Google acquires VR specialist Owlchemy | Media Investment | Business
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Google has acquired virtual reality (VR) studio Owlchemy Labs in a deal that signals ramped-up development in the space by the search giant.

owlchemy 14 May 2017Austin, Texas-based Owlchemy, founded in 2010, focuses on creating intuitive and responsive VR experiences, including software that uses hand gestures to manipulate virtual objects and improve the user experience. A Series A investment round last August nabbed it $5 million from investors that included Qualcomm Ventures (QCOM), Capital Factory, Colopl VR Fund, HTC and The Venture Reality Fund. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“It’s part of a very active acquisition pace by Google to build out an important segment generating increased interest by consumers and ultimately businesses,” said Donovan Jones, CEO of VentureDeal.com in a column. “It was likely a ‘team and technology’ or ‘acqui-hire’ acquisition for $20 million or less, designed to bring the 23-person team in-house while providing some return to the founders and investors. A large and diversified technology company like Google is a very active acquirer of small firms.”

Jones added that Google stands to benefit in several ways — including adding instant expertise in VR software development with the Owlchemy staff.

This “will help it to understand the various considerations with high-bandwidth virtual reality environments that Google will need to understand if it is to place advertisements there,” Jones noted. “As virtual and augmented reality begins its growth trajectory, Google has a significant interest in understanding how best to generate revenues from this increasingly important medium.”

Also, the platform opens new doors in various sectors including business, personal, collaboration and entertainment. “Google may continue to invest in Owlchemy as a way to showcase what can be accomplished with the new medium,” Jones added. “Having an in-house studio that can illustrate to developers the possibilities with Google products can be invaluable in attracting them to the Google digital reality platform. Look for more VR/AR investments or acquisitions from Google as the industry continues to heat up in the coming months and years.”

This isn’t Google’s only activity in the VR space — it has also invested several hundred million dollars into Magic Leap.