Israeli company Infinity Augmented Reality (Infinity AR), which is developing augmented reality systems for medicine, training, and games, is raising $15 million from Chinese retail and Internet giant Alibaba in exchange for a 25% stake, sources inform "Globes". Infinity AR is listed on the pink sheet exchange in the US at a negligible market cap of $4.9 million. Alibaba's investment reflects a value of $60 million for the company, after money - a tremendous premium on the market value. The investment is expected to result in Infinity AR being delisted from trading. Trading in the share was halted in September, and it has published no reports to the stock exchange since the end of 2015.
SUN Corporation of Japan, which led a $5 million financing round in Infinity AR 18 months ago, is investing $3 million in the current round, in addition to Alibaba's investment. Other important investors in the Petah Tikva-based company include Singulariteam and Platinum Partners. A total of $7.2 million has been invested in Infinity AR to date.
Traded on the New York Stock Exchange at a $254 billion market cap, Alibaba has already invested in a number of technology ventures in Israel: $5 million in Twiggle, a startup that enables consumers to use natural language to search for products to buy on retail websites, and a few million dollars in Visualead, a company that has developed barcodes that can be scanned with a cellphone. Alibaba is cooperating with Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) to find new investments.
Infinity AR has developed AR software (technology that copies reality, while combining virtual elements that merge interactively with the real environment in real time). The software is included in the AR spectacles of other companies. According to Infinity AR, its product can be integrated in any hardware, including low-priced spectacles.
Infinity AR's product presents an enriched reality solution for medical fields, training, and games. In a demonstration conducted a year ago for a "Globes" reporter, a game was displayed in which the software identified the existence of a table, its outlines, and the nearby wall. A person wearing the spectacles can view a car traveling on the table, falling off of it and driving into the wall of the room. The car did not really exist, but it was combined with the real table and room displayed simultaneously to the system for the first time. In medicine, for example, surgeons can simultaneously view the real patient and previously or currently photographed images on the surface of his body.
Infinity AR cofounder CEO Motti Kushnir, a former marketing executive at an Intel subsidiary, said at that time, "In the next two years, this product will be in training, for example a display of airplane engines for airlines, and will then reach the casual games market. We're glad to be the engine of the augmented reality world." The company wanted to launch its product in 2016. A developers' version of the product developed by Infinity AR together with Lumus, which was responsible for the spectacles, was indeed launched in January, but it appears that the final consumer product has not been offered in the market. Kushnir founded the company together with CTO Dr. Matan Protter, who holds a doctorate in image processing from Technion Israel Institute of Technology and has experience in a number of startups in this field.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 1, 2016
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