CB Insights: Virtual Reality Startups Increase Financing by 347%

In 2015, VR and AR, UAV startups, and space-related corporate financing have doubled. This year's virtual reality and augmented reality startups are still ahead of investment deals and investments.

Leading technology start-ups in 2015, including augmented reality and virtual reality, aviation, and drones, earned $3.5 billion in investment and 254 investment transactions.

Data from CB Insights shows that space startups dominated a small number of major investment activities of more than $100 million in 2015, while virtual reality and augmented reality dominated investment activity and investment in the first quarter of 2016.

Annual trend

Investment in the space sector promotes cutting-edge technology investment in 2015. In 2012, space and virtual reality and augmented reality were equal in terms of investment. However, investment in the space sector has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2015, the investment volume of start-ups in the space sector increased by 253% from the previous year, and the investment in virtual reality and augmented reality and drone start-ups doubled.

In 2015, the three largest investments in cutting-edge technology were SpaceX’s $1 billion D-round investment, OneWeb’s $500 million investment, and O3B Networks’ $460 million H-round investment.

All frontier technology investments have grown steadily since 2012, especially with the fastest growth in virtual reality and augmented reality. In 2015, investment in virtual reality and augmented reality increased by 122% compared with the previous year, making it the fastest growing among the three leading technology industries.

In 2014, the number of UAV investment transactions exceeded the space sector. In 2015, the transaction volume increased by 80% (74 cases).

However, investment in the space sector has driven the growth of frontier technology investments in 2015, although the transaction volume is relatively small. In 2015, there were a total of 44 investment transactions in the space sector, an increase of 63% over the previous year.

Quarterly investment trends

In terms of quarterly investment trends, investment in cutting-edge technology has shown a downward trend since mid-2015. The amount of frontier technology investment in the third quarter of 2015 decreased by 58% from the previous quarter.

This trend continued in the fourth quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. Thanks to Magic Leap's 793 million C-round investment, VR and Augmented Reality investment reached new heights in the first quarter of 2016, up 45% from the previous quarter.

The mid-2015 investment trading activities also began to decline. In the second quarter of 2015, trading activities in the frontier technology sector decreased by 19%, but trading activities rebounded thereafter.

In the past three quarters, there have been more virtual reality and augmented reality investment deals than the combined space and drones. However, virtual reality and Augmented Reality trading activities fell to 42 in the first quarter of 2016, down 9% from the previous quarter.

In the UAV sector, investment transactions remained basically unchanged. There were 19 cases in the second quarter of 2015 and only 23 cases in the first quarter of 2016.

Interestingly, investment and trading activities in the space sector have dropped significantly. There were seven cases of freedom in the first quarter of 2016. There were 13 cases and 12 cases in the first and second quarters of 2015, respectively.

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