On EQT Ventures’ investment in Varjo, the Finnish company that solved human-eye resolution VR/AR/MR

Today, Helsinki based Varjo, maker of the world’s first human-eye resolution VR/AR/MR platform announced its $8.2M Series A, led by EQT Ventures.

The investment was made alongside Lifeline Ventures, The VR Fund, and some of the world’s most prominent domain experts.

The easiest way to explain Varjo would be to simply let you experience the product and give you the same collective ‘WOAH’ experience that our team got a few months ago. But since VR, AR and MR all fall in the ‘seeing is believing’ category, and this doesn’t really do it justice…

…here we go:

We all buy into the sci-fi vision of Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality. But as with many promising and potentially exponential technologies, mass adoption is taking longer than anticipated. While around 9M VR headsets sold to date isn’t that bad, (not counting 88M Google cardboard kits*) killer applications outside of gaming are still rare.

Attempts to serve the professional markets, where there’s huge demand already, have had moderate success mainly due to current consumer grade hardware not being up to the required standards. Resolution, field of view, ergonomics and software support simply isn’t there yet. According to Nvidia, achieving human-eye resolution will take another 20 years following today’s trajectory of display technology and GPU development.

With this in mind, we were skeptical to say the least when we heard that Helsinki based Varjo somehow had managed to achieve human eye resolution VR/AR already today.

But after a few trips to Helsinki we realized that Urho, Timo, Roope, Jussi and the rest of the team at Varjo were onto something really transformative.

The Varjo 20|20 prototype, with its Bionic display

Most VR, AR and MR experiences today provide between 1–4 megapixels resolution, good enough play games and to understand the potential of the technology. Meanwhile, Varjo’s proprietary combination of software, hardware and insight into how the brain processes visual information, provide the experience of 70 megapixels per eye. This is a real game changer. The details of the textures in the scene are suddenly made visible and you can read even the smallest text.

Or as Wired put it:
 “it stopped looking like VR. It just looked like…well, like real life”.

This means that designers, engineers, architects, game developers and film makers can craft their products and experiences in the same environment they are intended to be consumed. The new level of detail and realism that Varjo offers, blurs the lines between the real and digital worlds even further.

Photo shot throught the Varjo Bionic Display (left) and today’s standard VR headsets (right)

But to us, the breakthrough in Varjo’s technology goes beyond mere image quality. The huge jump in experience could provide the last missing pieces for VR/AR/MR to become the foundation of the next, immersive computing platform to come, not just used for consumption, but also for creation.

Today, Varjo, which btw means ‘shadow’ in Finnish, announces its $8.2M Series A funding round. We are thrilled to support the Varjo team in their resolution revolution, and humble to be able to do it together with some of the best domain experts in the world as co-investors. We also hope you will be able to get your hands on a Varjo 20|20 headset soon to try it out for yourself.

Shoutouts to Lifeline Ventures for introducing us, and to Ashley who led the investment advisory process from EQT Ventures’ end.

Visit Varjo