Emerge Comes Out Of Stealth Bringing A New Dimension Of Presence To XR

Nov 13, 2019 · 4 min read

With $12M in Series A funding, Emerge aims to enable more meaningful, engaging, and diverse cross-reality interactions that bring us closer to the people we care about

By Mauricio Teran, Isaac Castro, Sly Lee

Today, Emerge is proud to announce the close of a $12M Series A led by M13, with participation from Vulcan Capital, LionTree Partners, Rokk3r Fuel ExO, Ocean Azul Partners, One Way Ventures, and other investors. This brings the total investment to $18M to date with support from Mundi Ventures, Corigin Ventures, Golden Ventures, Afore Capital, Metropolis Ventures, MiLA Capital, and Autochrome Ventures.

Emerge was born from a passion for leveraging frontier technologies to bring engagement, presence, and human connection to a world that seems smaller, yet more divided than ever.

At Emerge, we think of presence as connection: feeling connected to the experience, to the people you care about, to the shared moment. Even as extended reality (XR) becomes the next computing platform, it’s still a spectator sport constraining our first instinct to interact with our bare hands to reach out, connect, engage, and feel.

What does that mean? If you take a quick dive into the neuroscience of touch, it is at the core of the human experience; it affects our cognition, our emotions, our sense of bonding and connection, our learning, memory and retention, even our behavior.

At Emerge, we are building a consumer product that enables users from distant locations to physically touch, feel, and share immersive content in XR using their bare hands. Our goal is to create new interaction standards and a new language of touch for multi-sensory XR experiences.

What does this really mean? We have a few ideas, but are more curious to learn what creators and artists may come up with, which is why we’ll be releasing an early access developer program in Q2 2020. Under the umbrella of communication, these are some of the experiences we’re exploring:

Tabletop & Social Games

  • Playing virtual chess with your grandfather and giving him a high five
  • Mom playing a game with her child, interacting with characters that come to life
  • Using touch-sensations to convey emotion in place of emojis

Learning & Creative Play

  • Using your hands to sculpt digital clay
  • Kids playing and sharing digital toys with their cousins abroad
  • Learning about the solar system, feeling the rotation of a neutron star

Multi-sensory Meditation & Wellbeing

  • Touch-assisted relaxation experiences like feeling an ocean wave
  • Shape and feel music with your hands
  • Virtual pets you can interact with and feel, like a Tamagotchi 2.0 or Pikachu

Our personal motivation comes from being far from the people we love. As immigrant founders with loved ones as close as Mississippi and as far as Ecuador and Spain, current technologies limit our ability to feel present. Presence is about experiencing life together, and we hope our platform can bridge distance, allowing people to connect and feel close in a diverse set of engaging and meaningful experiences.

Emerge was founded by Sly Lee (CEO), Isaac Castro (CTO), and Mauricio Teran (CFO and Head of Insights), who met at Singularity University, a Google/NASA sponsored program, and who hold awards from MIT, Forbes, and the World Economic Forum. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Emerge team consists of tech leaders with former roles building the James Webb Space Telescope and the Mars Rover at NASA JPL, former DFJ, GV, Daqri, Raytheon, have brought consumer electronics and XR products to market, and hold several granted patents in hardware-enabled communications technologies.

We are fortunate to have such outstanding and experienced advisors as Anousheh Ansari (CEO XPRIZE / Astronaut), James Costos (former US Ambassador / HBO), and Brenda Freeman (former CMO Magic Leap). We also get invaluable strategic guidance from the partners at M13, who are proving every day that they are not your average VC firm.

Recent advances in displays, cloud computing and 5G, commoditization of key sensors, and advancements in AI, indicate the time is right for the transition to the next computing platform. We are so excited to work with developers and artists who want to join us in exploring new possibilities and creating meaningful experiences in this next paradigm of XR: new ways to share our feelings and emotions, new ways to communicate, create empathy, connect, and feel present with the people we care about.

So what’s next? Emerge is growing our stellar team and engaging with amazing creators! Be part of the journey:

Careers | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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Emerge is creating a future where distance and time don’t stand in the way of feeling present

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