The Disruptor’s Journey: Meta AR

Meta is an augmented reality workplace technology that is pushing how humans imagine the digital workplace. They are Microsoft Hololen’s biggest competitor. You’ve probably seen them in the news with their most recent Sundance Film Festival augmented reality experience, or on NBC Nightly News, or Bloomberg Technology. Their goal is simple, bring Minority Report and Iron Man augmented office display to the consumer.

In this series, called The Disruptor’s Journey, we want to introduce you to the company that is changing the workplace, but also give you a glimpse at the journey of a tech company. Meta, has raised a total of $73M of funding after a Series B $50M investment in June of 2016. From Kickstarter, to Y Combinator, to TechCrunch Disrupt, to presenting at TedTalks, Meta has had an amazing journey.

Company Timeline:

2012 —

Columbia University student Meron Gribetz (co-founder & CEO) dreams of a truly digital office place for all industries under Computer Science Professor Steve Feiner. In December Meta Co. is founded and their first AR headset prototype was created.

2013 —

On May 17th, 2013 Meta launches a Kickstarter campaign resulting in 501 backers that pledged $194,444 from an original $100,000 goal. That summer, Meta was inducted into Y Combinator’s seed accelerator program.

Meta AR kickstarter
Click above to see Meta’s 2013 Kickstarter Campaign

2014 —

Meta releases the Meta 1 Development Kit using a medical demo at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco and starts shipping it’s first product. The initial purchasers consist of AR enthusiasts and Fortune 500 companies like Boeing, Toyota, and Caterpillar.

meta ar techcrunch disrupt
Click above to watch Meta’s 2014 medical demo at TechCrunch Disrupt

2015 —

Raise a $23 million series A round, led by Horizons Ventures, Tim Draper, BOE Optoelectronics, Garry Tan, and Alexis Ohanian with Danhua Capital, Commodore Partners, and Vegas Tech Fund participating.

2016 —

After collecting feedback from all their Meta 1 customers, Meron unveils their second-generation product at TED. In March, Meta started accepting pre-orders of their new AR-headset that will ship in December. That June, Meta completes a $50 million series B round from Lenovo, Tencent, Banyan Capital, Comcast Ventures, and GQY.

meta ar tedtalk
Click above to watch Meron Gribetz TED presentation

2017 —

Engadget reviews the Meta 2, calling it, “a lot more stable,” and “feels like a more complete AR experience, compared to the HoloLens.”

2018 —

Dell becomes the first third-party seller of the Meta 2 headset and augmented reality Development Kits. The kits will be available on Dell’s website on February 15th for $1,500.

What did we learn?

The Meta Playbook – how to build a $73 million tech company in 6 years.

  • Advisors — For CRE tech companies that are just starting out, reaching out to the right advisors can fast track your project. Meron had Columbia University Professor Steve Feiner and AR pioneer Steve Mann as advisors in 2013. Reach out to experts in your field and develop relationships with them. Ask them for advice.
  • Market And Crowdfund Your Idea — Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms are a great way to test the markets opinion of your product and raise money. It is also a great marketing tool, allowing other publications to write articles about your product.
  • Find An Accelerator — The success of Meta’s Kickstarter campaign led to their acceptance at Y Combinator. Finding the right accelerator is important, so do some research on the top accelerators for your products industry and apply. It’s a great way to spend time developing your product while being surround by other entrepreneurs and experts. It also creates an easier pathway towards future funding.
  • Focus On Partnerships  — In 2016, Meron’s partnership with SimX at TechCrunch Disrupt allowed the company to showcase their product in front of the world. Then in 2017, Meta’s partnership with Dell will place their product on the shelves of a major technology seller. The right partnerships can do wonders for your marketing, fund raising, and sales.
  • Make An Audience — From their viral Kickstarter campaign, to co-presenting at TechCrunch Disrupt, to speaking at TED, to tens of video interviews on every major news network, Meron and his team at Meta took every public speaking engagement they could.