Lynx, the French XR hardware startup known for crowdfunding the Lynx R-1 mixed reality headset, today announced it’s secured $4 million in its Series A round, led by social VR platform Somnium Space.

Alongside Somnium Space, participants in the latest funding round also include what Lynx calls early supporters of the company and “other investors involved in the AR/VR field such as ex-Meta and Google engineers.”

This brings the company’s total outside funding to $6.8 million, according to Crunchbase data, following the R-1 headset’s $800,000 Kickstarter campaign back in late 2021 and a seed round of $2 million in early 2019.  As a part of the deal Artur Sychov, founder & CEO of Somnium Space, is joining the company’s board of directors.

Built on Qualcomm’s XR2 chipset, Lynx R-1 combines high quality cameras and virtual reality displays to achieve passthrough AR in addition to standard VR (aka, mixed reality), making it an early pioneer of the category. The headset also ditches the standard Fresnel lenses for a novel optic called a “four-fold catadioptric freeform prism,” which is said to slim down the size of Lynx R-1 seemingly beyond what current Fresnels can do.

“At Somnium Space we truly believe in the future of open and decentralized Metaverse which empowers its users. This includes, not only software, but also very importantly hardware,” says Artur Sychov, Founder & CEO of Somnium Space. “The Lynx team led by Stan has created an extraordinary AR / VR device (Lynx-r) with openness in mind which will change and revolutionize the way we all think and interact with this market category. I am very happy to support this company and believe that together we will push the boundaries and potential of the VR/AR industry forward.”

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Founded in 2019, Lynx has high ambitions for its R-1 headset too. Priced at $600 for its consumer version, the company is looking to lead the way into the same product category that many established players are soon to enter, including Meta with Project Cambria and Apple with its rumored headset, reportedly code named N301.

“We have this opportunity right here to create the European Champion of Mixed Reality with our work at Lynx, supported by a vibrant community of users and developers desperate to see alternatives to Big Tech companies products and their closed ecosystems.” says Stan Larroque, founder and CEO of Lynx. “What’s the point of creating a European Metaverse if the underlying platform, the door we use to access it, remains in the hands of the same big players with their damaging business models?” he adds.

Since finalizing the design of Lynx R-1, the company has also completed an office expansion in Paris, now at more 200 square meters of R&D, and established a new office in Taiwan.

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  • Engorged

    Really curious about this project. If they manage to provide wall and furniture recognition the same way how Quest and Cambria does, it will be really amazing!

    • NL_VR

      This can be good and its seems to be way cheaper than Cambria

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Yeah, but also lower specs, more like the Quest 2 than the cambria.

        • NL_VR

          Yes of course.
          But it can work verry well like Quest 2 does.
          People have an assumption that Quest 2 = bad, which is wrong.

          I hope success for Lynx even if im a little bit skeptical about that.

        • Johnatan Blogins

          Except Cambria big pitch is color pass through, which is also on this HMD, in that way it’s closer to Cambria than Quest, and the form factor is slimmer than quest too…

          • Andrew Jakobs

            But as it is, it’s terrible for VR without any lightblocking parts. Already hate it when a litttle bit of light comes down the noseblock of my Vive Pro.

          • Kilgore Trout

            It comes with magnetic snap-on blinders for VR content.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            So they say, but I haven’t seen those in any presentation or showcase yet.

  • VR Gamer

    Competition is excellent for us. Cant wait until AR replaces the smart phone. Going to be an amazing time.

    • NL_VR

      This is a MR headset.
      AR via passthrough.

      With AR most people think of light weight almost like glasses. But what i have learned thats still far in the future to expected standard.
      MR is the way to go before true AR.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    In December 2021 Somnium Space announced that they were working on a 2800 x 2800 XR2 based VR HMD by partnering with enterprise VR gear maker VRengineers (XTAL, UHD/eye, 180°FoV, USD 8,900-11,500), with tons of features, targeting a Q4 2022 release. They consider themselves a metaverse company, running their own VR social network (neither good nor popular according to Steam reviews) and positioned their HMD as an open device in contrast to closed models from other vendors. Meaning no one besides Meta can create a social network based on Quest 2 if Meta takes 30% of each sale, or nearly 50% in Horizon Worlds.

    The question back then was that their business model might be. Pretty much any other affordable consumer XR2 HMD is backed by a company with deep pockets(Quest/Meta, Pico/ByteDane, iQiyi Adventure Dream/Baidu) allowing to subsidize it, while Somnium Space is a tiny startup selling mostly hype (“the world’s only VR metaverse built on blockchain”) with no significant active user base on which to build. So it seemed like their HMD announcement was less about actually releasing a product, and more about convincing investors that Somnium Space is a big deal and worth giving money too.

    I haven’t heard about them since then, but if they now are a main investor in Lynx, who at least have shown working prototypes, this probably means that their metaverse hype sales pitch was successful, they collected a bunch of money in their next investment round, which they will now give to companies that could actually release an HMD that would fit into Somnium Space’s metaverse ideas.

    I’m not complaining, as I’d really like to see Lynx succeed, but it is a reminder how weird the world of venture capital can be and that a lot of money can flow not based on which is the most feasible product, but who sells their idea best to people with a lot of money but not necessarily a lot of insight into how the XR market is (currently) developing.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Hmmm, how many times has the release of this headset been postponed. Not having much confidence in this headset.

    • Corellianrogue

      It’s only had delays because of the same reason every company has had delays/issues (even Meta, rumour has it that the Cambia was meant to be released last year) because of the supply chain issues. But Lynx say that the R1 is finished and being manufactured now and I think they said they should start sending them to Kickstarter backers in July and if you order one now then they’ll start releasing them to the general public around September.

  • Congratulations to the team, very well deserved