The company sought to completely change the way we interact with computers, but now Leap Motion is being sold.
Apple reportedly tried to get hold of the hand-tracking technology that Leap Motion rejected, but now the hype, nine-year-old consumer company is being taken over by the younger, company-focused UltraHaptics. The Wall Street Journal first reported the deal this morning, we’ve heard the same from a source familiar with the deal.
The report further details that the purchase price was just $ 30 million, almost one-tenth of the company’s most recent valuation. CEO Michael Buckwald won’t stay with the company after the acquisition either, we’ve learned.
Leap Motion raised nearly $ 94 million from their demos of their hand-tracking technology, but they were ultimately unable to zero in on a customer base that could sustain them. Even though the company became a dedicated virtual reality industry, the startup remained a problem in search of a solution.
In 2011, when we first covered the startup, later named OcuSpec, it raised $ 1.3 million in seed funding from Andreesen Horowitz and Founders Fund. At the time, Buckwald told us that he was building motion detection technology that was “radically more powerful and affordable than anything else available today,” although he kept many details under wraps.
When the company began to show its technology publicly, an unsustainable amount of hype was built for the pre-release module device that promised to replace the keyboard and mouse with a PC. The device was just an infrared camera hub, the magic was in the software that could build skeletal models of a user’s hands and fingers with precision. Leap Motion’s demos continued to impress, the team landed a $ 12.8 million Series A in 2012 and the next year raised a $ 30 million Series B.
In 2013, we spoke with an ambitious Buckwald as the company prepared to ship its consumer product next year.
The launch did not go as well as planned for Leap Motion, which sold 500,000 modules to consumers. The device was hampered by poor developer support and a poorly unified control system, as a result of which the company laid off a large number of employees and began to focus its efforts more seriously on becoming the main input for reality. virtual and augmented reality headsets.
Leap Motion made $ 50 million in 2017 after going fully virtual reality.
The company started building its own AR hearing aids all the time while continuing to partner technology with hearing aid OEMs, but at the time the company was burning money and losing its lifelines.
The company’s sale to UltraHaptics, a company that has long been using Leap Motion technology to integrate its ultrasonic haptic feedback solution, really only represents what a poor job Leap Motion did in isolating its customer base and their unwillingness to move away from consumer markets.
Manual tracking may still end up changing the way we interact with our computers and devices, but Leap Motion and its subsequent investors will not benefit from blazing that trail.