Jaunt, the startup once focused on delivering cinematic VR, is laying off what the company says is “a significant portion of [their] staff” in a restructuring move that will bring the company’s focus away entirely from virtual reality to augmented reality.
“Today we had to make some difficult decisions in an effort to realign Jaunt for continued success,” the company said in a statement obtained by Variety. “We are restructuring the company, resulting in letting go of a significant portion of our staff.”
In a company blog post, Jaunt says they’ll be focusing efforts on further developing technologies that allow for the scaled creation of AR content. These changes won’t be effecting Jaunt China however, as it’s a Shanghai-based joint venture with Shanghai Media Group and China Media Capital.
The company continues: “This focus means though that we have had to make some tough decisions on our lines of business. We will be winding down a number of VR products and content services in the coming weeks. We will work with our current clients to deliver our existing commitments and manage this transition smoothly and professionally. In addition, this unfortunately means that some of our valued and highly talented colleagues will be moving on.”
Founded in 2013, and exiting out of stealth in 2014, Jaunt cut their teeth on cinematic VR, not only producing high-quality 360 video throughout the years, but also a professional-grade 360 camera dubbed Jaunt One (formerly NEO). At the time of this writing, Jaunt has secured over $100 million from companies such as Disney, Sky, and Axel Springer, with its latest funding round in 2015 garnering the company $65 million.
In August 2018, the company made a critical expansion of their JauntXR platform—possible writing on the wall that shifts were coming to the one-time VR focused company.
Jaunt then revealed a new prototype volumetric video solution for AR-compatible smartphones in September. Later, the company later took definitive steps in the direction of AR by acquiring both Personify’s ‘Teleporter’ volumetric video streaming tech and the engineers behind it.
The layoffs come soon after Mitzi Reaugh, previously VP of Global Business Development and Strategy, stepped up as CEO early this month. Jaunt’s former CEO George Kliavkoff has since joined MGM Resorts International as President of Entertainment and Sports.