The company behind the smash hit smartphone game Pokémon Go has been valued at $4 billion following a funding round led by a Silicon Valley investor.
Niantic, which is preparing to launch the hotly anticipated Harry Potter equivalent to Pokémon Go, has secured $245m led by IVP, which has backed Snap, Twitter and Dropbox among other Silicon Valley start-ups. Samsung Ventures and esports company aXiomatic Gaming have invested in the funding round.
It marks one of the largest investments in augmented reality (AR) technology to date. Pokémon Go was one of the earliest mass-market applications of AR, which involves virtual objects being placed in the real world via a phone’s camera lens.
Pokémon Go made an estimated $800m in 2018, up 35pc from the year before, according to analysts Sensor Tower.
The game, which encourages people to track and catch Pokemon in their surroundings, became an instant hit upon its launch in 2016.
The new funding will be used to invest in augmented reality, machine learning and building its “Real World Platform”, the technology that powers its games and will be made available for developers around the world to use.
Niantic boss John Hanke said: “We continue to be focused on delivering on our mission of bringing people together through experiences that marry advanced technology and the real world.