Magic Leap raises $542 million Series B to bring realistic augmented reality to life

We don’t know much about augmented reality startup Magic Leap. What we do know is that it’s capable of raising a whole lot of money: It announced a $542 million Series B round today, raising its total funding to date to $592 million.

Magic Leap has yet to show the public a product. But even Google, which led the round, is buying in. Qualcomm Ventures, Legendary Entertainment and its CEO Thomas Tull, KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures and others also invested.

The Magic Leap elephant that greets visitors to its website. Photo by Magic Leap.

The Magic Leap elephant that greets visitors to its website. Photo by Magic Leap.

How did a three-year-old Florida company raise so much so quickly? Well, Magic Leap is claiming to have solved a major problem in augmented reality. Right now, most augmented reality involves a semi-transparent screen floating in your field of view. It doesn’t cover the entirety of what you can see, and it’s rare that it actually interacts with reality.

Magic Leap is presenting itself as a product that makes augmented reality actually look real. Its website shows a person opening their hands to reveal an elephant that slowly floats up as if flying. That kind of augmented reality takes some intense computing and advanced graphics. I have yet to see a headset and software demonstrated at that level from any company.

But if it works, Magic Leap is coming for just about every industry:

“[Magic Leap] will revolutionize the way people communicate, purchase, learn, share and play,” CEO Rony Abovitz said in a release.