Daqri, a once high-flying enterprise-grade AR headsets startup, is shutting down after burning through over $250 million of investors’ money
The startup journey is filled with ups and downs and not for the faint of heart. Startup founders have to make hard decision whether to continue on the current trajectory, pivot, or outright shutdown the business. DAQRI, the Los Angeles, California-based AR headset startup famous for its enterprise-focused Daqri Smart Glasses, is shutting down after nine years in business.
On September 9th, 2019, the struggling augmented reality helmet maker announced via email to its employees that it was pursuing an asset sale and was shutting down its cloud and smart-glasses hardware platforms by the end of September. The company said it is taking part in an asset acquisition that will “put an end to [Daqri’s] industrial wearables business and begin the wind down of the company.” TechCrunch first reported the news citing former employees and “sources close to the company.”
Daqri was founded in 2010 by Brian Mullins, Gaia Dempsey, and Philip Tolk. The startup entered the market in February 2011 after releasing an augmented reality publishing platform designed to superimpose an image or video over a smartphone’s camera after scanning a QR code. Before its shutdown, DAQRI raised a total of $275 million in funding over 2 rounds. Its latest funding was raised on Jul 21, 2017 from a Private Equity round.
In March of 2016, Daqri unveiled its Smart Helmet at CES 2016 as part of Intel’s keynote. The startup also acquired 1066 Labs, a leading head-mounted display manufacturer focused on serving enterprise clients with augmented reality solutions, as well as U.K.-based Two Trees Photonics, a holographic technology company.
The story of Daqri’s shutdown may not come as a surprise to many. In February 2017, Daqri reportedly laid off about a quarter of is staff. On October 10th, 2017 DAQRI co-founder and chief executive officer Brian Mullins stepped down and was replaced with chief product officer, Roy Ashok. DAQRI co-founder and chief executive officer Brian. Two months later, co-founder, Gaia Dempsey publicly announced she was leaving the company as well.