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19 October 2016

Oblong enters $65m orbit

Based on research conducted at MIT Media Lab, Oblong Industries is developing spatial, gesture-enabled technologies and has now added Utimco to its shareholders.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

Oblong Industries, a gesture-based user interface spinout of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), secured $65m in funding today from investors including Utimco, the investment arm of University of Texas System.

Industry Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Morgan Stanley and Foundry Group also contributed cash to the round.

Founded in 2006, Oblong Industries is developing Mezzanine, an immersive visual collaboration tool. The company is based on work undertaken by John Underkoffler, a computer scientist at interdisciplinary research centre MIT Media Lab.

The money will enable Oblong to accelerate product development and its timetable for market releases. The company also plans on expanding into new geographies.

In 2012, the company closed a $21m series B round led by Foundry Group, while GE Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of conglomerate General Electric, Morgan Stanley, Energy Technology Ventures and angel investor William Herman, according to deals database Pitchbook.

Oblong also raised $8.8m in 2013, according to a securities filing, the same amount it had earlier raised in series A capital from Foundry Group in 2007.

John Underkoffler, founder and chief executive, said: “This is a validation of Oblong’s vision and growth trajectory. Businesses globally are staring down a double-barrel future of unchecked complexity and data saturation.

“Basic success from here on will require people and teams at all levels to be more creative, capable, and collaborative. We have brought the foundational tech and design approach – spatial, immersive, and visually rich – that uniquely makes this possible, and we're thrilled that our partners are aboard to make it happen even faster.”

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