Why We’re Bullish on AR; Announcing Our Investment in Illumix.
Gaming has always been a key use case for every consumer platform and AR will be no exception. For new platforms, optimal gameplay is uncertain, which creates a level playing field that positions startups to succeed against the big publishers. The AR market is predicted to be $133BN by 2021 and we believe startups, especially Illumix, are in a strong position to capture eye balls and significant market share.
There are many players out there (e.g. Apple, Google, Ubiquity6 and 6d.ai) who are building tools for game developers. In such a nascent market, a more vertically integrated approach is required because it is impossible to know what elements of gameplay need to be abstracted and codified before successful games are developed. We anticipate an influx of games that are built using ARKit and ARCore. However, we believe these games will be similar to one another and bound by the limitations of ARKit and ARCore. Instead, those who are building both the games and the underlying toolkit will have a truly unique and differentiated product.
We discovered a company doing exactly that during our 2017 Lightspeed Summer Fellowship Program when we first met Kirin Sinha, CEO and Founder of Illumix. She had a small but ferociously smart team of ex MIT and Stanford students around her at the time and has since been able to bring on some of the top and most experienced gaming experts to the team. When looking at pre-launch companies, I believe you can tell a huge amount from the founder’s ability to hire people. Those founders who can hire star players and not be intimidated to hire the very best folks in the industry are the ones to watch. That is exactly what we saw Katrina Lake at Stitch Fix do and exactly what we are now seeing Kirin Sinha do.
Illumix is an integrated technology and gaming company building a first-person, in-world gaming experience that will run on both iOS and Android. The team is leveraging their deep technical expertise to create environmentally-intelligent games that leverage the space around players in real-time in order to generate contextually relevant content, without requiring additional or specialized hardware. The company is taking a new approach to AR gaming, one that moves forward with purpose, puts the user experience first, and makes the real world as much a part of the game as the digitally generated content.
Rather than a geolocation game alone with optional AR features, as others are doing, Illumix’s focus is around understanding and using the environment around users. And building highly engaging experiences that borrow dynamics from traditional role-playing games (RPGs) and combine them with story elements from well-known Intellectual Properties.
2019 will see Illumix release not one but two AR games — both an original IP in addition to a licensed game. Both have superior technology, engaging AR user experiences and novel game dynamics.
Today, we’re proud to share that Illumix emerged from stealth mode and announced its raise of $8.6 million in seed funding led by Lightspeed and Maveron. With this funding, the company will invest in its products and partnerships, and expand its team.
Illumix is hiring. If you want to create the next dimension in mobile gaming, check out openings here.