HaptX announced a $12 million fundraising round Thursday, allowing the Seattle startup to develop its next generation of virtual reality gloves and robotics.
HaptX is partnering with the Idaho-based manufacturer, Advanced Input Systems on the new gloves, which will launch next year. HaptX’s first-generation product use microfluidic technology and motion tracking to let users to move through virtual environments and feel virtual objects with their hands. HaptX, previously known as AxonVR, unveiled the first version in 2017. The gloves work with a VR headset and tracker, connected to a central control box.
The company made improvements to the gloves, reducing the size and weight, and adding more precise haptic technology that makes the touch sensation more realistic. HaptX also unveiled an enterprise-focused software development kit with support for Unity and Unreal Engine 4, allowing users to create new VR experiences with the gloves.
Enterprise customers use HaptX Gloves to design virtual reality products and in training programs. HaptX has collaborated with Nissan, the U.S. Army, and others. HaptX is going after customers in the government as well as automotive, aerospace, and robotics industries.
The latest round brings HaptX’s total funding to $19 million to date.
Chicago-based Mason Avenue Investments led the round, with participation from existing investors NetEase and Amit Kapur of Dawn Patrol Ventures. In addition to Mason Avenue Investments, new investors include Taylor Frigon Capital Partners, Upheaval Investments, Keiretsu Forum, and Votiv Capital.
Last year, HaptX CEO and co-founder Jake Rubin said the company eventually plans to sell the gloves to consumers. But HaptX’s marketing director Andrew Mitrak said the company is focused on enterprise and industrial applications for now.
The seven-year-old company now has 20 employees, down from 35 in 2018. It’s one of several virtual reality startups in the Seattle area. Others include Pluto VR, Pixvana, VRStudios, VREAL, Endeavor One, Nullspace VR, Against Gravity, and Visual Vocal.
Monica Nickelsburg is GeekWire’s Civic Editor, covering technology-driven solutions to urban challenges and the intersection of tech and politics. Before joining GeekWire, she worked for The Week, Forbes, and NBC. Monica holds a BA in journalism and history from New York University. Follow her @mnickelsburg