A Wearable Display and Smart Lens System That Uses AR/VR to Help Visually Impaired People See
Plus, Indiegogo CEO Andy Yang on the pod!
This pitch review is especially interesting to me — I recall in 2013 getting to play with Google Glasses v1 and later being apart of Snap’s Spectacles v1 and v2 beta (here’s my v2 write up). I remain super excited about the potential and long-term value of tech-enabled eyewear — even if I was a little early! As you’ll see below, wearables are one of those buzzy tech creations that’s easy to imagine the possibilities with, but sorta hard to actually extract any real value from (for now).
On the pod… I spoke with the CEO of Indiegogo Andy Yang. IndieGoGo (like Kickstarter) is one of the OG’s in the crowdfunding game, but a lot has changed since the early days of funding shit you used to see at Sharper Image (remember those funky airport stores???). Now we have equity crowdfunding, fractional ownership options in gaming, real estate and even sports cards! What’s next???
Listen to my full interview with Andy Yang here
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Innovega uses AR/VR smart glasses to enable visually impaired people to see.
Revenue from AR/VR markets is forecasted to grow 5x to $67B by 2025. Innovega uses its eMacula novel smart contact lenses to enable the visually impaired to see. In regular speak, each pair of glasses has a camera that recreates what non-impaired people see and magnifies it by as much 10x which the wearer then sees through the display (lenses)… and, yes you can see through the lenses.
Meet the Founder
Watch my full interview with Innovega Founder Stephen Willey here.
Stephen’s early interest in displays in the 1980’s led him to start a video game company that published multiple ground-breaking titles — where he realized that graphics quality was a key factor in delivering player experience. Prior to founding Innovega, Steve co-founded MicroVision in 1995, a leader in the development of novel pico-projector technologies for display eyewear and for mobile devices. Steve was a member of the team that launched its NASDAQ, MicroVision IPO and later the NASDAQ IPO of spin-off, Lumera.
Steve is an inventor with a storied career at the nexus of engineering and graphics. Beyond having experience building and managing teams, Steve was an integral part of two public companies. There’s not a more qualified person to run this business and ironically, while Google, Facebook and Snap jumpstarted the interest in VR eyewear it is people like Steve that will actually bring the tech to the mainstream.
14 issued U.S. patents and 13 pending patents protecting contact lenses, eyewear, optical systems, display systems, gaze-tracking, cameras, and vision and hearing enhancement
Raised $10M to date with $5.8M in government contracts, grants, and commercial revenue, generating $2M in gross profit
Completed necessary pre-clinical testing, and FDA 510(k) trials are underway
The TAM of visually impaired Americans is more than 5 million alone and you can probably quadruple that for Europe and Asia. The Innovega team proved its ability to innovate and deliver by completing more than $5.7 million in contracts and grants from government agencies.
Innovega customers included the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute, and a global provider of designer eyewear.
Terms & Takeaway
Invest in Innovega here 👉 https://bit.ly/3iAcGwY
Security Type: Preferred Equity
Pre-Money Valuation: $54,269,000
Investment Goal: $15,000,000
Raised (as of publishing): $2,477,580
Minimum Investment: $999.00
Here's what I like: This tech is sick. Innovega allows people with garbage vision to see 20/20 by recreating the IRL world from a tiny camera on your glasses and renders it magnified and viewed through semi transparent lenses 🤯 For the legally blind, it gives them their life back. For those with 20/20, it gives them super powers.
Imagine the possibilities.
The founding team is ridiculously qualified and they’re not selling a pipe dream with Snap filters for influencers, they’re selling a product millions of people need today.
Here's what I don't love: I mean, the price is high relative to revenue and the minimum investment is a thousand bucks — it’s not for everyone. The pre-money valuation is high for the stage (Series A-1), but not that high when you factor in the value of the patents, clinical trials and demand. Other than that, it’s hard to hate!
Who should invest and why: If you typically invest in Seed stage Reg CF companies this might fall a little outside your purview, but TBH it would not be a bad intro deal on later stage companies. I typically invest in Series A and B deals with the expectation of a 3-5x ROI, and usually invest in companies a little further along the customer growth phase, but there’s a lot to like about this opportunity.
As always, startup investing is super high risk, anything can happen.
Invest in Innovega here 👉 https://bit.ly/3iAcGwY
Questions? DM me on Twitter @kitun