Hololight, a software maker focused on AR and VR enterprise solutions, has raised $12 million in funding to expedite the development of its XR streaming platform, Hololight Hub.
The investment aims to propel the Hololight’s XR streaming technology empowers enterprises across various sectors, including product development, manufacturing, training, and service industries.
The Hololight Hub, an enterprise streaming platform, caters to immersive applications such as virtual reality and augmented reality. Helping to enable global availability and easy deployment of XR applications, Hololight Hub has proven to empower enterprises as they use XR to improve their industrial processes.
“We went directly to industry customers as we were coming from the industry,” Susanne Haspinger, chief operating officer, said in an interview with VentureBeat. “We knew that we could speak their language. And by working with them, we figured out the problems, like not having enough processing power or how hard it was to integrate security when dealing with sensitive data on mobile devices. We just thought we can solve all these issues by streaming and putting everything on the server, leaving your secure data safe.”
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The latest funding, spearheaded by European growth equity firm Flatz Hoffmann, along with support from existing investors EnBW New Ventures, Bayern Kapital, and Future Energy Ventures, propels Hololight’s total investment to $27 million.
This strategic investment aims to fuel the expansion of XR streaming capabilities, facilitating future-proof XR infrastructures and fostering innovative collaborations and digital workflows in three-dimensional spaces.
The Hololight Hub can streamline global deployment of XR applications, addressing the unique challenges in industrial environments related to computing, data, and security. The platform achieves this by streaming entire AR or VR applications across local servers and the cloud, enhancing content quality, accessibility, security, and management while simplifying deployment.
Hololight was founded by Florian Haspinger, Alexander Werlberger, Susanne Haspinger, and Luis Bollinger. Susanne Haspinger said that Werlberger came running over to them one day in college and showed them a story on a tablet about Microsoft’s HoloLens technology.
“We always wanted to do something together, but we never really knew what until HoloLens came out,” she said. “We saw how much 3D data there was and so much knowledge available through it, and we thought this was the next step so that the data isn’t locked up in a 2D screen.”
In contrast to many other startups, they chose to create a VR startup focused on enterprise technology rather than consumers. But the problem with XR for enterprises is that the tech wasn’t designed at the outset for high-security needs of enterprises.
“We’ve always been on the enterprise. In early years, it was testing. Now customers are speeding it up in the production areas, beyond innovation areas,” she said.
While consumer growth hasn’t happened as quickly as expected and prices haven’t come down as much as hoped for with the newest technologies, enterprises have been adopting a lot of XR applications to save a lot of money on training. XR has been much better at training as it is so immersive and engaging, said Susanne Haspinger.
XR streaming solves major challenges surrounding industrial applications and addresses the
unique computing, data, and security challenges of these environments.
The company focused on solving the security issues by streaming from servers and only sending pixel streams to the VR devices. That meant they could stream it from secure servers over the cloud or stream it from on-premise servers at company facilities. The work started on the HoloLens and now the company supports HoloLens 2 and Meta Quest 2. The company is working on getting the software to also work on the Magic Leap 2 and the Meta Quest 2 headsets.
The company has support for iOS and is looking forward to the Apple Vision Pro, said Susanne Haspinger. The company doesn’t yet support HTC Vive headsets, Susanne Haspinger said that it will consider any platforms that become popular.
Hololight has spent years improving its proprietary streaming technology, which is now the backbone of its enterprise-grade streaming platform. By streaming entire AR or VR applications across local servers and the cloud, Hololight Hub revolutionizes the XR experience by amplifying quality, access, and security of immersive content while simplifying management and deployment.
The company is based in Innsbruck, Austria, with a lot of employees in places such as Germany and Durham, North Carolina. It has about 80 people.
Now the company has seen revenue growth of 800% in the past three years and it has served over 150 customers, including major companies like BMW, Nokia and Engie, alongside other automotive, aerospace and defense clients.
BMW was able to speed up the design and production cycles for its cars from seven years to six years, thanks to technologies like Hololight on XR devices.
The company boasts strategic partnerships with industry giants like Amazon Web Services, Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Verizon. It charges customers using a subscription fee for licenses. Rivals include Nvidia’s Cloud XR technology, but Susanne Haspinger said it is friendly competition as they are partners too.
Hololight CEO Florian Haspinger said in a statement the company will be able to fast-track growth at its office in Durham.
“As the pioneers of enterprise XR streaming, it is our vision to stream any XR app on Hololight Hub to help enterprises break down the barriers to capitalizing on immersive technologies,” said Florian Haspinger. “XR streaming is helping these companies to achieve improved data security, infrastructure flexibility, high-fidelity XR experiences, and global availability across their XR initiatives – all in a highly cost effective way. The addition of Flatz Hoffmann as a visionary investor to the board underscores the expansion of our trajectory, and the steadfast support of our existing investors demonstrates their confidence in the progress they’ve seen at Hololight and the future of enterprise XR.”
Christopher Hoffmann, Partner at Flatz Hoffmann, said in a statement, “Our strategy is to identify emerging European champions with ambitions for technology leadership and resource efficiency. Hololight is a perfect fit, competing successfully in the global XR market and shaping the industry with Hololight Hub. We are also highly impressed by Hololight’s inclusive management culture and strategic resilience in building a leader in spatial computing. Flatz Hoffmann looks forward to supporting the team as it scales from venture to growth.”
Susanne Haspinger said the fundraising took about 10 months to a year, but it wasn’t more difficult than previous funding rounds. She said the team focused on getting the right investors who believed in the space and the efficiency of better engagement for things like training through 3D simulations.
And Marc Umber, head of investment at EnBW New Ventures, said in a statement, “We believe that this strong team and its groundbreaking technology have already begun to change the way we work in the future when it comes to industrial design, construction, engineering, services and quality assurance. The team has created something truly spectacular for industrial use cases. With the increasing penetration of next-generation mobile networks, XR streaming will also change the way we interact with our environment in our daily lives. Hololight has grown remarkably over the past few years, which is a testament to the trust and credibility they’ve built with their customers and partners, and we share that confidence without reservation.”
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