This is a weird one. It’s not often that a company leaves the stock market to return to being private. Augmented reality indeed
Geektime has learned that Israeli augmented reality company Infinity AR is in the midst of raising an $18 million round of financing, emerging from a long and twisted diversion into the public markets.
With this latest injection of cash, the company reaches a valuation of $60 million, representing a significant bump from the under $5 million market cap that the pre-revenue firm had been rated while on the public lists.
According to sources, the previously publicly traded company has re-entered the private market after a period spent traded on the US pink sheets. This restructuring comes with a $15 million investment from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, along with another $3 million from previous investor Sun Corporation out of Japan. Additional well known investors include Moshe Hogeg, who founded the company in 2012, and his Singulariteam Fund, which retain a small percentage of the company after this move.
Following the investment, Alibaba is now listed as the largest single stakeholder in the AR company, holding over 22% of the shares.
Working in the field of AR, Infinity is developing an SDK to help incorporate virtual images over physical objects. Beyond gaming like what was seen in Pokemon Go, this has uses for applications such as training personnel, retail, and many more. Chinese and other Asian firms have been pouring funds into this technology over the past few years, recognizing the potential power that this tech will have on how people interact with the world around them.
On November 18, 2015, the company filed with the SEC to end their registration on the stock market, thus halting reports to the regulatory body. This leaves open numerous questions regarding what lead them to decide to exit the public eye.
From what Geektime has learned of the company’s expedition into and then out of the publicly traded market, it appears to have been an attempt at raising additional capital in the markets. Their path to going public involved them having merged with a Nevada-based publicly traded company that had previously worked in mining and whose shares are believed to have been valued somewhere between $0.00001 and $0.044.
Objectively, when they went public, it would not be fair to call it an IPO as they essentially joined an existing company, which was itself basically a holding company listed as a penny stock.
What is likely the story here is that the leadership realized that the private market, with serious backers like Alibaba who have a key interest in this kind of technology and the patience to see it through, is a much better fit for them.
Hopefully moving forward, Infinity will get back on track and bring us solid AR tech, reshaping our reality.