AR glasses maker Nreal raised $100 million to aim international expansion

September 23, 2021 4:48 pm

AR technology company Nreal announced that it had completed its C round fundraising with $100 million in proceeds. According to CNBC, the Chinese startup now values $700 million, citing an unnamed source, and counts Sequoia Capital China, Kuaishou, iQiyi, and Nio capital, the investment arm of electric carmaker Nio, as its backers.

Nio Capital is a strategic investor to Nreal, as there’s is a potential for the two companies to work together.

“Having AR and EV (electric vehicles) together can be very interesting going forward. People will spend more time in their cars, so a combination of AR and the car, that will unleash a lot of other possibilities,” according to CNBC, quoting Xu Chi, founder of Nreal.


Nreal specializes in building VR/AR hardware products, such as AR glasses “Nreal Light” and providing technological infrastructures for industries like education, health, and travel.

The Beijing-based company is one of the leading players in consumer-grade AR products. Its feature product Nreal Light, which only weighs 88 grams, is equipped with dual microphones and speakers, includes functions such as gaming, web browsing, video streaming, and video conferencing.

The startup has big ambitions — it has partnered with global mobile network providers such as Vodafone, TMobile, KDDI, and U+ to launch products in Germany, Spain, Japan, and South Korea. Nreal is looking to go public within five years.

Nreal has not launched its glasses in domestic markets yet, but “plans to enter that (China) market next year, and also the U.S. and maybe more countries as well,” according to CNBC, citing Xu Chi.

Nreal will introduce a new product soon, with a “completely new design,” and will be lighter, more comfortable, and cheaper than the current Nreal Light model. The lower price point can make it easier to penetrate markets like China.


Nreal is soaring as it rides the wave of the metaverse, but changes to its business model are necessary to go forward.

Just like Apple’s IOS, Nreal has an operating system called Nebula. There are currently 8,000 developers on Nebula. But as Apple’s IAP system is deemed problematic, developers are going to demand more freedom.

According to CNBC, Xu Chi said they “should offer a more friendly business model to developers”, meaning lowering the commissions and providing more services to developers, such as marketing and helping them to improve their products.