Budding augmented reality (AR) gaming developers Ogmento announced today that it has raised a healthy $3.5 million from Chart Venture Partners, CNF Investments and other private investors. The funding announcement is a big step forward for AR startups as no previous gaming company had received funding to build games using the emerging technology. The further recognition of AR by venture capitalists could be a sign that technology is beginning to break through and is ready for greater public consumption.
“This investment allows us to expand our operations to support our growth while putting development resources into our own intellectual property,” said Ori Inbar, co-founder of Ogmento and founder of the popular augmented reality blog Games Alfresco.
Ogmento has partnered with well-known corporations like PBS, Orange Telecom and Penguin Publishing to produce AR applications. They are currently working with companies in various fields to produce some new intriguing apps, including the soon-to-be-released Put a Spell game that is designed to help children learn to spell. Kids will be able to interact with a 3D panda bear model which will instruct them to place physical cards into an AR scene in order to spell words.
For Chart Venture Partners, Ogmento is another company in a line of emerging technology investments. Chart has previously invested in companies such as FortiusOne, which develops geospatial imaging technology, and RemoteReality, makers of 360-degree live-video devices. As Ogmento co-founder Brian Selzer points out, having experience with these companies makes Chart a good fit for Ogmento.
“Given Chart’s investment activity in hardware and software areas related to AR, they understand the true potential of this technology. Adding a partner to our management team is an exciting endorsement of our business,” said Selzer.
Personally, I find Ogmento’s initial games to be quite inspiring. The Put a Spell game is an excellent use of AR technology to engage kids in learning, and their Sketch AR experiment, which will produce AR models based on live drawings, is an innovative turn for AR development. The thought of kids using AR to instantly bring their doodles to life in 3D is truly fascinating. I’m excited to see other kinds of interesting products Ogmento can come up with now that they have a good chunk of change to work with.