Magic Leap Rocks & STOP HATING
How and from whom the money was raised was more spectacular than the $500M headline itself (which is also a big deal of course). The fact that both Alibaba and Google participated rather than sitting out ( or worse, used this D round to sell for their own internal VC fund liquidity event ) shows supreme faith in the company, tech and management.
But the biggest story is that they didn't succumb to grabbing the low hanging fruit of taking a large strategic investor onboard such as AT&T which could have easily pushed this round to $700M or more -- but would have severely hampered future growth prospects of the underlying business since rival telecoms would have refused to partner in the upcoming 5G age when augmented reality will really take off.
The AR industry is structurally setup at this point where heads Magic Leap wins, tails it breaks even. AR glasses will replace or severely dent the smartphone market at some point while Google, Apple and Microsoft have all ceded 95% market share to Magic Leap in the 2018-2019 timeframe by abandoning the market.
Hololens is quickly becoming the next Kinect/Microsoft Phone abandonware boondoggle with Nadella not taking his own advice from his book, Hit Refresh, by pretty much throwing the Hololens developer community under the bus ($3K is a lot of money for indies to have forked out and then canceling the Hololens 2018 version) in favor of its most recent shiny object of Windows Mixed Reality -- seriously I can't even type the words DELL MIXED REALITY without falling asleep--no buzz or excitement at all vs Hololens. Even just today Microsoft announced that Hololens will not be part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators update while Mixed Reality will--pretty shabby stance on top of canceling Hololens 2018; they are going out of their way to signal to developers to abandon all Hololens efforts in favor of the next shiny object which is the most obvious dead end imaginable. Any Indie dev shop is only going to port over Oculus or Vive already in existence rather than waste resources on fresh code for an unreliable Microsoft partner.
Tim Cook has made an epic mistake which will go down in Apple lore as possibly his jumping the shark/ hiring John Scully moment in saying the earliest an Apple Glass Dev kit (not even a 1.0 product) will be available is next decade. With that tepid endorsement of the concept it's likely Apple Glass will be next decade's Apple TV at best, Apple Car at worst. The lack of vision and imagination is mind boggling. Steve Jobs saw the future MAC when visiting Xerox Parc. Cook visited Magic Leap and only could imagine another Google Glass. With 1000 full-time internal developers already currently working on ARKit, Apple could dominate AR Glasses or at least be smart like Facebook and do a buyout and take out a potential competitor. But instead they are IBM giving rise to Microsoft, Yahoo to Google, Oracle to Salesforce--the requisite step for any disruptive force is to treated with disdain by the incumbents so they don't see the threat until it's too late.
Google has finally learned its lessons from blowing $12B on the Motorola acquisition and the ridiculous Google Glass, that they are investing in a competent team building the next big thing rather than making it themselves. Despite having world class technical talent they aren't an organization setup to dominate AR Glasses--kudos to them for realizing that and investing in Magic Leap.
Facebook is going through its own Motorola moment with Oculus. Taking a leading company in the field and finding out that they can't integrate it. Oh well, can't win them all--at least it's only $2B down the drain; plus they were able to learn what not to do in the future (Whatsapp was $19B by comparison).
By 2020, Magic Leap Four should be out, competing with the Apple Dev Kit and whatever new shiny object boondoggle the Microsoft R&D PHd's crank out. With the two year head start in 2018-2019, Magic Leap Four could be the real tipping point to become the defacto IBM PC of the next decade, dominating mindshare if not perhaps marketshare. That will be enough for a healthy IPO in 2021 and a $150B plus market cap by 2025.
Regarding your out of bounds negative commentary on Torch 3D, I just signed up for their Beta and look forward to integrating their APIs into a demo app.