Letter From the CEO: Exciting News for Layar
Today is a big day for Layar. In fact, it may be our biggest yet.
It is with great excitement that we announce that Layar has closed a series B funding round of €10 million. Additionally, we are very proud to welcome Intel Capital as our newest investor.
The last 18 months has been amazing for us. Having the opportunity to build a company that is bringing Augmented Reality into the lives of people all around the world has been a blast. It is truly a dream come true to now be able to continue working on our goal of making Augmented Reality the most exciting and engaging content on any smartphone.
Along with this news, we wanted to take the opportunity to share a bit more about our plans for the Layar platform and what you can expect from us in the coming years. Here are a few questions and answers about where Layar is going in the near future.
What does Layar hope to achieve? We want to bring impactful Augmented Reality content into people’s everyday lives. Let’s have a closer look at some of the words and phrases in this simple sentence.
“Bring” - This means that Layar is handling the transportation of content and connecting publishers and users on as many mobile platforms as possible. Soon, we will launch the Layar Player, an SDK that will bring Augmented Reality content to any iPhone application. But we don’t only want to be facilitators; we also want to help users discover the Layar content that is right for them at the moment they need it.
“Impactful” - We believe that Augmented Reality in its very core is designed to deliver experiences that can truly touch people. Remember the quote from Confucius? “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Augmented Reality is the closest digital experience to “doing” that there is today. We will continue to invest in capabilities that offer our developers the tools to create the most exciting mobile digital experiences.
“Into people’s everyday lives” - Augmented Reality is in its infancy, much like television was before the growth of massively successful content formats like soaps, live sporting events and reality TV. It’s also comparable to YouTube before we all realized that we love to watch videos of kittens. At Layar we don’t like to assume. We don’t know which formats will be successful in the medium of Augmented Reality. Therefore, we are structuring our platform in such a way that will allow for the successful formats to naturally emerge.So, what’s next for Layar? The next phase is all about content. In the last year we have built a global platform for Augmented Reality. The coming period is about identifying the content formats that can attract and build an audience. We will not wait passively but will be actively involved in supporting our publishers in this process.
Is Layar packing its bags for Silicon Valley? Yes and no. We really like it in Amsterdam, and we plan to stay here and expand our team here. We will, however, be opening a U.S. office in San Francisco soon. If you are interested in joining the Layar family in the Bay Area, here are a few of our American openings.
What are the key projects you are focusing on right now? With our previous funding round we grew to 25-30 people. This was still manageable with a relatively small management team. Now that we are passing 40 people we are investing in structuring and strengthening the management team and building a project organization focused on throughput. We are also focusing on building a team and process around user research and analytics into the Layar organization.
Will Layar implement Computer Vision? Yes. Computer Vision is necessary to deliver truly awesome visual experiences. One of the first implementations will be Image Recognition capabilities within a layer.
What are the first things Layar has done with the money? We have hired some great people: Chris, Sunitha, Ivo and Klasien. If you want to know what they do at Layar, just keep reading our blog. Chris, our new Web Producer, is authoring a nice blog series profiling members of the Layar team. You can see the first few entries in the series about team members Pambos and Olivier on the official Layar blog right now.
On what will you spend most of the money? On the salaries of the amazing people which are part of the Layar family. We are growing fast!
We stand at the beginning of our most exciting period yet and we hope you join us for the ride!
Raimo van der Klein, Layar CEO