Lynx wins million-dollar investment and wants to become Europe’s mixed reality champion
The Lynx R-1 could become the first high-end mixed reality headset. The Paris-based start-up is challenging tech giants like Meta, especially in Europe.
In 2020, Lynx introduced its headset R-1 that can handle both virtual reality and augmented reality via video passthrough.
Mixed reality headsets of this kind will have a lasting impact on the industry in the coming years. Meta’s Project Cambria (info) also belongs in this class of devices, as does Apple’s first headset, which will reportedly be unveiled late this year or early in 2023. Microsoft and Samsung (Project Bondi) and Google (Project Iris) are also said to be working on mixed reality headsets.
Investment is a “game changer”
In November 2021, Lynx raised €725,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, securing the production of its first headsets.
Now the startup announces Series A funding of $4 million. The main investor is metaverse platform Somnium Space, which plans to launch its own headset by 2023. Founder and CEO Artur Sychov now sits on Lynx’s board.
Several previous backers have also contributed, as well as other XR investors and former Meta and Google engineers, the startup writes. The Series A round was preceded by €900,000 in seed funding in 2019.
“We have this opportunity right here to create the European Champion of Mixed Reality with our
work at Lynx, supported by a vibrant community of users and developers desperate to see
alternatives to Big Tech companies products and their closed ecosystems,” says Stan Larroque,
founder and CEO of Lynx. “What’s the point of creating a European Metaverse if the underlying
platform, the door we use to access it, remains in the hands of the same big players with their
damaging business models?”
Lynx R-1: low price, open ecosystem
The first headsets are scheduled to ship to Kickstarter backers this summer. If the startup can meet that deadline, the Lynx R-1 would be the first full-fledged mixed reality headset on the market. It will certainly be the most affordable: The start-up sells the devices at a price of $599 for consumers and $1,099 for businesses.
Project Cambria will be significantly more expensive than $799, according to Meta, while Apple’s headset could cost up to $3,000, according to reports. The Lynx R-1’s low price is likely to become its biggest competitive advantage alongside its platform openness, which Larroque promotes as an alternative to Meta’s and Apple’s closed ecosystems.
In the last Kickstarter update from May, here’s what’s new about the state of development:
- The startup is working with Sidequest on an app store for the Lynx R-1
- Wolvic (formerly Firefox Reality) will be the device’s default browser. It supports WebXR out of the box.
- The OpenXR SDK is expected to be released before the first headsets ship in one to two months.
- The native Lynx controllers will appear at the end of the year. The default input is hand tracking. In addition, SteamVR controllers are to be supported.