Bristol contactless technology company Ultraleap raises £60m

A Bristol company that has developed contactless technology used by brands such as PepsiCo and Lego has raised £60m in a Series D funding round.

Ultraleap will use the investment to scale and commercialize its technology for existing and next-generation computing platforms, he said.

The company’s new investors include Chinese multinational tech conglomerate Tencent; British Patient Capital through its Future Fund: Breakthrough program; and CMB International, based in Hong Kong.

The company’s existing shareholders are Mayfair Equity Partners and IP Group plc, who also invested in the round.

Tom Carter, CEO of Ultraleap, said, “The metaverse concept is not new to Ultraleap. Our mission has always been to break down the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds.

“The pandemic has accelerated the rise of the term as more and more people now understand the power of enhancing the physical world with digital elements.

“For Ultraleap, this new era is not limited to VR headsets. Like the Internet, it is a reality with which we will interact in all areas of life: at home, in the office, in cars or in public. »

Mr Carter, who studied for a Masters in Computer Science and a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Bristol, co-founded Ultrahaptics (now Ultraleap) in 2013.

It won first prize in the university’s New Enterprise competition that year, winning £15,000 plus six months of support for the university’s tech incubator SETsquared Bristol.

Tom Carter, CEO of Ultraleap

The company then secured major deals for its technology, including with CEN Media Group in the United States to install screens capable of displaying standard advertisements and contactless interactive content in cinemas.

He also created an app – known as TouchFree – that allows businesses to retrofit existing kiosks and touchscreens so people can interact with the screen without touching it. The company uses camera technology and hand-tracking software, which means the displays can work with touchless gesture control.

Ultraleap’s recent announcement of its fifth-generation hand tracking platform, known as Gemini, means that its hand tracking software is now available across multiple third-party platforms, camera systems and hardware.

The company plans to adapt Gemini to different operating systems and increase investment in tooling, he said. It also plans to invest in R&D to pilot its machine learning-based hand tracking.

Mr. Carter added, “This increase not only gives us more resources to scale, but our investors also provide us with information and access to our target markets. The timing aligns with the demand we are seeing from our customers in key verticals.

“I’m so proud of what the team has accomplished to date to bring us closer to our primary interface mission, and I’m even more excited to know where our mission will take us next.”

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