AR Smart Glass Manufacturer MAD Gaze Notches $19 Million in Funding
The Chinese Augmented Reality smart glasses manufacturer MAD Gaze announced that it has secured $19 million (130 million yuan) in a Series A funding round from DNS Capital from China and Black30 Ventures from Hong Kong. The company’s flagship smart glasses GLOW should hit the market soon and will be cheaper than the Nreal Light AR glasses.
In 2018, MAD Gaze had been named as one of Fast Company’s 50 technology companies from China to watch. Soon, the company had raised $11 million in a Pre-A round. In 2019, the AR company launched an Indiegogo campaign for its new $399 MAD Gaze GLOW smart glasses. That campaign raised more than $650,000.
Over the past four years, MAD Gaze has launched seven Augmented Reality glasses including the Ares, X5, X5S, X5P, Vader, GLOW and GLOW Plus. Additionally, the company launched a smart watch known as MAD Gaze Watch during the CES in January this year. The smart watch has a bone conduction technology and a gesture control feature that also controls the company’s new GLOW smart lasses. MAD Gaze is also planning to run an Indiegogo campaign for the smart watch before the end of March.
The MAD Gaze GLOW AR glasses have foldable temples and are connected to an Android smartphone through a USB-C cable. It can, thus, display native apps or the smartphone content in a 45-degree field of view. It also supports spatial tracking and gesture control. The glasses have a weight of 75 grams.
On the software side, the MAD Gaze smart glass has its own app store which has several apps, including games. Approximately 3,000 developers already have the MAD Gaze Software Development Kit (SDK) who will be experimenting with it in the coming months. The store will provide lots of apps including games when deliveries begin this spring.
Imminent Market Launch
According to the company founder and CEO Jordan Cheng, the new infusion of cash will go towards its expansion across four continents. The company’s customers include Oracle, IBM, Nespresso, Decathlon, Cathay Pacific, Microsoft and Sony.
MAD Gaze plans to sell 50,000 devices across the world this year, including 10,000 devices in the U.S. The MAD Gaze Augmented Reality glasses will appear in April this year but the company said there could be delays occasioned by the impact of coronavirus.
On the Indiegogo page, MAD Gaze describes its Mixed Reality smartphone GLOW Plus as a “new replacement of tablets and laptops”. They are binocular mixed reality glasses in a hybrid form.
Users can just plug and play to connect GLOW to their Android smartphones through a USB-C display port. Users can control their smartphones and even view what’s on them using the Mixed Reality glasses. The glasses have a 53-degree FOV. Several videos on the Indiegogo campaign page show how the apps work.
MAD Gaze has an online app marketplace known as MAD Store. It also has an automatic AR app generation platform, a developer platform, an AR Cloud, a Developer Console, ME Support and a remote solution platform for its GLOW smart glasses.
The apps in its store already represent diverse enterprise and consumer verticals including medical, industry, education and security.
MAD Gaze CEO Cheng believes that the company’s first mover advantage, the unique gesture control, its large developer ecosystem as well as its affordable $400 will give the company a great advantage in the market. Microsoft and Magic Leap are already focused on the enterprise market so MAD Gaze’s key competitor is the other Chinese MR player, Nreal, which is planning to launch its Augmented Reality glasses in both Asia and the U.S. this fall.
Even as a first-mover, MAD Gaze may still have to grapple with Apple’s expected launch of its smart glasses in 2022 or 2023 which is likely to cause ripples in the market. The MAD Gaze GLOW headset will be available for purchase from April, 2020.