Chinese AR glasses startup Nreal announced it’s raised a fresh $100 million Series C financing round, something it says will be used for R&D and to fund wider international expansion.

As first reported by CNBC, the latest round reportedly brings the company’s valuation to $700 million. That figure was obtained by an anonymous source with knowledge of the deal, CNBC says, however the company has yet to comment.

The Series C round was led by YF Capital, NIO Capital, and Angel Plus China, with participation by Sequoia Capital China, GP Capital, GL Ventures. According to data reported by Crunchbase, this brings the company’s lifetime funding to $171 million.

Nreal is probably best known for its smartphone-tethered AR glasses, dubbed Nreal Light which made headlines back at CES 2019 for its relatively small form-factor in comparison to Magic Leap One or Microsoft HoloLens.

Image courtesy Nreal

Nreal Light achieves this by offloading processing to a compatible smartphone. It also incorporates what are called ‘birdbath’ optics, which are notably cheaper to produce than waveguides and typically have greater light efficiency.

Nreal Light has been on sale through telecoms in Japan, South Korea, Germany, and Spain, typically priced between $600 and $820 depending on the region.

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Notably the Beijing-based company hasn’t launched Nreal Light in China or the United States, something Nreal CEO Chi Xu says may happen at some point in 2022 along with “more countries as well,” Chi Xu tells CNBC.

The company’s Series C comes at a time when Apple is clearly making preparations for its own XR headsets. A recent report holds that Apple is sourcing parts for its VR headset. A mid-2020 report from serial leaker John Prosser holds that Apple’s AR glasses are headed to market sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.

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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.
  • Rafael

    We need more AAA exclusive games , more than more VR MR Glasses

    • kontis

      This news has nothing to do with gaming. Heck, even Facebook’s interest in HMDs has close to nothing to do with gaming.

      • sntwm

        even Facebook’s interest in HMDs has close to nothing to do with gaming

        Which is sad, since it seems to be and will be the most common consumer use case for VR as far as we can tell and game development requirements and creativity is what can teach exactly what hardware features need to be advanced (reference: GPUs).

      • dk

        rayban stories has nothing to do with gaming and there were multiple articles about it ….I mean it’s not called the road to gaming ….so not a big problem

      • AS

        This website has nothing to do with gaming, that’s why it was posted here.

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    • sfmike

      Investors have been talked into believing AR is the next billion dollar cash cow that will replace the smart phone so they are all over this now as VR didn’t produce the instant billions in profits they were all promised a few years ago. This has sucked so much research and development away from VR it sucks. Smart phones have screwed up everyone’s lives and wearing one on your face all day will screw up society even more when it comes about. Wow now I can surf and text while driving that will be swell. VR take me away please while you can keep your AR glasses.

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  • asdf

    the founder of nreal used to work for magic leap headsets which went through a ton of American funded research…. kind of shitty for a company to just take all the information and start their own company in china with it.

    • Lucio Lima

      And it looks like it can do better!
      Because magic leap glasses suck!

    • Hivemind9000

      Is Alibaba a US company now? (they funded Magic Leap alongside many, many other US and International funds).

      Stop being so nationalistic/xenophobic. It’s how the venture capital world works. Startup money comes from all over the world, and technology very rarely stays put in one country/company (except when there are patents protecting the core tech). If you want to see progress with AR/VR, this is how it happens – with many companies competing, not one big elephant (magic leap) sucking all the air out of the market.

      • Anonymous

        There is nothing xenophobic when Chinese companies are, by law, required to collect information and wire them to the Chinese government for censorship and targeted brainwashing state propaganda, and it does not end just within China.

        Also I don’t know what dumb head investor would think investing in China is a good idea now. The CCP is reverting back to its old ways brutally stripping cash from companies, forcibly banning contents and Xi personally dislikes. Not to mention if more hardware sanctions come this AR headset would be impossible to produce.

    • dk

      it’s a good thing Nreal Light has absolutely nothing in common with the Magic Leap1 or else ML would have had a cause to sue …and the case was thrown out since they hand nothing …and Nreal is using optics that have been on the market for years and r just optimized

  • VirtualRealityNation

    I have 10 pairs of these glasses. I use them for Commercial AR sales presentations and ace up your sleeve deal pitches. They are the real deal. Apple will have a great AR headset someday I am sure. Maybe that is 1-2 years down the road, maybe that is 3-5 years away. In the meantime, for the money these are the best by far.

  • sebrk

    The day I put on Chinese Xi AR-glasses is the day you can put a bullet in my head.

  • Notice that they plan to enter US and China with A NEW CHEAPER AND LIGHTER DEVICE, not with Nreal Light… that so I guess is going to die

    • dk

      the announcement of the somewhat improved new headset is supposed to be on the 30th apparently

  • oomph2

    This is it
    It will change the world

  • AS

    Still ca t buy nreal light in the uk…