Florida-based tech company raises $793M with Alibaba's help

Magic Leap visionaries can afford to dream big


PLANTATION, Fla. – A virtual reality start-up company in Florida announced this week that they raised a $793 million round of venture financing to support a new technology that they say could turn conventional mobile phone, computer and television screens obsolete. 

Google's Sunda Pichai and Alibaba's Joe Tsai are on the board of Magic Leap, a growing tech company based out of Plantation. 

They are focused on creating software and hardware for holographic video that has potential uses in cinematography, gaming, navigation, education, surgical procedures and sports. 

"We are creating a new world where digital and physical realities seamlessly blend together," Magic Leap co-founder Rony Abovitz said

Executives at Magic Leap, which has raised about a billion in funding, were focused on launching a product they are calling the Mixed Reality Lightfield. It appears to provide a mixed-reality perception similar to the Microsoft HoloLens, while using hologram technology that promises to circumvent health issues associated with virtual reality goggles. 

Science-fiction novelist Neal Stephenson is the company's "chief futurist." And they are working with Weta Workshop, the special effects company that worked on "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy in New Zealand. 

"The ability to design and create these new experiences is not just the future for entertainment," Weta Workshop co-founder Richard Taylor said. "It has the potential to be the future of everything."

Last year, the tech firm hired more "wizards"  from the fields of film, robotics, visualization, software and computing. One of their positions was listed as a "senior software hack-in-chief."

Other prominent investors include Warner Brothers, Qualcomm, Fidelity and J.P. Morgan. The company also has offices in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Mountain View, Seattle, Austin, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Israel.

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