Venture Capital

VR Startup MindMaze Raises Funds at $1.1 Billion Valuation

  • India's Hinduja Group led $100 million round in gadget maker
  • Swiss company makes virtual reality health-care technology

MindMaze SA, a Swiss virtual reality startup, said it raised a round of financing that values the company at $1.1 billion. The startup picked up $100 million in the round led by Hinduja Group India Ltd., an Indian conglomerate.

MindMaze makes an electronic headset it sells to hospitals for rehabilitating patients who have undergone a stroke. It also sells versions of the technology for rehab at home and for playing video games. The devices use virtual and augmented reality combined with sensors that track the user’s motion and display interactive digital environments through the goggles. MindMaze Chief Executive Officer Tej Tadi said the device can alter the experience based on the user’s movements and brain activity, such as emotions.

“We’re building the software and hardware across sensory elements to eventually build up an interface that’s intuitive -- that doesn’t use mice, keyboards -- and is more true to what it should be,” Tadi said.

MindMaze becomes the fifth virtual or augmented reality startup to attract at least $100 million. It joins other high-flying companies, such as Facebook Inc.’s Oculus VR and Magic Leap Inc., the secretive augmented-reality upstart backed by Google Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to research firm Pitchbook Data. Investors have poured more than $4 billion into VR and AR startups since 2010 as technology advances have led to smaller, more powerful and cost-efficient computer chips.

With its latest financing round, MindMaze is exploring headsets to help with other injuries, such as amputations. It also plans to expand its office in San Francisco and target other industries, such as autos. Tadi said MindMaze is still in talks with additional investors, and the final size of the round could exceed $100 million. The company previously raised about $8.5 million from angel investors and through Swiss government grants.

Tadi expects MindMaze to become cash-flow positive by late next year. MindMaze is considering selling its software and data analytics separately from its hardware, which could help the company achieve profitability sooner, he said.

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