Even if Apple telegraphed its hardware strategy, it is almost impossible for startups to beat it.
Company executives have piqued their interest in tracking their runaway success on the phone with massive investments in augmented reality. This has led to dozens of venture capital startups helping Apple hit headphones by creating their own AR.
In 2019, this vision broke down for some of the best-known AR startups because reality turned out to be less predictable than executives had imagined at these startups. A trio of shutdowns this year highlighted the cause – overload – which was caused by high burn rates and an overly optimistic attitude towards the start of the respective software ecosystems.
My forecast for a rough 2019 year earlier this year is exactly what happened.
At the beginning of the year I reported on the collapse of the Osterhout Design Group. The augmented reality startup was an early pioneer in the AR industry, who benefited from the industry's enthusiasm to raise a $ 58 million Series A in 2016. After this increase, the company exceeded the reach and expanded its product range, even if the current version did not contain production products that suppressed production errors.
"It's a bit of the story of ODG and Ralph in general: everything is a prototype, nothing is finished, and before one thing is 60 percent done, you're at the next one," said a former trendzhq employee currently. "I think the heart of the fall of the ODG was its lack of focus."
The company fired employees when acquisition talks with Facebook and Magic Leap failed, sources told trendzhq before it was forced to sell assets to an undisclosed buyer earlier this year.
One of the more bizarre stories in the AR headset space was the folding and reintegration of Meta, an AR headset company supported by Y Combinator, that decided early on to increase spending when Apple and others started invest in technology.