University spin-out Ultraleap raises £60 million in latest funding round
Press release issued: 19 November 2021
A University of Bristol spin-out company which develops sci-fi-worthy touchless tech has raised £60 million in its latest funding round.
Ultraleap’s hand-tracking and mid-air haptics technologies allow users to touch and manipulate the virtual world.
Sensors track the hand’s intricate movements, creating 3D projections that can interact in the digital realm.
Ultraleap CEO Tom Carter studied for an MEng in Computer Science and a PhD in Human Computer Interaction at the University of Bristol. He co-founded Ultrahaptics (now Ultraleap) in 2013.
He said: “The metaverse concept is not new to Ultraleap. It has always been our mission to remove boundaries between physical and digital worlds. The pandemic has accelerated the rise of the term as more people now understand the power of enhancing the physical world with digital elements.
“For Ultraleap, this new era is not constrained to VR headsets. Like the internet, it is a reality we will interact with in all parts of life: at home, in the office, in cars or out in public.
“Our aim with this Series D raise is to accelerate the transition to the primary interface – your hands – because there are no physical controllers, buttons or touchscreens in anyone's vision of the metaverse.”
Tom took the top prize in the University’s New Enterprise Competition in 2013, winning £15,000 plus six months’ support at the University’s tech incubator SETsquared Bristol.
Stuart Johnson, Director of the Careers Service, which runs the New Enterprise Competition, said: “Ultraleap continue to go from strength to strength. As a previous winner of the New Enterprise Competition, which gave them access to the initial support and funding they needed to develop and grow, we’re pleased to have played a small but significant part in their success.
“Ultraleap are now an important player in the city-region – and indeed the world – and we’re thrilled that their success is not only pushing the boundaries of technology, but also creating highly skilled jobs.”
Ultraleap’s recent announcement of their fifth-generation hand tracking platform, known as Gemini, means for the first time their hand tracking software is available across multiple platforms, camera systems and third-party hardware.
New investors joining Ultraleap’s latest funding round included Tencent, British Patient Capital and CMB International. They were joined by existing shareholders Mayfair Equity Partners and IP Group plc.
Tom added: “This raise doesn’t just give us greater resources to scale, but our investors provide us insights and access to our target markets as well. The timing aligns well with the demand we are seeing from our customers across key verticals.
“I’m so proud of what the team has achieved to date to get us closer to our primary interface mission and I am even more excited for where our mission will take us next.”