      Also, AR hw is often used in situations where you need to actually have peripheral vision – think about a maintenance tech somewhere in a factory where he or she needs to be aware of their surroundings or they could get crushed by some moving robot or even a passing forklift. So something like a Quest would be a total nonstarter.

      Many of these devices are solutions looking for a problem, unfortunately.

      • johann jensson

        Good points!

      • Hivemind9000

        “Camera-based pass-through is never going to be good”. Never is a long time. There are some camera solutions that address processing lag by providing dedicated hardware for the task, but they are currently specialized solutions (e.g. Zed Mini). Companies like Varjo seem to also be working on a real-time hi-def pass-through VR/AR technology, but haven’t seen anything solid from them yet.

      • Immersive_Computing

        Hololens is impressive, Hololens 2 is something I’m very interested in using. AR has huge potential (Google maps in sunglasses would free people from ‘smartphone pose’) and it’s not hard to project the development a decade.

        I’d recommend watching Hulu’s “The First” to see an example of “heavy glasses” AR being used in a daily role, the show is set in 2030’s which seems right in terms of development. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6c207b2848a4caa90f402fc42c23071072f89efac9134a2626e15bc6b00adda0.jpg

      • dk

        the pass-through on varjo is somewhat good I hear but this is just the start

        and pass through plus the tiny sunglasses form factor of the nvidia light field display prototype is the only feasible way at the moment to get solid non transparent virtual object and blacks in average or bright lighting in a room……wave guides and so on r just a temporary good enough fix for the moment

        pass through doesn’t mean it will be a box on your face forever

    • Your wrong about that, Tilt5 kickstarter goes live this Month.
      Tested comes with a video from it soon too.

      • David Quinn

        I don’t want to criticise TiltFive, they are doing their own thing,
        But tabletop games are very niche.

  • Huh. never hear of em til today. sad.

  • sfmike

    With a loss to investors of $275 million this is another failure that shows how overhyped AR and VR was a couple years ago and does not bode well for the future.

    • Hivemind9000

      I agree. Less money, slower but more methodical R&D rather than rushing products to market. These massive failures are going to suck the funding out of the industry before it’s really had a chance to get going. This will probably be the same story for Magic Leap in 2020.

    • WyrdestGeek

      Overhype is part of the natural order of things.

      I agree that it sucks to see closure after closure, and I also agree it makes the future look not great.

      But the only way to get out of an overhyped period is for everyone (most everyone) to panic and dump it, and then just hope that there’s enough actual value left over to slowly get things going again.

      I think it will happen. I’m just not sure how many years it will take.

    • asshat

      there were a good handful of very very useful features that daqri did first and then the hololense saw how successful daqris R&D were for the features and then copied them. specifically the remote viewing feature. It sounds like an obvious feature now, but there was a time where the hololense did not have it and the daqri did.

  • VirtualRealityNation

    I am of the opinion that when the HoloLens 2 launches enterprise users will start to see the real substantial benefit for the first time. It won’t hit overnight but soon after there will be plenty of use cases for enterprise to use AR for legitimate sales or savings. I had one fortune 500 company tell me that they see the eventual HoloLens AR system saving them as much as 100 million dollars. By thinking outside the box and being creative with business solutions there will be some huge winners in the game. I don’t know much about Daqri but highly doubt they were very enthusiastic about the new HoloLens.

  • Foreign Devil

    Would love to know which private startup investors poured $270 million into this one.

    • David Quinn

      He would love to remain anonymous.

    • Atul Salgaonkar

      According to Crunchbase, the main investor has been Tarsadia Investments.

    • maistor kokir

      I don’t think they lost those 270mil, when you invest so much money, you probably get a huge share of the company, even so, it’s impressive, that Daqri was ever valued so much.

  • The Bard

    Damn it. They basically stole someone’s money with bs product. “Nice” ride on someone’s money and hopes. This should end with prison for many people.

    • Hivemind9000

      Care to elaborate Angry Man? How did they “steal” someone’s money? Please do tell.

      • G-man

        how the hell did they legitimately spend 260 million dollars in a year? they are working on one product that seemed to be mostly done. someone paid themself a bonus.

        • Hivemind9000

          Well that’s a good question and I’m sure their investors will be across that. Likewise, people don’t pay themselves bonuses in modern businesses – boards typically approve them via contractual targets etc – otherwise the recipient could go to jail.

          Hard to say what happened. I don’t think they were as close to production as you think – haven’t seen a solid demo or independent review online (have you?).

    • Moreteavicar

      Actually this isn’t so far removed from the truth. A certain member of senior leadership used Daqri money to finance their own private helicopter… but it was actually a very good product in the end.

    • MosBen

      I mean, some investors put their money into Facebook and it made them rich. Some put their money into companies like this one and lost it. There’s certainly a possibility that fraud occurred, but unless there’s evidence the most likely possibility is just that it was a new business that failed to get traction, as most new businesses do.

  • I wasn’t expecting that, they could fail.

  • q23main

    Weirdly coincidental with Apple’s confirmation of AR development. Hope investors will get their money back.

  • dota

    startups in usa r bound to fail
    reason : high costs
    go to asia , cheap techies @1000$ per month

  • Jimmy Ray

    5000 for the product. When you can get leap or others for less. No wonder they are closing.

  • G-man

    someone stole all that money