The rise and the case of Meta, the Silicon Valley-based enhanced reality start that looked like challenging like Microsoft's HoloLens and others, only took six years.
Now, as the story of the company and its founder, Meron Gribetz, finally draws, we finally have a deeper insight into what exactly happened in the company and how, as well as what the future holds for the company's assets.
Case: Augmented Reality Check
Just days after the incessant stream of tech ephemera escaping from CES petered out in Las Vegas, Gribetz took time to talk to me about the news that Next Reality broke last week about Metas patent process, which unintentionally revealed the full extent of the company's financial problems and the ultimate fate.
Understandably tired of the long struggle to keep control of his company over the past year, however, Gribetz still retains his usual optimistic tone when he companies, and indeed, Meta assets, have all been sold to a new owner. He is no longer the owner of the company and has no statement on what could happen to the company he spent over a half-century building using raw passion, software and hardware innovation and a perspective focused on the future of computing.
There is a new home for [Meta’s] assets and it makes me happy, Gribetz says. "That means there is a potential future for them [assets] and it is up to the new management to decide what the track is and I don't know what to do."
The sales themselves were not "officially until the last week of December 2018, after months and months of flights back and forth from the United States to Asia, which Gribetz attempted to secure new funding for Meta. But these efforts became short and Gribetz soon found the company sold under him.
"This transaction was not between me and anyone, it was between the bank and the third party," says Gribetz, confirming the nature of the sale Next Reality revealed earlier.
According to Gribetz, he was very close to securing a much-needed round of new funding, but then the international economy and politics changed the path of the company. "Unfortunately, due to the US / Chinese trade war, the Chinese blocked the financing agreement at the last minute," Gribetz said. "As a result, we started to go empty for cash. "
And while Gribetz doesn't reveal the name of the new owner, paper tracks reveal one that leads up to Meta sales even more facts. From 2017, Meta began to award many of its patents to Venture Lending & Leasing VII, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company that finances venture-backed tech startups.
Since September 2018, the company was forced to move to about 65% of its workforce, a move that also cost Meta services in its chief income manager and most publicly-faced at the time, Joe Mikhail.
Not long after, in the third week of October, 87 patents and patent applications were awarded to K & L Gates, a large Seattle-based law firm engaged in merger) by William H. Gates Sr., the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The law firm expects Microsoft (HoloLen's manufacturer) among its customers. However, the patent has been assigned as "security interests", ie collateral against Meta's debts, rather than as a final transfer of ownership.
"Patents are a type of intellectual property / intellectual property. As immovable property, it may be licensed, is assigned, sold or will be used or used as collateral, "explains Andrea H. Evans, a patent and trademark lawyer who worked at the US Patent and Trademark Office for five years.
"Usually, a creditor registers a" security interest "in a patent when the patent is lodged as collateral. For example, if a loan was taken, the lender will take a security interest in the patent as collateral against the repayment of the loan and to ensure they are consistent with the loan. "
When asked about the nature of K & L Gate's involvement in Meta's ongoing struggle, Gribetz refused to offer more details, but confirms that the law firm is not part of the new ownership group.
All this poses the question of what happens one week as of January 24, the deadline judge Christopher J. Burke for Meta in his ongoing patent infringement established against Genedics. In order to avoid a standard assessment in favor of Genedics, the applicant has claimed patent infringement on Meta's page, the judge has asked Meta to present new legal representation on the above date. When I asked Gribetz if he or the new owner would respond to the judge's request, he again refused to respond and provided some answers to that question for the new owners to address.
In fact, not only is Gribetz unsure of what new owners of Meta will do with the company – selling the assets piecemeal or trying to run it as a brand – he can't even say what, if any role he can have in the future.
Dream 1.0: It
In 2011, during a chilly evening in Harlem, New York, near Columbia University, where Gribetz studied computer science and neuroscience, a casual interaction with a smartphone-obsessed friend led his decision to investigate the possibility to create their own AR unit.
His then high vision was soon followed by experiments with AR interfaces, one of which is still available on YouTube (see video below). Even then, you could hear the enthusiasm in his voice when he explained how his marker-based AR interface experiments worked at that time.
Soon after December 2012, he officially launched his attempt to make Meta a company. 19659002] In 2013, the Meta team launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $ 194444, almost double its $ 100,000 target to create the original prototype product. In 2014, the company launched the Meta 1 Development Kit at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
It was then in 2015 that venture capital (VC) money came to ring, with Meta landing a $ 23 million series A round of financing from Hong Kong-based Horizon Ventures, Beijing-based BOE Optoelectronics, influential Silicon Valley-based VC investor Tim Draper, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and others.
But the true excitement around Meta began ramping up in 2016, around the time Gribetz got to the TED Talk scene (see video below) in Vancouver, British Columbia, to showcase Meta 2, the latest version of the company's AR unit.
"Whether you send an email to your wife, or you compose a symphony, or just comfort a friend, you do it in much the same way. You are hunched over these rectangles, fumbling with buttons and menus, and more rectangles, says Gribetz, as he paced the scene, full of confidence.
"And I think this is the wrong way, I think we can start using a much more natural machine. We should use machines that take our work back to the world. We should use machines that use the principles of neuroscience to widen our minds toward going against them. Now it just happens that I have such a machine here. It's called Meta 2. Let's try it. "
And try out there were many technical insiders on technical conferences and various demo events in recent months. But Meta 2 was not launched in vacuum. Immersive computers like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift suck much of the public's attention and Microsoft's HoloLens had already been revealed a year earlier, with only a relatively small number of developers rushing to buy and develop for the unit.
Meta arrived early for the game, but the most polished version was launched in an uncertain and still unmistakable immersive computer space,
Over the next two years, Meta continued to press with messages around enterp start v and an impressive roll out of new remote collaboration software. But behind the scenes, the money quickly went out, and even ties with Dell and a strong display on AWE 2018 can help the company continue to tear water. And when the financial pressure continued to mount, the company's attempts to remedy a serious patent law tried to judge its resources.