castAR, formerly known as Technical Illusions, an augmented reality gaming startup, announced this week that it has closed Series A funding of $15 million from Playground Global and the company’s seed investors.
castAR previously completed a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, meeting its target in less than 48 hours, attracting over $1 million in crowdfunding for its gaming system that provides holographic-like 3D images to users for a shared, interactive gameplay experience.
The new round of funding will be used to drive forward business and continue product development efforts as the company looks to drive adoption among tabletop and interactive game developers. castAR is also focusing its attention on attracting engineering, business, and design talent as it works towards a 2016 commercial launch.
David Henkel-Wallace, CEO of castAR, stated:
“Among all the confusion about what separates AR from VR, what’s lost is fun. People want a simple, accessible, fun solution that they can just pick up and play with their friends, without dealing with a bulky, uncomfortable headset, much less being tethered to a big computer. Our goal is to see castAR on store shelves across North America, aligned with some recognizable brands in tabletop and interactive gaming. Playground’s support will help us get there.”
castAR was founded by former Valve Software employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson who had previously launched that company’s virtual reality initiatives. At castAR, the team set out to create a fun, compact, and fully self-contained augmented reality system that users could simply put on and begin playing. While several games are currently in development, castAR is also working with third party developers to build original gaming experiences that may be played on a variety of physical surfaces.
Andy Rubin, managing Director and founder at Playground Global and one of the original co-founders of Android, added:
“I was really intrigued by David, Jeri, and Rick’s approach to tackling the problem of how to drive mainstream adoption of AR. They’re the only company I found to be simplifying the utility and application of augmented and virtual reality technology into a fun, accessible, and portable system that will wow kids and adults alike.”
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