Ex-Magic Leap team found Trace, raise $2M in funding to become the Canva of AR

In Augmented Reality News 

April 25, 2024 – Trace, a platform that empowers creators to build location-based augmented reality (AR) spaces with ease, has this week emerged from stealth with the USD $2 million closing of an oversubscribed funding round led by Rev1 Ventures and Impellent Ventures.

What does the Trace platform do?

According to Trace, its platform provides tools that allow for the easy creation and deployment of immersive content on a range of devices, from phones and AR glasses to spatial computing hardware like the Apple Vision Pro.

“What Canva did for graphic design and SquareSpace did for websites, Trace can accomplish for AR.”

The company noted that while hardware like Apple Vision Pro is bringing spatial computing into the mainstream, the majority of today’s AR content remains disconnected from its environment as a legacy of its earlier life on 2D devices. Trace has therefore been designed to evolve the industry beyond this limitation, providing an end-to-end platform that creates high fidelity immersive 3D brand experiences that can be deployed in any physical location around the world.

“Creating AR content is typically a complex process that is out of reach for anyone other than experts and agencies,” added Greg Tran, CEO and co-founder of Trace, and former Creative Director and Principal Designer at Magic Leap. “Trace uses a beginner-friendly approach to creation so that AR deployments that previously took months can happen within just a few moments. What Canva did for graphic design and SquareSpace did for websites, Trace can accomplish for AR.”

Who founded Trace?

Founded by a team with backgrounds from Magic Leap, Harvard, Disney, Samsung and DARPA, Trace was formed with a belief that AR content is at its most powerful when it is integrated closely with its physical surroundings. Co-founders Greg Tran, Martin Smith, and Sean Couture combined this principle with intuitive AR creation tools to build a platform that is accessible to any skill level.

Who has Trace worked with so far?

While not formally revealed until today, the company stated that it has already powered experiences ranging from the Hip Hop 50 Summit to massive activations at flagship retail stores and globally recognized events, including Deutsche Telekom’s AR presence at Mobile World Congress.

Early customers for Trace include several ranked among the Fortune 500 such as Qualcomm, Telefónica, T-Mobile and Lenovo who are using the Trace platform for everything from brand activations to employee training and new customer product education. 

“Deutsche Telekom used Trace to power a mixed reality experience at Mobile World Congress 2023, and the results couldn’t have impressed us more,” said Elmar Schrage, Head of Business XR Development at Deutsche Telekom. “The end-to-end, user-friendly approach offered by Trace is unique and lets us deploy high-fidelity immersive experiences. Trace is an ideal tool empowering our sales team to effectively present complex products or simply to ‘wow’ our customer in our flagship stores.” 

Who were the investors in Trace?

The round was led by Rev1 Ventures and Impellent Ventures. In addition to the co-leads, participants in the round include Everywhere Ventures, Ohio Innovation Fund, Portland Seed Fund, Allied Venture Partners, Service Provider Capital, Astir Ventures, Move VC, and Phoenix Venture Fund. Private investors in the XR space and scout funds from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Index Ventures also participated.

“Rev1 continues to support and invest in industry disruptors, and Trace is doing precisely that,” said Melinda Gloriosa of Rev1 Ventures. “We’ve invested early because we believe they’re poised to make waves in the augmented reality and spatial computing industry. We look forward to seeing how Trace transforms AR and revolutionizes our interaction with the world around us.”

How will Trace use its funding?

The USD $2 million raised will enable Trace to accelerate development of its platform (currently in closed beta) and support businesses and creators who are leveraging the Apple Vision Pro and other AR devices to reach consumers.

For more information on Trace and to join its waitlist to be among the first to built with the platform, please visit the company’s website.

Image / video credit: Trace / YouTube

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.