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One Heavily Funded AR Headset Startup to Shut Down

While Microsoft and Apple strain to promote augmented reality (AR) as the subsequent major computing platform, lots of the startups aiming to defeat them to the punch are crashing and burning.

Daqri, which built enterprise-grade AR headsets, has closed its headquarter, laid off many of its staff members and is selling off assets ahead of a shutdown, former employees and sources close to the company said.

In an email, the nearly 10-year-old firm informed its customers that it was trying an asset sale and was shutting down its cloud and smart-glasses hardware programs by September end.

Daqri’s shutdown is only the newest among heavily funded augmented reality (AR) startups seeking to court enterprise clients.

Earlier this year, Osterhout Design Group dumped its AR glasses patents after takeover talks with Magic Leap, Facebook and others halted. Meta, an AR headset startup that raised $73 million from VCs including Tencent, also sold its assets earlier this year after the firm ran out of money.

Daqri confronted with substantial difficulties from rival headset makers, including Magic Leap and Microsoft, who were supported by more expansive battle chests and institutional connections. While the headset firm struggled to compete for enterprise clients, Daqri profited from investor excitement surrounding the broader space. That’s until the funding climate for AR startups moderated.

Daqri was, at one point, speaking with a big private-equity agency about financing ahead of a potential IPO; however, as the technical realities facing different AR firms came to light, the agency backed out and the deal crumbled.

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