Eye-tracking virtual reality startup FOVE raises $11M Series A

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Eye-tracking virtual reality headset maker FOVE has closed an $11 million Series A led by Colopl VR Fund, with participation from the venture fund of Hon Hai (Foxconn), 2020, and Samsung Venture Investment.

FOVE has formed strategic partnerships with it new investors and will use its Series A to speed up mass manufacturing of its headset. Colopl, one of Japan’s largest game publishers, said in a statement that it will develop content for FOVE.

FOVE launched at Disrupt San Francisco in 2014, before raising $480,650 in a Kickstarter campaign. Last month, the Tokyo-based company said it will delay the shipment of its head mount display to fall 2016 because of difficulty sourcing some components. It was originally supposed to ship this month.

CEO and co-founder Yuka Kojima tells TechCrunch the fall 2016 shipment date is still on and that the company is “working very hard to secure the timeline.”

When FOVE does launch, the head mounted display faces competition from big VR players like HTC, Oculus, and Sony Playstation, as well as eye-tracking firms, including Eyefluence, Tobii, and SMI, which are working with headset manufacturers.

Kojima says that FOVE is also interested in licensing its eye-tracking tech to other head mount display makers and hopes to bring those deals to fruition earlier than its competitors. It’s also developing new intellectual property related to eye-tracking and virtual reality and foveated rendering, which FOVE hopes will give it an additional edge.