The Beijing-based company Nreal secured $15M in funding from IICombined, the parent company of Gentle Monster. Nreal is one of the few AR glasses manufacturers that have survived from the first generation of companies in the space. They also recently released their second generation of glasses called Nreal Air.
Nreal decided to announce this news at a time when they increased their focus on the consumer AR market. This increased appeal is hoped to draw more users into AR technology.
In March, Alibaba led a funding round that raised $60M. This new funding will increase R&D spending, allow the company to accelerate its international expansion this year, and strengthen current partnerships with developers and partners. This will enable the company to provide users with more content and experiences.
Nreal co-founder Peng Jin said that the fashion and design aspects of AR glasses will continue to grow in the future. With that in mind, Jin believed that Gentle Monster — a famous fashion brand — would be an ideal investor for Nreal. This would allow Nreal to explore opportunities not just for their company, but for the entire AR industry.
Hankook Kim, co-founder of Gentle Monster and CEO of IICOMBINED Inc., praised this investment as an opportunity to explore the intersection of fashion and technology. She added that both parties would benefit from each other’s strengths and work together in the future to create more possibilities.
Tech at play
Nreal is a Beijing-based company that is preparing for when the Augmented Reality market takes off. They want to stay on the cutting edge of technology so they can have the best product when that time comes. Nreal hopes to pioneer the use of lightweight augmented reality glasses. Their product is described as a portable movie theater, and they’ve partnered with over ten carriers. So far, Nreal’s product has been launched in six countries. Since the initial release of Nreal Light, AR tech has seen incredible advancements according to the company.
Augmented reality glasses were recently released that are portable and small. They were created by a company with specific uses in mind, such as playing mobile games or watching TV shows. The goal of these glasses is to create an immersive experience in a design that can be worn as regular sunglasses.
Nreal Air claims to have the best augmented reality display available in devices currently on the market. Its glasses are considered a third lighter and more comfortable to wear than other AR glasses that connect to smartphones. The Nreal Air’s large virtual display can be seen from six meters away, and is useful for viewing photos and videos. The Nreal Light is similar, although it claims to have the best display for a AR mobile device.
Nreal’s partnership with Nio — an electric vehicle producer — is the first ever automotive application of AR technology. Additionally, Nreal has released a constant stream of new augmented reality apps that offer a lot of immersive content. This demonstrates how Nreal is leading the way in applying AR in real-world use cases.
Nreal debuted in China in August 2019. Thanks to business partners like Qualcomm and LG, Nreal has a significant global distribution network. This is because Nreal’s business partners operate in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
Nreal believes China’s demand will soon surpass Japan, Korea, and the United States as their most significant market.
Nreal unveiled its Nreal Air and Nreal X earlier in the week. These are AR glasses that were released in the company’s home country, although an AR adapter for Apple devices was also released there.
Gentle Monster opened its seventeenth store in Beijing in early August 2019 as part of their ongoing expansion in China. The company opened their first Chinese location in 2016, and then partnered with Huawei to produce smart glasses the following year.